Union House Hotel

200 North Broadway
De Pere WI 54115

The Union House Hotel is the oldest continuously operated hotel in the area. The hotel was begun just one year after a catastrophic fire destroyed almost all of the older commercial buildings on Broadway. The fire consumed three of the city’s older hotels, creating a demand for lodging that led Nicholas Altmayer to construct this hotel beginning in 1883. Two years later, Altmayer doubled the size of the building and in 1903 his brother, Fred Altmayer, added a third story. Shortly after August Maternoski purchased the hotel in 1918, he tore down the hotel’s horse barn and replaced it with the present brick barn. A small three story addition that Maternoski added to the east end of the J ames Street side of the hotel in 1922 resulted in a thirty four room hotel building.

Inside is a comfortable, well maintained interior with public spaces on the first floor and hotel rooms above. The entrance lobby, bar, and dining booths display a sleek, streamlined Deco appearance from a mid 1930s remodeling, one of the few changes since the building was completed in 1922.


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John Baeten Store Building

620 George Street
De Pere WI 54115

John Baeten, a prominent local merchant, operated his grocery and general merchandise business in this building from 1903 until 1917. Baeten’s store was successful, so much so that he needed more space and constructed a one story addition to the rear of the building in 1914. In 1917 John sold the business to his sons, Albert and Peter Baeten and his son in law, Ferdinand Van Dyck. The business continued under their leadership until 1943, then subsequent generations of the family maintained the store through the 1970s when it closed. The Baeten Store was a familiar fixture for multiple generations of De Pere residents due to the long tenure of the store at this location.

The Baeten Store Building is an excellent example of a Commercial Vernacular building. These are relatively simple buildings that are not architect designed but have specific design characteristics that distinguish them in the commercial streetscape. Often two or three stories tall, the first floor is usually used for retail space while the upp er floor(s) are often used for apartments. In this building, one of the second floor apartments was John Baeten’s own. Other features typically found on this type of building include wood and cast iron storefronts with large display windows, regularly spac ed upper story wood windows, and decoration limited to the main facade. The Baeten Store Building exhibits wall ornament in the form of brick corbeling, slightly projecting brick hoods over the windows and another row of simple brick corbels under the corn ice. The cornice is pressed metal and features swag decoration across the length of the facade.


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Brown County Courthouse Marker

515 George Street
De Pere WI 54115

The site of the Brown County Court House from 1838 to 1854. Erected by Jean Nicolet Chapter, Daughters of the American Revolution, 1930.

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Marquette-Jolliet Marker

100 Block North Front Street
De Pere WI 54115

Here in June, 1673, an expedition headed by Jesuit priest Jacques Marquette and his companion Louis Jolliet departed from St. Francis Xavier Mission to find and explore the upper Mississippi River. In September they returned here to record their discoveries in their journals. The next spring Jolliet left for Quebec but the ailing Marquette remained at the mission until October. The mission stood on the bank of Fox River directly west of this spot.

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Nicolet High School

111 Third Street
De Pere WI 54115

The very intact Nicolet High School was built on the west side of the City of De Pere in 1923 as a modern, up to date replacement for the west sideside’s earlier high school building. It is now the west sideside’s only surviving pre World War II public school building. The west sideside’s new $140,000.00, three story tall, brick clad school building was designed in the Neo Classical Revival style by the prominent Green Bay, Wisconsin architectural firm of Foeller, Schober, and Stephenson. This firm had previously designed a new elementary school for the west side of De Pere in 1901, as well as many other schools located in nearby Gree n Bay and in other communities located throughout northeast Wisconsin.

Once completed, the school continued to be used for its original purpose until 1958, by which time the needs of De PerePere’s rapidly increasing west side student population could no longer be met by its existing building. Consequently, Nicolet High School was sold to the Norbertine Order of the Roman Catholic Church, whose St. Norbert College campus in De Pere was located just one block to the south of the high school. A newer, much larger west side public high school was then built to replace it. The timing of this sale was excellent because by 1958, the private Catholic high school for boys that the Norbertine Fathers had conducted in one of the St. Norbert CollegeCollege‘s buildings for more tha n thirty years was also in dire need of larger quarters. As a result, the former Nicolet High School was slightly remodeled and then reopened as Abbot Pennings High School in 1959. Abbot Pennings High School continued in operation as a high school until June of 1990, at which time it was merged with other schools in the Green Bay diocese. Subsequently, the former high school building was purchased by St. Norbert College, which renamed it as the Pennings Activity Center and which still uses the building toda y to house both classrooms and various administrative offices.

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De Pere Public Library

300 Main Avenue
De Pere WI 54115

The Great Depression of the 1930s was a period of enormous growth for public facilities due to federally funded work relief program s. The De Pere Public Library was built through the assistance of the Public Works Administration, which aided the construction of public buildings such as schools, post offices and libraries.

Foeller, Schober Berners, a regionally prominent firm out of Green Bay, designed the library in a Tudor Revival manner, commonly called “Cotswold Style.” This style is typically used in residential buildings and therefore lends the building a domestic feel found in many small town public libraries. The library repre sents all of the characteristics of the Tudor Revival style. This is shown through a steeply sloped roof that has a cross gable to accentuate the front facade and main entrance. The entrance is recessed into an arched opening. Tudor Revival also includes the use of massive chimneys and tall, narrow windows with small panes. The slate covered roof and locally quarried limestone used on the exterior of the building was a distinctive building practice in the Cotswold region of England.

The library also include s Classical Revival characteristics, a mix that was typical of 1930s period revival architecture. A classical denticulated entablature surmounts the entrance door and is topped with a semi circular arched fanlight. The one story structure was originally designed in an L plan but an additional wing was added to form a U plan that encloses a central courtyard.

The building of the library played an important role as the first and only purpose built home of the city s public library. Prior to this location the library was housed above the firehouse and served as a private facility for the Young Men’s Reading Association until 1896. It is now located in the heart of the commercial development in downtown De Pere.

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Main Avenue Historic District

301-377 Main Avenue (south side of street, odd only)
De Pere WI 54115

The city of De Pere is situated on both the east and west sides of the Fox River. Catholic priests first settled this location as early as 1670, but the city of today got its start in 1835 when a dam was built across the river at this point, creating waterpower for industry. Little was built here, though, until 1851, when a bridge was built across the dam, linking the two sides of the river. Once the bridge was in place, commercial districts quickly evolved at both ends of the bridge.

The Main Avenue Historic District contains the most intact concentration of nineteenth and twentieth century commercial buildings on the west side of the river. The district consists of eighteen buildings, all of which fac e north onto the 300 block of the highly important thoroughfare known as Main Avenue. Most were built between 1883 and 1950 as masonry clad replacements for earlier buildings on the same sites. These buildings range from one to two stories in height, and a ll but one is faced with brick. In addition to the older Commercial Vernacular form, Queen Anne style, and Twentieth Century Commercial style buildings that make up the bulk of the districtdistrict’s resources, the district also includes a fine Neoclassical Revival style former Bank of West De Pere, located at 371 Main Avenue.

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White Pillars Museum

403 North Broadway
De Pere WI 54115

This building was erected in 1836 to serve as the office of the Fox River Hydraulic Company, which was chartered by Wisconsin’s first Territorial Legislature to construct a dam at Rapides des Peres. Following the 1837 financial crisis, notes issued by the company circulated as currency, making it one of the first de facto banks in Wisconsin. In subsequent years the buil ding served as a barber shop, newspaper office, cabinet shop, private school, church and residence.

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