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Lauerman Brothers Department Store

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1884, 1904, c. 1920. 1701–1721 Dunlap Ave.

In its heyday, the Lauerman Brothers Department Store called itself the “Largest Small-City Store in America.” The business began in 1890 when twenty-two-year-old Joseph Lauerman established a small novelty shop, which eventually became Lauerman Brothers Company, with his brothers Frank and Charles as partners. The brothers established their flagship store in a three-story classical building constructed in 1904 for local lumber magnate and U.S. senator Isaac Stephenson. Brick pilasters supporting a wide, unornamented entablature demarcate street-level window bays. Transoms of prism glass filled the store with natural light. At the second and third stories, decorative brickwork outlines vertical pairs of windows, which reach from the storefronts to the roofline, creating a sense of height. A dentil course and a wide cornice ornamented by modillions crown the building.

At the rear is an 1884 Italianate block with a cast-iron bracketed cornice at the roof, triangular window hoods, and a cornice above the storefronts that is embellished with dentils and decorative brackets. Beyond this structure is a more utilitarian brown brick warehouse of c. 1920. Rows of tripartite windows run across the main facade, which with a continuous, bracketed stone lintel emphasize horizontality, as does the gabled parapet above the brick pilasters. The Alexander Company rehabilitated the store into apartments.

Writing Credits

Marsha Weisiger et al.


What's Nearby


Marsha Weisiger et al., "Lauerman Brothers Department Store", [Marinette, 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, 324-324.

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