201 East College Avenue (Appleton, Wisconsin)

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Coordinates: 44°15′41″N 88°24′15″W / 44.26149°N 88.40422°W / 44.26149; -88.40422

201 East College Avenue
General information
TypeCommercial building
Location201 East College Avenue
Appleton, Wisconsin
Construction started1888

201 East College Avenue is a building located on the southeast corner of East College Avenue and South Morrison Street in downtown Appleton, Wisconsin. The location was previously known as 749-751 College Avenue, sometimes also 747 College Avenue.[1] Built in 1888 for an International Order of Odd FellowsThis is a link to a Wikipedia article lodge, the building was commonly known as the Odd Fellows Block. The ground floor was occupied by a dry goods store, The Fair, from 1889 to 1928. Most prominently, from 1932 to 2019, the building was occupied by Gabriel Furniture, a furniture store which grew from the street-level retail space to occupy the whole building and several of its neighbors. After Gabriel Furniture closed, the building became part of an apartment complex that opened in 2020, known as Gabriel Lofts.

History[edit | edit source]

Odd Fellows Block[edit | edit source]

In September 1886, the local Konemic Lodge of the International Order of Odd FellowsThis is a link to a Wikipedia article purchased the 6,720 square feet (624 m2) plot that would become 201 East College Avenue from W. S. Warner for $6,500. The Appleton Crescent wrote that the lodge was unlikely to begin construction within three years, but "when it does build it must have the handsomest edifice on College avenue".[2] By the end of 1887, plans for the building of a lodge hall were well underway.[3] The building's cornerstone was laid in a ceremony in August 1888.[4] On October 2, workman Simon Ross died shortly after falling from the unfinished building's roof.[5] The new building's first tenants moved in on December 1,[6] and a dedication ceremony was held on January 1, 1889.[7]

The three-story building originally consisted of four commercial spaces at street level, two each facing College Avenue and Morrison Street, office spaces on the second story, and the Odd Fellows lodge hall on the top floor.[8] The Fair dry goods store was one of the building's first major ground-floor tenants, opened by the Ingold brothers in April 1889.[9] In August 1924, Arthur J. Ingold sold the Fair store to William W. Frank.[10] In 1928, Frank planned to renovate the building and began an "Alteration Sale," but his parents encouraged him to move back to New York, so the alteration sale became a closeout sale and the store was permanently closed in October 1928.[11]

The Irving Zuelke Music and radio repair store, previously located at 112 South Oneida Street, moved to the building on November 30, 1928,[12] but remained there for less than a year, relocating to the Insurance Building on September 14, 1929.[13] F.S. Kelly Furniture Company, a chain of furniture stores based in Duluth, opened an Appleton location in the building, holding a formal opening on October 12, 1929.[14][15] Kelly Furniture closed the store in March 1932, and its stock was sold off by the Leath and Company store next door at 203-205 East College Avenue.[16]

Gabriel Furniture[edit | edit source]

Gabriel Furniture

Gabriel Furniture Company originally opened in September 1928 at 343 West College Avenue.[17] After briefly moving to Neenah, the store opened in its new location at 201 E. College on October 15, 1932.[18]

In May 1963, Gabriel's opened The Pilgrim Shop, a store specializing in colonial and early American-theme furnishings and decor, in the neighboring building at 207 East College Avenue.[19] A major remodeling in 1969 covered the building's 80-year-old brick facade with beige and green metal cladding.[20] An Appleton city ordinance passed in 1971 banned signs extending more than 18 inches from buildings, including Gabriel Furniture's sign. While the ordinance gave businesses until 1978 to comply, the city did not begin to enforce the regulation until 1980.[21] After years of appeals from various downtown business owners, Gabriel Furniture's manager stated in 1982 that "we will probably just take it down".[22]

Joe and Ruby Wells purchased the store from the Gabriel family in 1988. After 91 years in business, Gabriel Furniture closed on April 29, 2019. The Wells family sold the building to the Klister development company, which they said was the only developer interested in renovating the 201 E. College building rather than tearing it down.[23]

Gabriel Lofts[edit | edit source]

The 201 E. College building was converted into part of Gabriel Lofts, an apartment complex, while Gabriel Furniture's other buildings were torn down to build the other parts of Gabriel Lofts. The apartment complex opened in April 2020.[24] Kodere Salon opened in one of the building's two ground floor commercial spaces in September 2020, while a branch of Nicolet National Bank is expected to occupy the other in November.[25]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Appleton Fire Insurance Map, Sanborn Map Company, 1891, p. 5.
  2. "Old Konemic Lodge", Appleton Crescent, September 18, 1886, page three.
  3. "An Odd Fellows' Block", Appleton Post, December 22, 1887, page 7.
  4. "Laid the Corner Stone; The Odd Fellows of Konemic Lodge, No. 47, Lay the Corner Stone of Their New Building", Appleton Post, August 23, 1888, front page.
  5. "From Tuesday's Daily (October 2, 1888): A Terrible Fall; Simon Ross Slips from the Highest Scaffolding", Appleton Post weekly digest, October 4, 1888, page 5.
  6. "From Saturday's Daily (December 1, 1888): In New Quarters; The Offices", Appleton Post weekly digest, December 6, 1888, page five.
  7. "Dedication of the Hall; The Odd Fellows to Celebrate the First Day of 1889 in a Notable Manner.", Appleton Post, November 29, 1888, page three.
  8. "A Building Committee: The Odd Fellows Appoint One to Take Charge of Their New Hall Project", Appleton Post, February 9, 1888, front page.
  9. Advertisement, Appleton Crescent, April 20, 1889, page 2.
  10. "Ingold Sells Fair Store To Pennsylvania Merchant", Appleton Post-Crescent, August 8, 1924, front page.
  11. "Fair Dry Goods to Close Doors", Appleton Post-Crescent, October 3, 1928, page nineteen.
  12. "Zuelke Moves Music Store to Odd Fellow-Bldg", Appleton Post-Crescent, November 26, 1928, page two.
  13. "Zuelke Moves His Music Store to Insurance Building", Appleton Post-Crescent, September 13, 1929, page two.
  14. "New Furniture Store Will Open Saturday", Appleton Post-Crescent, October 10, 1929, page 4.
  15. "Hold Opening of Furniture Store", Appleton Post-Crescent, October 14, 1929, page two.
  16. Full-page advertisement, Appleton Post-Crescent, March 30, 1932, page five.
  17. "Business Places Will Hold Formal Opening", Appleton Post-Crescent, September 21, 1928, page 23.
  18. "Gabriel Store Holds Formal Opening Today", Appleton Post-Crescent, October 15, 1932, page 4.
  19. Advertisement, Appleton Post-Crescent, May 19, 1963, page C5.
  20. Full-page advertisement, Appleton Post-Crescent, April 14, 1969, page A 18.
  21. Flasch, Jim. "Time may be running out for non-conforming clock", Appleton Post-Crescent, June 12, 1980, page B-1 and B-4.
  22. "Landmark signs will come down", Appleton Post-Crescent, July 9, 1982, page B-1 and B-4.
  23. "Goodbye: Gabriel Furniture in final week", Appleton Post-Crescent, April 21, 2019, page B1.
  24. "Progress report: Construction continues", Appleton Post-Crescent, April 19, 2020, page B1.
  25. Wallenfang, Maureen. "The Buzz: Gabriel Lofts gets commercial tenants", Appleton Post-Crescent, August 28, 2020.

External links[edit | edit source]