In 1894, Albert Frank Klein formed an Oakes business partnership with his cousin, A. L. Sutmar. The two men were recent arrivals from St. Paul, and after a number of years operating a general merchandise business, they constructed this ornate building. Located on downtown’s main intersection, the Klein and Sutmar Block represents a period of commercial expansion in Oakes. The building’s ornate pressed-metal facade design may well be a prefabricated exterior from Fargo Ornamental Iron and Metal Cornice Company, which produced and shipped a wide variety of metal cladding designs that they advertised in their catalogues. The first phase of the building dates to 1890, and in 1904, the building was extended fifty feet to the west, with the same pressed-metal pattern unifying the whole. Today, the first story has large glass display windows. Above these, the pressed metal surrounds each of nine windows with Corinthian columns in shallow relief, and the building concludes with a massive cornice.
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Klein and Sutmar Block
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