This section of Lincoln Boulevard developed as part of an automobile suburb known as Lawndale. In contrast to the neighborhood to the south, which developed before mass use of the motor car in the early twentieth century, Lincoln Boulevard illustrates the rising popularity of the automobile. Here, alleyways provided access to garages at the rear of most properties, where homeowners had once placed carriage houses and stables. Since cars were fire hazards in their early years, homeowners separated their garages from their houses. But automobiles also signaled wealth, so mundane buildings would not do. Many of the garages in the district mirror in miniature the design of the residence. In the early 1900s, architects’ and builders’ journals called these structures “automobile houses” or “residence barns,” but they finally settled on the term “garage,” from the French verb “to shelter.” By the 1920s, some builders began to attach garages to houses as wings.
Once automobiles linked this stretch of Lincoln Boulevard to the downtown, the Lawndale subdivision became fashionable for Manitowoc’s businessmen, manufacturers, and their families. Construction began in the southern block and moved north. Vernacular interpretations of Prairie Style, Craftsman, and revival styles sprang up along the street.
Among the first to live here, in 1908, was George Dallwig at 824 Lincoln. The gable-front building is a simple clapboard house, two-and-a-half stories in height, but with a pretentious full-width porch of Tuscan columns. Dallwig’s house predates the heyday of the automobile, and his simple garage seems an afterthought. By the time Daniel and Myrtle Bleser built their residence at 1119 Lincoln c. 1933, designers were incorporating garages into the bodies of houses. With the end of Prohibition in 1933, Daniel became president of the newly formed Kingsbury Brewing Company, and he and his wife were automobile dealers. The two-story garage wing turns the plan of their house into a splayed L-shape. The severe, massive two-story cream brick house is enlivened by gabled dormers and by a segmental-arched entrance and window.
When Edwin and Gladys Gaterman built their French Norman house (1931; 1130 Lincoln), Edwin owned a machinery factory and his house and garage expressed his success. The two-story brick residence has a steeply pitched, side-gabled roof, and a two-story, conical entrance tower, constructed of limestone, tucks into the ell formed by a projecting, hipped-roofed pavilion. Extending along the Oak Street elevation, the integral garage is sheltered by a cross-gabled roof with false half-timbering in its broad front gable.