Overview

08

Owner

Clark G. Tillinghast

Address

310 W. Water St Decorah, IA 52101

Year Built

1937

Architectural Style

1930s Vernacular Commercial

NRHP 2017

The following description is from Jan Olive Full’s 2017 NRHP Commercial Historic District nomination:

Two-story building with a variety of brick features on the facade. The storefront is divided into two bays with entrances centered on the front, either side of a central door that presumably leads to the second floor. Large display windows flank the central, recessed entrance area. Bulkheads under these windows are black-glazed brick, while over the storefronts the bricks are yellow and laid in stretcher-only fashion. The yellow bricks at the level of the two 2nd story windows alternate with red ones to create a horizontal stripe effect. The casement windows have recently replaced prior squat casement or fixed windows, but the difference is minor. The name and date block are located in the center at the roofline which has concrete coping.

When constructed by Clark G. Tillinghast, the building was a single unit inside and housed a short-lived restaurant. For most of its years, the building has had a series of tenants, each occupying one half of the floor space. Tenants included a barber shop, jewelry store, art gallery, government office, and chiropractor office (David, 59).

Given its combination of design features, this storefront is unique in downtown Decorah. There is no simple name for the building’s architectural style. The red/white brick combination slightly resembles some Art Deco styling. The glazed black bricks in the bulkhead are the kind of feature found in Moderne buildings. It is common for vernacular commercial buildings to borrow high-style features like those. Thus the broadly-encompassing, somewhat evasive architectural designation “1930s Vernacular Commercial.”

The building was purchased by the Oneota Coop in 2014. The lower level is used for classrooms and workspace, and the upper level for offices.

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