1920s-1940s

 Art Deco

 2 stories


What is architecturally distinctive about these houses, both found in the Third Ward?

The Art Deco style appeared in Europe from 1981-1939. Not only buildings but also interior elements -- such as glass and silver ware, furniture, stucco details, staircases, etc -- were created. The photos on the top come from the Corning Museum of Glass.

Art Deco style was the first widely popular style to break with the early 20th century styles of Revival and Beaux Arts styles. It consciously strove for modernity, simplicity, and streamlined -- typical of the newly emerging Machine Age. Art Deco ornamentation consists of low-relief geometrical designs, often with parallel straight lines, zigzags, chevrons, and stylized floral motives.  Stucco, smooth-faced stone, concrete foundations, and metal railings are common materials associated with this style.  This style had two phases: Zigzag Moderne of the 1920s and Streamline Moderne of the 1930s and 1940s. Although many public buildings -- courthouses, jails, bandstands, schools -- were built during the Great Depression in this style, sometimes, the Art Deco designs were not actually built until after World War II!.

Most Art Deco houses have these features:
two stories     stucco walls, painted white or light pastels
glass blocks   steel casement windows
small round windows   curved corner walls   
concrete basement walls

art deco mail box bank.jpg (17643 bytes) art deco elevator door bank.jpg (22620 bytes)

ec court house 1950s.jpg (32476 bytes)

The style was particularly popular for commercial buildings, such as banks, movie houses, and courthouses. Eau Claire still has an Art Deco bank (exterior and some interior elements), movie house converted to a "store front" church (exterior only), and  the Eau Claire County courthouse (oldest section of the exterior only, although it was actually built in 1950).

Art Deco bank interior

Eau Claire County courthouse

Created by Janet Robinson on 9 June 1997; last revised on 27 September 2005.