Building of the week—National Hotel
Key Project Information
Address: 235 West Main Street, Waukesha WI
Year Built: 1871
Addictions: c. 1880
Architectural Style: Italianate
Historical Use: Hotel
The National Hotel was built by John Sperber in 1871 to take advantage of the tourist trade generated by the discovery of Bethesda Spring in 1868. However, its downtown location and the fact that it was open all year caused it to become the major commercial hotel in town well into the early twentieth century.
This is the earliest remaining hotel built to serve the tourist trade from the start of Waukesha’s Spring Era and one of the first in Waukesha to be designed as a hotel rather than the older style of the country inn. It is a large scale and well-preserved example of the Italianate commercial style, which includes such details as hood molds and detailed cornice.