The sculpturesque stone and iron commercial block was built for Martin V. Wagner (1845–1891), one of Marshall's leading politicians, who served as mayor for four terms. Wagner built the block at age twenty-five, less than ten years after he arrived from Wheeler, Steuben County, New York, and began to study law. The block was designed by self-taught noted pioneer Chicago architect Van Osdel. The front is encrusted with ornamental columns, pilasters, sills, and lintels that surround the flat-arched and keystoned windows of all the floors. A mansard roof caps the three-story building. It is pierced by a paired central dormer flanked by arched dormers with oval glass. The local newspaper for August 4, 1870, was fully justified in calling this building “an ornament to the city.” The first floor held stores, the second floor, offices, and the third floor, a ballroom.
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