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Wisconsin National Life Insurance Building

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1927, Auler and Jensen. 220 Washington Ave.

Exuberant ornament and fine proportions distinguish this reinforced-concrete Beaux-Arts classical building designed by a local firm. On each of the three principal elevations, engaged Composite columns recess between piers that form the building’s corners. Lavish details include a terra-cotta frieze of griffins, urns, and foliation rendered in brown and blue on a yellow field, and a cornice with a cresting of lions’ heads, palmettes, and foliation. Between the colossal columns, at the third story, rows of stone owls perch along a recessed row of windows. The interior features an opulent coffered ceiling and a border of acanthus leaves and scroll brackets. Swags, urns, and medallions in low relief cover the wall surfaces. Pompous edifices recalling imperial Roman power and grandeur were popular for financial institutions in the early twentieth century.

Writing Credits

Marsha Weisiger et al.


What's Nearby


Marsha Weisiger et al., "Wisconsin National Life Insurance Building", [Oshkosh, 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, 226-226.

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