105 W. Water St




Larsen Clothiers


105 W. Water St Decorah, IA 52101

Year Built


Architectural Style

Art Deco

NRHP 2017

This is another nineteenth century building which was modernized. According to Robert Davis’s research, the Larsen Clothiers shop was established in 1895 by Severt Larsen, who was followed by Iver and then Harold Larsen. Harold had Altfillisch design a modern, unique in Decorah, architectural glass front. Larsen was still highlighting the facade in a newspaper advertisement in 1949: “The entire two stories were faced with an ivory colored building glass. This gives the unique distinction of being the only one of its kind in this vicinity” (quoted in Davis).

This is the Wikipedia description of this glass: “Pigmented tructural glass, also known generically as structural glass and as vitreous marble, and marketed under the names Carrara glass, Sani Onyx, and Vitrolite, among others, is a high-strength, colored glass. Developed in the United States in 1900, it was widely used around the world in the first half of the 20th century in Art Deco and Streamline Moderne buildings. It also found use as a material for signs, tables, and areas requiring a hygienic surface. Over time, the trademarked name ‘vitrolite’ became a generic term for the glass.”

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