211-219 51h Avenue S, Clinton, Iowa
+41.84117, -90.1885441°50'28" N, 90°11'19" W
The Wilson Buildings meet National Register Criterion A in the context of Commerce, as it relates to commercial development in Clinton. There are two main reasons why the Wilson Building is significant in commercial development: firstly, the Wilson family owned and operated one of the largest, industrial steel companies in the country that had a highly respected reputation as Clinton Bridge & Iron Works. The success of the Clinton Bridge & Iron Works under George E. Wilson's investment and supervision led his son, George E. Wilson, Jr. to start his own real estate development company (the George E. Wilson, Jr. Company) which was the foundation of the family's continued success as one of the leading commercial developers in Clinton. They built the Wilson Buildings, as a project that featured the family businesses' product, structural steel. Secondly, the George J. Wilson, Jr. Company constructed the commercial buildings for the sole purpose of furthering commerce and economic prosperity in the downtown area, by creating more available space for lease. The construction of both buildings was driven by expressed local demand and remained at the epicenter of downtown commercial activity for nearly a century, housing a variety of local and national businesses, ranging from retailers to private medical and professional offices and practices. The Wilson Buildings are also eligible under Criterion Cas prime examples of Chicago Commercial Style and Classical Revival style of architecture, particularly as Clinton was booming in the first quarter of the 20th century and just before World War I. The architects, John Morrell & Son (Albert Henry, or A.H.) were prominent and respected commercial and residential architects in the Clinton area from 1904 to 1953.
Posted to the NRHP 2-5-2014
- August 18, 2014: Added by Dave King