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Tower Hall (Marshfield City Hall)

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1901, Van Ryn and de Gelleke. 112 E. 2nd St.

Van Ryn and de Gelleke of Milwaukee combined Romanesque and classical features to devise an eclectic design for this two-and-a-half-story city hall. Romanesque characteristics include compressed massing, imposing towers, and round-arched windows, with the bracketed cornice and columns adding a classical quality. The building has a hipped roof, pierced by dormers whose gables sport concrete coping and knobby concrete finials. A pyramidal-roofed three-story tower terminates one end of the facade, and at the facade’s other end, a five-story clock tower rises high above the roof to an open belvedere. Here, balustrades tie together Doric columns, which support a tent roof interrupted on each side by a semicircular hood containing a clock face.

City Hall housed Marshfield’s municipal government and police and fire departments, and these different functions are expressed on the facade. Next to the clock tower, an entrance porch with Ionic columns provided access to the municipal offices. To the right, a wide entablature indicates the former location of the firehouse doors, though the opening has been blocked up with brick. Inside, there were stalls, feed bins, and water troughs for the horses that pulled the firefighting apparatus. The three-story tower rising overhead was where firemen hung their hoses to dry.

Around the corner from City Hall and facing east on Maple Avenue was the public library, built in 1900. It is joined to City Hall on the exterior, but there is no interior connection. Unlike its eclectic neighbor, the library takes on a classical appearance, its brick piers supporting a plain entablature, crowned by a pediment.

The complex has recently been rehabilitated for retail business and low-income housing.

Writing Credits

Marsha Weisiger et al.


What's Nearby


Marsha Weisiger et al., "Tower Hall (Marshfield City Hall)", [Marshfield, 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, 400-400.

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