Historic Structures

Joseph Wheeler Plantation, Wheeler Alabama

The General Joseph Wheeler Plantation, which is primarily significant for its associations with General Joseph Wheeler, retains much of its 19th Century plantation ambience and appearance and contains three structures representative of three generations of plantation life in 19th Century Alabama. The three main structures include: a one-story log house constructed around 1818 by the Hickman family which homesteaded the plantation; a two-story log and clapboard home constructed as the family's permanent residence during the 1820's; and a two and a half story frame home which was built by Wheeler during the latter portion of the 19th Century and served both as the center of his large and prosperous plantation and as his home until his death in 1906. Joseph Wheeler symbolizes restoration of rule in the postbellum South and political reconciliation between that section and the North. A renowned cavalry officer in the Confederate Army, Wheeler became an Alabama planter after the Civil War, and beginning in 1884 he won eight successive elections to the U.S. House of Representatives. Like many other so-called Bourbon Democrats, he maintained a paternal attitude toward blacks, opposed civil rights legislation, and called upon southerners to forget the war and devote their energy to industrialization. Wheeler never became a powerful figure in Congress, but his intelligent speeches on a variety of subjects made him one of the best known men in Washington. In 1898, while still a member of the House, he resumed his military career. To erase the last vestiges of sectionalism and make the Spanish-American War a national effort, President William McKinley appointed Wheeler a major general of volunteers. He became the only corps commander in U.S. military history who had held a similar position in the Confederacy.


Miah Maull Shoal Lighthouse, Delaware Bay New Jersey

The Miah Maull Shoal Lighthouse is a well-preserved embodiment of the cast-iron and concrete caisson foundation technology which was used from 1876 to 1913 in lighthouses that occupied waterbound sites in the northeastern United States. At least 50 such lighthouses were built. Miah Maull Shoal, designed in 1907 and completed in 1913, was the last example of this type built before reinforced concrete technology was introduced; it was also one of the last major navigational aids built in the Delaware Bay. As part of a string of lighthouses in the bay and the lower Delaware River that were in place before World War One, Miah Maull Shoal helped foster the improved navigation of the Delaware that was crucial to the success of the Hog Island Shipyard (now the site of the Philadelphia International Airport), which was established in 1917. By the end of the conflict, Hog Island had become the largest shipyard in the world. The Miah Maull Shoal itself, which was named for an eighteenth-century Delaware mariner, was 800 yards wide and 3,000 yards long at a depth of 13 feet 鈥?a significant hazard to large modern ships, which required a much greater draft. The need for a deep channel, both for commercial and for military purposes, was foreseen during the early years of this century. Now known as the Philadelphia Ship Channel, it was called for by Congress in the River and Harbor Act of 1909 to be a 35-foot deep channel at least 800 feet wide from the Philadelphia and Camden wharves and shipyards to the mouth of Delaware Bay, to replace an existing 600-foot wide, 26-foot deep channel begun in 1885. Subsequent improvements have deepened the channel to 40 feet.


Macombs Dam Bridge, New York City New York

The Macombs Dam Bridge (originally the Central Bridge) and the 155th Street Viaduct, constructed in 1890-95 to the designs of eminent Structural Engineer Alfred Pancoast Boiler, for the New York City Departments of Public Parks and Public Works, was a considerable municipal undertaking, as well as a significant feat of engineering. The Macombs Dam Bridge is the third oldest major bridge in New York City (after the Brooklyn and George Washington Bridges) and is also the City's oldest, intact metal truss, swing-type bridge, a bridge type most often employed in New York City along the Harlem River between the 1880's and 1910. The bridge's steel central Swing Span was considered at the time to be the world's heaviest movable mass. Boiler successfully overcame the various difficult challenges involved in the construction of the bridge and Viaduct, particularly in the placing of the foundations, while producing an aesthetically noteworthy design. The Passaic Rolling Mill Company of Paterson, New Jersey, and the Union Bridge Company of Athens, Pennsylvania, Contractors for the critically-acclaimed bridge, were leading steel and iron bridge manufacturers. The long steel 155th Street Viaduct provides a gradual descent toward the bridge from the heights of Harlem to the west, while the long Jerome Avenue approach viaduct of the bridge, consisting primarily of steel deck truss spans carried by masonry piers, with a subsidiary Camel back Truss Span, was built over what was then marshland in the Bronx. The appearance of the bridge and Viaduct is enhanced by the central Swing Span truss outline, the steel latticework, the steel and iron ornamental details (including the Eighth Avenue stairs, sections of original railing and several lamp posts) and the masonry piers, abutments and shelterhouses. Following in a succession of bridges at this site since 1815, the Macombs Dam Bridge and the 155th Street Viaduct continue to provide a historically important connection between upper Manhattan and the Bronx. In 1813 Robert Macomb petitioned the New York State Legislature for permission to construct a dam across the Harlem River in the vicinity of present-day 155th Street in order to form a mill pond for the use of the business he had obtained from his father. He was granted this right in 1814 with several requirements, including the provision that he operate a lock to allow vessels to pass along the river. A dam was completed in 1815, which also functioned as a toll bridge. Macombs milling business later failed, and the dam/bridge, consisting of stone piers connected by wooden spans, was sold. By 1838, a dispute arose over this private usurpation of the river and the courts found that Macombs Dam was a public nuisance. The Legislature in 1858 directed New York City and Westchester County to remove the dam and build a new toll-free bridge. The Central Bridge (familiarly known as Macombs Dam Bridge) was constructed in 1860-61 by Builders John Ross and D. L. Harris under the direction of Engineer E. H. Tracey; initially authorized at $10,000, it cost over $90,000. Built of wood, it had a 210-foot central draw span, with a square tower and iron rods supporting the ends, as well as two Howe truss approach spans carried on trestles. This bridge was reconstructed several times: around 1877, the square tower was replaced by A-frames; in 1883, iron trusses by the Central Bridge Works of Buffalo, New York, replaced the approach spans; and in 1890, the wooden draw span was rebuilt.


Hahne and Company Department Store, Newark New Jersey

The establishment of the first department store has been credited to Aristide Bougicaut, with the founding of his Bon Marche' store in Paris in 1838. Beginning with a drapery store, by 1860, the Bon Marche' store had separate departments selling dresses, coats, millinery, underwear and shoes. The storeowner encouraged customers to visit his store by creating displays and offers, with clearly marked prices on the goods. He pioneered the idea of the store as purposely designed for fashionable public assembly rather than just a means of supply. Boucicaut allowed customers to exchange merchandise they bought or get their money back. His money-back guarantee was a new concept that built up his trade substantially, and he reversed the prevalent practice of taking a high profit on goods that turned over slowly. Selling his merchandise at a small markup, he depended on a rapid turnover to make his profit. The success of the store was reflected in the opening of rival stores such as Le Printemps in 1865 and La Bell Jardinie're in 1866. These stores caught the imagination of American visitors to Paris and formed the basis for early American department stores. R.H. Macy visited the store himself and, when he got back home, outfitted his doormen in uniforms like those worn by Bon Marche' employees. In the middle of the nineteenth century, national economic conditions were very favorable to the development of the department store. The American department store is largely a product of the period 1860 to 1910, due to several important factors, besides the example of Bon marche'. First, population increased dramatically in many regions of the country in the second half of the nineteenth century. Large numbers of people lived in relatively small areas and were easily able to reach almost any place in town with the development of improved mass transportation systems. Horse drawn trolleys, the precursors of electric trolley systems in Newark, as well as in other metropolitan areas, charged a reasonable fare to transport potential consumers from every point in town to the point of sale. More and better advertising, enabling merchants to lure customers to their stores, was made possible by the lowering of the price of paper in the 1830s. By around 1850, the typical once column-wide advertisement evolved into a much larger, multi-column, profusely illustrated ad. The development of plate glass windows allowed for elaborate window displays and in-store advertising.


Woodlane Plantation, Eufaula Alabama

Available records show that Tennant Lomax, a wealthy Montgomery Courtian, owned Woodlane Plantation in the early 1850s. While it is possible that Lomax may have built a house at Woodlane Plantation, the construction of the main dwelling has historically been attributed to John Raines, a wealthy cotton planter from Muscogee County, Georgia. Raines owned land in Barbour County as early as 1833. Woodlane plantation was part of a 2400-acre tract that comprised all of the land between Barbour and Chaneyhatchee Creek to the Chattahoochee River. Raines' Landing was located on the banks of the Chatthoochee River at the end of the tree-lined canopied drive. In addition to cotton, Raines also raised tobacco and subsequently, constructed the tobacco-curing barn that is still located on the property. John W. Raines died sometime between December 1856, the date of the execution of his will, and March 2,1858, the date his will was filed for probate. Raines' will shows that his primary concern was for the two children and the unborn child of his servant yellow woman Mary. The children were Mary Antoinette, Sally Angeline, and Aurora Boreallis, born after Mr. Raines wrote his will. Mr. Raines directed his executors to secure the passage of an act by the Alabama State Legislature to free the children and Mary. His will dictates that if such an act could not be passed, Mary and his children were to be moved to the Free State of Ohio. At the time Mr. Raines drafted his will, an Alabama slaveholder could not free his slaves without the consent of the state legislature. Raines' executors were ordered to sell by private sale or public auction the entire estate, including Woodlane Plantation, which was valued at more than $75,000. The proceeds were to be held in trust by his executors for the three children, their education, and a station inlife compatible with their up-bringing. Edward B. Young and William H. Thornton, residents of nearby Eufaula, were appointed as executors while Lewis Cato, a prominent Eufaula attorney, served as Mr. Raines' attorney.


Pennsylvania Train Station, Newark New Jersey

Built in the 1930's as a large prestige, palatial station, Pennsylvania Station retains much of its original stature after forty years. The Station is most notable for its well developed and sophisticated functional organization and its Art Deco detailing which is found in numerous motifs throughout the exterior and interior of the building. The Art Deco style is found in repetitive curve linear forms, periodic decorations, and the clean white metal materials used. Despite grime and some deterioration and alteration, the Station is the first and perhaps the most successful of the grand railway stations which also served as an intermodal terminal. The most significant design feature of the building is its Art Deco detailing which is found in numerous motifs throughout the interior and exterior of the building. The Station's overall style is Art Deco as well, a popular sub-set of Art Moderne (c. 1920-1940), and a style often associated with the public building of that period. The major concentrations of the detail work are on the exterior surrounds of the west entrances, the north, south, and west entrance interiors of the Waiting Room, the walkway surrounds flanking the west portals of Raymond Boulevard and Market Street under the train shed, and the running motifs throughtbut the building. These principally are the exterior spandrel panels and frieze on the north elevation, the coping on the north elevation of the train shed, the entablature pilaster system in the Concourses, the Waiting Room medallions, and the four (original) lighting fixtures in the Waiting Room.


Gunther Brewing Company - Hamms, Baltimore Maryland

Though the president of the Gunther Brewing Company at its founding in 1900 was George Gunther, Jr., the force behind the operation seems to have been his father. George Gunther, Sr., whose last name was originally spelled Guenther, had been involved in brewing in the area for more than twenty years after arriving from Germany in 1866. Gunther worked to sweeten dank cellars at the northeast corner of Conkling and O'Donnell Streets in the early 1870s, joining Christian Gehl's brewery in 1878 and working in the brewery that stood on Conkling Street to the north of the current Gunther complex. Gehl had established his brewery in 1876 in connection with a set of earlier lagering cellars dating to the proprietorship of Conrad Herzog, who first leased the land in 1857. Contractors dug the cellars for Herzog, who then rented them to brewers including George Rossmarck. George Gunther took over the Gehl brewery in 1880, and after a fire built a new brick brewery in 1887. Otto Wolf, a noted Philadelphia brewery architect, designed the structure (now gone). Gunther continued the firm until 1899, when he sold his operation to the Maryland Brewing Company, the brewing trust. The trust continued to operate the brewery, as did the successor G.B.S. Brewing Co., which ran the plant as its Bay View Branch. Because he had agreed not to brew again under his name, Gunther's reentry into the industry with a new brewery required him to use his son's name when he established a new firm. The George Gunther, Jr. Brewing Company was erected on the northeast corner of Conkling and Toone Streets, at the south end of the same block as its namesake. Workers broke ground on February 10, 1900, and again Wolf was the architect, designing the Romanesque Revival style brewhouse that continues to occupy the corner site. Also in the complex were a stable for teams that pulled delivery wagons, a boiler house, a shop, and an office, all of which remain in some form. Buildings lined the perimeter of the site, forming a keg yard in the center where loading and unloading took place. The Boiler House heated the brew kettles, and more importantly, powered the ice machines that cooled the lagering tanks now stored above ground. The brewery's railroad siding allowed delivery of grains, which were raised to the top of the complex where they were milled in preparation for malting.


Sears Department Store Building, Washington DC

The Sears, Roebuck & Company department store, designed and built in 1940-41, is highly significant to the architectural and cultural heritage of the nation's capital. Designed by the Sears company's chief architect John Stokes Redden and store planner John G. Raben. It is among Washington's earliest and most significant examples of modern commercial architecture, illustrating the revolutionary impact of the Modernist design philosophy of functional expressionism on the historicism that constituted Washington's dominant architectural idiom; in conception and execution, the building anticipated the modern revolution which transformed the city after the war. It embodies significant innovations made by an influential national retailer in the development of modern department store design, including a windowless and upside down layout--a major customer entry from roof parking. The Sears department store also exemplifies significant national trends in the development of modern merchandising, including the decentralization of major retail centers to suburban locations, the integration of automobile parking and services into shopping facility design, the reformulation of department store layout to accommodate modern climate control systems and merchandising techniques, and the expression of practical modernity as a basis for customer appeal. This Sears building ranks among the most innovative stores realized during the seminal period of development by a company that has had significant impact on twentieth century retailing practices in the United States. By the mid-1920s, Sears had expanded beyond its mail-order beginnings to enter the retail market, guided by retired General Robert E. Wood, a veteran of Army supply operations. The company's initial outlets resembled warehouses, but by the early 1930s, Sears began to develop a more sophisticated national merchandising strategy. Stores were classified according to market size, with corresponding facilities and selections of merchandise. Sears first commissioned outside architects, but by the end of the 1930s, its own in-house planning and construction departments created complete new prototypes of modern store layout and design.

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