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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Racine in Racine County, Wisconsin — The American Midwest (Great Lakes)
 

Racine City Hall

 
 
Racine City Hall Marker image. Click for full size.
By William Fischer, Jr., August 8, 2013
1. Racine City Hall Marker
Inscription.

The Building
In 1929, the Racine Common Council began the process of creating a new City Hall. The council received two design proposals: one from local architect J. Mandor Matson and another from a Chicago firm. The mayor and aldermen selected Matson's scheme, dismissing the Chicago firm's designs as "too frilly." Matson's plans for the building, initially included a prominent tower, which Matson claimed represented "the best in the modern trend of city hall designing" and added "just the right final touch." Several members of the Common Council, however, were opposed to the tower on aesthetic and budgetary concerns. Eventually, economics won out, and Matson removed the tower from the design.

The Architect
J. Mandor Matson (1890-1963) was a Norwegian-born architect who lived in Racine most of his life. Matson designed buildings across Wisconsin in a number of styles including Art Deco, Mediterranean Revival, Tudor Revival, Collegiate Gothic, and International. Notable Racine commissions include William Horlick High School, Washington Park High School, Henry Mitchell School, the United Layment [sic - Laymen] Bible Student Tabernacle, the Granada Theater, the Bull Manor Apartments, and the Washington Park Recreation Center.

[Photo captions read]
[1.]
Matson's design for City
Racine City Hall and Marker image. Click for full size.
By William Fischer, Jr., August 8, 2013
2. Racine City Hall and Marker
Hall exemplifies the Neoclassical style, popular in Wisconsin between 1895 and 1935, following the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago. Millions of visitors to the "White City" helped popularize the style in towns across the country. The Neoclassical style was especially popular for institutional, commercial, and government buildings.

This postcard view, produced around 1935, shows the original setting of the building, including the broad lawn, flagpole, and decorative light standards.
Image Property of Racine Heritage Museum Archival Collection. All Rights Reserved.

[2.] Construction began in 1930 under the supervision of the Bongard Construction Company of Racine. The building is constructed of Indiana limestone over a steel framework (visible in photo above). The final cost of the building was approximately $500,000. After completion of the new City Hall, the old city hall building on 3rd Street was demolished in the early 1930s.
Image Property of Racine Heritage Museum Archival Collection. All Rights Reserved.

[3.] Racine's first City Hall was constructed in 1885 at the corner of 3rd and Main Streets. Within thirty years, the City had outgrown its space, and in 1929, Mayor William Armstrong announced plans to build a new City Hall on the former site of the Mitchell and Lewis Wagon Company.
Postcard view of Old
Racine City Hall image. Click for full size.
By William Fischer, Jr., August 8, 2013
3. Racine City Hall
Marker is in front of left blue trash receptacle
City Hall, circa 1901-1904. Image Property of Racine Heritage Museum Archival Collection. All Rights Reserved.
 
Location. 42° 43.552′ N, 87° 47.363′ W. Marker is in Racine, Wisconsin, in Racine County. Marker is at the intersection of Washington Avenue (State Highway 32) and 6th Street, on the right when traveling west on Washington Avenue. Touch for map. Marker is on the grounds of City Hall. Marker is at or near this postal address: 730 Washington Avenue, Racine WI 53403, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Veterans Memorial (here, next to this marker); Engine House No. 3 (a few steps from this marker); 32nd 'Red Arrow' Infantry Division Memorial (a few steps from this marker); Joshua Glover Commemorative Marker (approx. 0.3 miles away); Jerome Increase Case / Mascot and Trademark (approx. 0.3 miles away); Civil War Memorial (approx. 0.3 miles away); Racine, Wisconsin (approx. 0.3 miles away); Racine County Historical Museum (approx. 0.4 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Racine.
 
Also see . . .  City of Racine, Wisconsin. (Submitted on October 9, 2013, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.)
 
Categories. Notable Buildings
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on October 9, 2013, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania. This page has been viewed 256 times since then and 24 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on October 9, 2013, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.
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