You are here

Nicole’s Boutique and Art, Books, and Banter (Quality Shop and Rilling Electric Company Buildings)

-A A +A
1932, Joseph Jogerst. 620 N. 3rd St. 1934, Irving Obel. 614 N. 3rd St.
  • (Photograph by Mark Fay, courtesy of the Wisconsin Historical Society)

Looking like a bit of merry old England in downtown Wausau, these two Tudor Revival commercial buildings owe their existence to a terrible fire. In January 1932, a blaze raged through four buildings of the 1890s, including Mrs. J. W. Coates’s Quality Shop, a housewares store. Coates commissioned Jogerst to create this picturesque English-styled building for her, which was fitting since Coates sold English bone china and other European imports. The slightly projecting upper story of 620 N. 3rd Street features false half-timbering with brick infill laid in a random pattern. Above the second-story windows, a pair of half-timbered gables, filled with stucco, feature scalloped bargeboards and wooden pendants. The first story is unusually intact. The entrance is deeply recessed, with display windows angled inward on either side. Above the storefront, a prism-glass transom projects natural light to the back of the store.

Once the Quality Shop acquired its new facade, electrical contractor and appliance dealer Martin Rilling followed suit. He asked Obel to replace the ruins of the old Eunson Building with a Tudor Revival fantasy to match Coates’s next door. Builder Herman Seehafer completed the two-story building with a broad, half-timbered gable sheltering two triplets of windows. The spaces between the half-timbering in the gable are filled with stucco textured to mimic wattle and daub. A wave motif runs along the heavy bargeboards, which meet at a large wooden pendant, and a fancy plaster crest enriches the tie beam. As in the Quality Shop, the second-story walls below the gable are decoratively half-timbered, with brick nogging laid in various patterns. A pent roof, supported by exposed rafter tails, shelters the original display bay window between two entrance doors.

Writing Credits

Marsha Weisiger et al.


What's Nearby


Marsha Weisiger et al., "Nicole’s Boutique and Art, Books, and Banter (Quality Shop and Rilling Electric Company Buildings)", [Wausau, Wisconsin], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

Print Source

Buildings of Wisconsin

Buildings of Wisconsin, Marsha Weisiger and contributors. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2017, 404-405.

If SAH Archipedia has been useful to you, please consider supporting it.

SAH Archipedia tells the story of the United States through its buildings, landscapes, and cities. This freely available resource empowers the public with authoritative knowledge that deepens their understanding and appreciation of the built environment. But the Society of Architectural Historians, which created SAH Archipedia with University of Virginia Press, needs your support to maintain the high-caliber research, writing, photography, cartography, editing, design, and programming that make SAH Archipedia a trusted online resource available to all who value the history of place, heritage tourism, and learning.