De Danskes Hjem served almost half a century as a gathering place for Waupaca’s Danish community. Wisconsin was home to more Danish immigrants and Danish Americans than any other place in the nation, and Waupaca was a center of Danish settlement. The building’s name, meaning “the Danes Home,” suggested a welcoming setting where Danes could celebrate their cultural and linguistic heritage through dances, meetings, and plays. It included a restaurant, library, assembly hall, parlor for women, smoking room for men, and ballroom.
The two-and-a-half-story Romanesque Revival building has walls of cream brick atop a coursed rubble foundation. Red brick stringcourses add color contrasts, outlining round-arched windows on the first story; on the second, they tie together the windows’ segmental arches, stone sills, and lintels. The most dramatic windows are two-story-high semicircular-arched triplets on the Granite Street side that light the cavernous second-story ballroom. The most arresting visual element, however, is the polygonal oriel at the southeast corner, which rises to an octagonal lantern topped with a bell roof. Oriels and bay windows brought more light into interior spaces and helped distinguish buildings from their simpler neighbors.