Delong Home

Delong Home
Period: 1900+
Exterior Description:

Built in 1903 in the Classic Revival Style, one of the first revival styles to emerge at the beginning of the 20th Century. Developed by the prestigious East Coast Architectural Firm of McKim, Mead and White, these revival styles were popularized at the Worlds Columbian Exposition in Chicago (1893) and was dominated by the Beaux Arts Style, which created its own Neoclassical Revival. Details of Classical Revival buildings include symmetrical form and massing, with heavy classical details. This style was popular in Wisconsin from 1893 to the 1930’s. This residence features a square floor plan with a “Second Empire” or Mansard Style roofline. The home’s unusual detail transcends many different style boundaries, from Italianate, French Empire, and Renaissance Revival. Its walls are a combination of decorative (rusticated) concrete block and Waupaca brick. The first story is constructed of concrete block, which simulates quarried stone. However, these blocks were concrete poured into a mold and cured. At this time, this use of manufactured building block was fairly new. Just below the second story belt course is a row of a decorative concrete block in an interesting vine and leaf pattern. Above the belt course the home shifts to “Waupaca” Brick with a dentil beltline and then continues with face brick finishing out the second story elevation. The wide wooden cornice is then finished with decorative modillions (brackets) at the eaves. The front 3rd story dormer has a hooded appearance supported by pilasters with a sunburst at its peak. The larger West corner is decorated with an even grander sunburst. The East 3rd floor roofline is also finished with a small windowed dormer. The second story windows have an upper sash with muntins in the “X” or diamond pattern. The front of the home has a large front porch, with a 2nd story balcony and what appears to be original style balustrade. This porch is enclosed, but was, most likely, originally open. The Delong residence has a high level of integrity, lending to it being architecturally significant, with most of its Classical Revival details intact.

Interior Description:

The front main entrance (North) is accessed by a front porch that is enclosed with windows, but may originally have been open. The front door is a single large oak paneled door with a large beveled glass window and enters directly into the parlor (living room). All of the window trim and baseboard is oak and original. The floors throughout the entire home are maple. Baseboard is eight inches in height. To the west off of the Parlor is a quaint sitting area that has a beautiful open entry, flanked by fluted columns of oak, supporting fretwork. Against the stairway elevation is a built-in oak bench with a hinged seat. Above this bench is an open view area to the stairways mid landing, which is screened with square spindles. There appears to have been additional fretwork, but has been removed. The Dining Room is to the Southeast rear corner of the home and is adjacent to the Parlor, but can be separated by original oak 6 panel pocket doors. Off of the dining room is the kitchen which includes cabinets dating back to the era of the home, but may not be original to the home. Connecting the kitchen to the parlor is a short hallway. Off of this hall is the basement stairwell and side (West) entrance. The basement is full sized and of field stone construction. Ceiling height is approximately 7 ½ feet. The ceiling height is 9 feet on the first floor. The 2nd story stairway is open with a landing at its midpoint with the rest of the stair elevating from this landing 180 degrees. The newel posts, treads, spindles, and rails are all oak. At the 2nd level there is a short hall that runs North and South. A bathroom is located at the South (back) end of the hallway. Originally, this room may have acted as a bathroom, but was not equipped with indoor plumbing until much later, when City water became available. At the South/West corner is a small bedroom, and at the South/East corner is another bedroom with a closet. There are two bedrooms at the North/East and North/West corners (front) of the home. The North/West bedroom accesses the 2nd story balcony through a beveled glass oak door identical to the main entrance door. The woodwork on the 2nd floor is pine and original. Ceiling height is 9 feet. The third floor stair is located off of the hallway. This level was remodeled in the early 1990’s and acts as a guest suite with a full bath and kitchenette. The Delong home maintains its original floor plan, with much of its original woodwork intact and in very good condition.

Statement of Significance:

Conrad Gmeiner II and his wife Carrie (Delong) came to Waupaca from Seymour, WI in 1893 and bought 80 acres; (now area of Westwood School) for potato farming. They built their home at (517 West Fulton St.) where they had purchased approximately one half of Block 7 (Smith’s Addition) also. Conrad was a mason and a contractor and built his home of “Waupaca Brick.” Around 1900, Mr. Gmeiner purchased the Waupaca Brickyard, which by the 1910’s and 1920’s came to be known as one of the largest in Wisconsin for the production of face brick. In 1902 Conrad Gmeiner and his brother-in-law, Delmar (D.D.) Delong purchased the remaining Lots 1, 2, 3, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17 and 24 feet of Lot 4 and 11 (Block & of Smith’s Addition). Carrie’s parents, Henry and Elizabeth, (Pennsylvania Dutch who came to Wisconsin in the mid 1800’s), were ready to retire from farming, so Conrad designed and built this Classic Revival Home (509 West Fulton) for his wife’s parents, so they could be next door to her. The home, finished in 1903, was created with bricks and rusticated concrete blocks from the Gmeiner Brickyard. In 1920, the Gmeiners son, Archibald, married and the newlyweds moved in with Conrad and Carrie. In 1927, their home (519 W. Fulton) was built on the West side of the Gmeiners. Archibald and his wife chose the dark bricks to build the house. The “over-kilned” bricks were supposed to be thrown away, but Archibald insisted they were beautiful and exactly what they wanted. These bricks (also from the Gmeiner Brickyard) were imperfect and none of the bricks used to build this home were straight. In 1942 a fire destroyed the second and third floors of the Conrad Gmeiner home. Only the second floor was reconstructed. In 1943, 505 W. Fulton (next to the Delong Home) was also built of bricks from the Gmeiner Brickyard. The Gmeiners were also potato farmers and a potato warehouse was once located behind the Delong home. The foundation of the potato weigh station is still located in the current driveway.

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