building of the week – pokrandt blacksmith shop
Key Project Information
Address: 128 East St Paul Avenue, Waukesha WI
Year Built: 1892
National Register of Historic Places Designation: 1983
Architectural Style: Commercial Vernacular
Historical Use: Blacksmith Shop/Automotive Repair Shop
Current Use: Commercial Space
The best preserved light industrial structure of any kind from Waukesha’s 19th century industrial economy, the Pokrandt Blacksmith Shop is historically significant for its association with a major element of the city’s industrial heritage. Small blacksmith shops like this were responsible for shoeing horses as well as making and repairing wagons, buggies, and sleighs. By the 1920s, Pokrandt was servicing automobiles as well, thus successfully spanning two eras of transportation technology.
The blacksmith shop is a free standing, two story structure composed of local stone. The side and rear walls of the building are rubble stone in a random pattern. The front façade of stone is dressed as rock faced blocks, laid in regular courses. A band of corbelled stone, approximating dentils, decorates the cornice. Segmented arches cover the windows on the first story; the two windows on the second story are covered by simple lintels, as well as a frame oriel window. 1
Oriel windows are, in effect, self-contained projecting bay windows that do not reach to ground level. 2 An oriel window creates the illusion of a larger room and presents the feeling of spaciousness. Oriel windows maximize the amount of light which enters a room and offer an alternative to a balcony or porch area when space is limited. 3
1 Wisconsin Historical Society, Wisconsin Architecture and History Inventory, Pokrandt Blacksmith Shop, Waukesha, Wisconsin, Reference Number 16804.