…Catty-corner to the Courthouse is the Carlisle, the downtown news story of 2014-2015. If you haven’t already learned it, the Carlisle was built in 1885 in the glory of High Victorian architecture. I like to call it one of our “Victorian commercial palaces,” like the Warner Hotel.
Ironically, the Carlisles did not build it…but their money did. The two Carlisle brothers died without children, so their brother-in-law Arthur B. Howson managed the estate and replaced their dated mid-nineteenth century building with a larger up-to-date edifice named after them.
However, ten years later, an addition to the Carlisle on Main Street was named after the family who managed the money. But the Howson Building remains dark in the phone book cover photo, awaiting the right economics to renovate its interior.
In the drama and excitement of keeping the building on life support and then revitalizing it, much has been posted about it. Read more of my chatter on it in my earlier blogs and Facebook posts.
Sharing a similar familial paradox is the Foulke Block, across Paint Street from the Carlisle. (I’m bending the rules by calling the penthouse atop it a tower for the purpose of this blog – the effect of that skyline bump is similar.)
Dr. Lewis Foulke invested in real estate, including across from the Carlisle Building. (Curiously, he was born in CARLISLE, Pennsylvania.) For almost a decade, he worked to acquire the mish-mash of commercial buildings on this site. He died without getting the corner 1850 building which still stands there (it was originally a shoe factory).
His son-in-law Dr. Gustavus Franklin became administrator for the estate, and Franklin completed Foulke’s apparent plan to redevelop the half-block streetscape. The result was another building built by one family and named after the previous family whose money paid for it.
The historical society’s Franklin House at 80 South Paint was the residence of Gustavus’ children. I am unsure of a family connection to the two brothers Dr. Franklin, associated with the 1919 medical building at 79-80 East Second Street, and their 1920s Tudor residences at 981 and 991 Western Avenue.
While the Carlisle is dressed up to give a picturesque roofline to its simple rectangular form, the styling of the later Foulke Block enhances its squareness, somewhat like a massive steamship. Barely a decade older than the Carlisle, it features the Victorian Romanesque style.
This style is best seen in the 1903 Walnut Street Methodist Church, with its massive, circular “Roman” arches and rough-cut stone as a heavy-handed backslap to the fancifulness of the HighVictorian.
There the style is more precisely “Richardsonian Romanaesque,” named after the prominent architect who popularized that stony monochromatic version. The Foulke Block is a less dramatic version of the style, with its predominant brick and simple silhouette.
If you look closely, you will see that its design was apparently adjusted for lacking the additional frontage of the corner property. The facade is slightly asymmetric! There’s four bays on the left side, and only three on the right; and even the bays are a different width on either side. Fooled ya.
The 1896-97 building was touted as Chillicothe’s first (modern) apartment building, though it appears to have housed more offices than residents through the decades. A two-story cafeteria was designed on the upper floor of the north end. Of course, commercial space filled the first floor.
The most famous concern there was Schachne & Sons, which as I recall had the only escalator in town. They also had a pneumatic tube message system like old drive-through tellers, for sending orders throughout the department store. It had eventually spread into the corner building and a building added on Main Street. All that is gone now, and Milwaukeean Moritz Schachne rests in Grandview Cemetery with a Star of David proudly etched onto his tombstone.
Under the front is an underground sidewalk that was reopened in 1999, and remains a favorite location when open for our Ghost Walk. I’d say it was built in mind as possible secondary commercial real estate in the building – but in a town as small and temperate as Chillicothe, it would never make a return for any business that located there. Instead, it has served as storage space, and office space where visibility is unimportant (like for the census bureau).
I’m not sure how this “Beehive” acquired the name of Schachne’s original 1888 store located in previous buildings on this site.
The Foulke Block was built very well, has been continuously occupied, and has been consistently maintained very well. If you want to preserve a building, proper and continuous maintenance is the best way!
The Foulke ‘tower,’ the penthouse, has variously served as an art studio, residence, VIP suite for visitors to the Mead Company, and a haunted radio station (ask Dan Ramey).
*Much history adapted from Pat Medert’s research
More soon in the next installment!
(And can you predict my three other towers in the photo?)