Hardware Mutual Insurance Companies Building

Also known as: Sentry Insurance
1421 Strongs Ave., Stevens Point, Wisconsin

Neo-classical Revival office building of masonry construction with 100,000 square feet on four floors.

Photos 

Overview Looking Southeast

Photo taken by J.R. Manning in August 2016

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Map 

Description 

"[T]he Hardware Mutual building is a Neo-classical Revival office building of masonry construction, comprising 100,000 square feet on four floors. The northern three-story section of the building was constructed in 1922 to house both the Hardware Mutual Fire Insurance Company and the Hardware Mutual Casualty Company. The southern four-story section was constructed in 1930 to accommodate the rapid expansion of the Hardware Mutual Casualty Company. A one-story auditorium was added to the rear of the southern half in 1937. The plan configuration is U-shaped with the one-story auditorium between the north and south wings. The foundations and superstructure are reinforced concrete. The principal street facades are faced with Bedford limestone, while the rear and interior facades are face brick. The roof is flat behind a parapet wall.

"On the west and main facade facing Strongs Avenue, the fenestration is formally recessed above rusticated foundations between twelve engaged three-story Doric columns. On the north and south facades the fenestration is formally arranged between five three-story pilasters. Two paired windows are located between the columns and pilasters on each floor. The fourth floor is windowless except on the north and east facades. Between the first and second floor the spandrels are carved stone. Between the second and third floor the spandrels are metal with Neo-classical fretwork. The fenestration of the rear and ulterior facades, on the east side of the building, combine formal and functional elements, repeating the paired window arrangement of the street facades. The sash on all facades consists of contemporary metal-and-glass units that imitate the historic two-light, double-hung sash replaced hi 1979. (1)

"The principal entrance is at the center of the west facade and is located at ground level. It rises up above the rusticated foundations to the full height of the first floor, between paired Doric columns. The surrounding jambs and lintel are stone, and form a propylaeum enriched with allegorical carving, acroterium, and scroll cresting. The most notable of these are the six bas-relief figures personifying hardware and insurance, the work of Ulysses Ricci of New York. (2) The double doors are wroughtiron-and-glass and are doubled in height by a wrought-iron-and-glass transom, designed and executed by Samuel Yellin of Philadelphia.

"The exterior is further enriched by extensive classical, allegorical and other related carvings. On the west facade the parapet wall includes scroll cresting over the central eight columns. Below the parapet the cornice soffit is ornamented by mutules and guttae. On the northern section of the west facade the name HARDWARE MUTUAL INSURANCE appears twice in the frieze, marking the original and added sections of the building. The rest of the freize includes a series of griffins, along with the seals of the United States and Canada. The seals of various states are carved in the first floor spandrels, while other symbols representative of the United States, hardware, and insurance have been carved into the foundation belt course. Stone urns and sunken planters are located between the columns on the west facade, and elaborate stone braziers, adapted to electric lighting, flank the main entrance."

Adapted from the National Register of Historic Places Inventory-Nomination Form prepared by Peter J. Adams, October 25, 1993. A link to the document is listed below in the "Sources" category.

National Register information 

Status
Posted to the National Register of Historic Places on December 1, 1994
Reference number
94001358
Architectural style
Late 19th and 20th Century Revival: Classical Revival
Areas of significance
Architecture; Commerce
Level of significance
Local
Evaluation criteria
A - Event; C - Design/Construction
Property type
Building
Historic function
Business
Current function
Business
Periods of significance
1900-1924; 1925-1949
Significant years
1922; 1930; 1937

Update Log 

  • August 14, 2016: Updated by J.R. Manning: Updated status, added description and added photos

Sources