100+ Meskers found in New Mexico

When we document 100 Mesker facades in a state, we celebrate it. It’s an arbitrary milestone that has little to do with the historic number of installations but it’s been a tradition on these here pages for some time. Thanks largely to Roger Waguespack’s research efforts, New Mexico is the latest state to join the … Continue reading

Vanished in Cairo

The Famous Building on the 700 block of Commercial Avenue in Cairo, Illinois, had a spectacular presence almost entirely due to the galvanized sheet-metal front made by the Mesker Brothers Iron Works of St. Louis, Missouri. It’s combination of motifs and arched window openings made it one of few truly distinctive Mesker fronts across the … Continue reading

Like father, like sons

Every legacy has its origins and the four Mesker brothers and their respective companies owe their genesis to a certain John Bernard Mesker (1823–1899). John Bernard Mesker was born in Germany on February 22, 1823, and came to America in 1835. Settling in Cincinnati, John trained as a “tinner,” a craftsman who worked with tinplate, … Continue reading

Roswell’s distinguished Mesker buildings

The following is a revised version of an article by Roger Waguespack, published on November 6, 2016 by RDR (Roswell Daily Record) Online. All images are reproduced with the permission of the Historical Society for Southeast New Mexico. Read the original article here. In the late 1800s and early 1900s many commercial buildings in towns … Continue reading

Pattern of influence

In the past we’ve been able to determine, or at the very least speculate about, the origins of some of the Mesker Brothers motifs including the fish panels, sea shells, and clusters of columns, largely because of the evidence for such inspiration left behind by Bernard Mesker. What follows is an origins story about a … Continue reading

Awning, canopy, marquise

For two centuries, American commercial storefronts often required various shading devices for natural climate control, protection of show window displays and shoppers, and enhancement of building appearance. By far the most popular of these were fabric awnings, but metal was also an available option although not widely acknowledged in contemporary scholarly documentation. Both Mesker companies … Continue reading

Land of Opportunity

Due to a recent trickle of discovered Mesker buildings, there are now 100 of them in Arkansas. Sadly, these latest additions are largely demolished and, as in the case of Harrison’s square, were identified only thanks to historic photographs. Historically, Arkansans were some of the largest purchasers of Mesker products, ranking 7th nationwide with a … Continue reading

America’s Dairyland

There is another state with at least 100 found Meskers. The 100th facade identified in Wisconsin is a two-story building on Main Street in Alma. Despite storefront alterations, the building retains a galvanized sheet-metal cornice, window bay and hoods manufactured by George L. Mesker & Co. The facade may have been originally purchased/installed by J.A. Fretsch … Continue reading

New Deal imagery

Between 1935-1944, the United States Farm Security Administration—Office of War Information (FSA-OWI) undertook the largest photography project ever sponsored by the federal government. In order to build support for and justify government programs of the New Deal, the Historical Section within the Information Division of the Resettlement Administration set out to document America, often at … Continue reading

Full Metal Jacket

The below article appeared in the May-June 2015 issue of ‘The Alliance Review,’ a bi-monthly periodical with news relevant to local historic-preservation commissions and their staff, technical assistance, and case studies published by the National Alliance of Preservation Commissions (NAPC). The NAPC is the only national nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting local historic preservation commissions … Continue reading