Horicon Bank placed on National Register
HORICON — Horicon Bank commemorated its designation on the National Register of Historic Places by installing a plaque this month on its flagship building.
Horicon State Bank, 326 E. State St., was constructed by builder J.P. Cullen in 1915. The president of the bank at the time was A.W. Wilcox.
According to Horicon Bank spokeswoman Amy Banaszak, Legacy Architecture of Sheboygan nominated the bank to be included on the State Register of Historic Places a couple years ago. The Wisconsin Historical Society considered the building’s merit under the categories of both history and architecture. The nomination was approved and the bank was listed on the state’s registry in August 2017.
After achieving that distinction, the bank was eligible to be placed on the National Register of Historic Places by the U.S. Department of the Interior.
The National Register of Historic Places recognizes properties that physically embody important aspects of local, state and national history. To be considered for this award, eligible properties must retain the essential physical appearance of the historical period in which they were important, and must meet one of the four following criteria. They must:
Be a good local example of an architectural style;
Be associated with a person important in our past;
Represent an important historic trend or event;
Have the potential to yield information.
Designed in the Classical Revival style by Milwaukee architect Herman W. Buemming, the rectilinear two-story bank’s facade is composed of red brick with stone trim and features a prominent arched entryway.
African mahogany and white oak interior wainscoting, furniture and trim fill the inside of the bank. Promoted as the grandest commercial building in Horicon at the time it was built, high-quality materials were used from top to bottom.
Decorative highlights include terrazzo floors and baseboards, marble wainscoting, ornamental plaster, bronze grill work and an elaborate set of four teller wickets. Other standout elements are a double vault constructed of reinforced concrete with Diebold Safe Company doors, and a pair of American Banking Company ‘tamper-proof’ alarm bells.
The bank underwent a series of renovations, additions and restorations in 1960, 1980, 1985 and 2009. None of these significantly detracted from the building’s integrity or character. The bank also modernized its name by dropping the word “State.”
In recent years Horicon Bank has been working to restore much of the original architecture in the lobby and on the outside of the building. Banaszak said the current restoration project was headed up by architect John Cullen — no known relation to the original designer.
Horicon Bank was selected to be included on the National Register of Historic Places last year. The only other building in the city to earn the designation is the 1868 home of the bank’s founder, Daniel Van Brunt, which is located at 139 W. Lake St.
Horicon Bank received a plaque recognizing its inclusion on the registry. It was recently installed and unveiled by current bank president Fred F. Schwertfeger, senior vice president Fred C. Schwertfeger and architect Cullen.
“We think being added to the National Register of Historical Places really honors our past and the vision of the men who built the bank many years ago,” Fred F. Schwertfeger said.
The National Register states that the building is considered significant for its local contribution to the history of commerce in Horicon as its primary financial institution for more than a century. It was deemed to be one of Dodge County’s most architecturally intact and significant commercial buildings.
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