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White Drug Building

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c. 1919, attributed to Henry J. Scherer. 1st Ave. S at 2nd St. SE
  • (Photograph by Steve C. Martens)
  • (Photograph by Steve C. Martens)

While the Alfred Dickey Free Public Library (SN5) is Scherer’s most important work of civic architecture, the highly ornamented White Drug Building was impressive for its glorification of retail culture. The H. E. White Drug Company’s presence in Jamestown began in 1884. This, the second White Building in Jamestown, represented the company’s early commitment to growth and expansion, embodied in a building that makes dramatic use of polychrome glazed terra-cotta that contrasts exuberantly with the dark chocolate-colored brick of the rectangular block. Even though the terra-cotta is almost certainly stock from a manufacturer’s standard line, its extensive use here and on other buildings by Scherer demonstrates a confidence in the use of applied ornament. Here it garnishes the cornice, parapet, and window sills, and is used in medallions interspersed with the brick. Windows of the upper-story offices are equally stylish, with five-panel transoms aligned with the terra-cotta trim band. Unfortunately, the ground-floor storefronts have been altered. The White family diversified into the White Clothing Company in an adjacent space.

Writing Credits

Steve C. Martens and Ronald H. L. M. Ramsay


What's Nearby


Steve C. Martens and Ronald H. L. M. Ramsay, "White Drug Building", [Jamestown, North Dakota], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

Print Source

Cover: Buildings of North Dakota

Buildings of North Dakota, Steve C. Martens and Ronald H. L. M. Ramsay. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2015, 211-212.

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