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A Look Inside Laura Mae

Many people have mentioned that they’ve been attracted to the building which now houses our office over the years as they walked or drove past. One of the most frequent comments heard is, “I’ve always wanted to look inside.” This led us to do a little digging into why we also see our place as special.

The structure at 1417 Main is unique to Stevens Point in that it is one of the few examples of Prairie Style architecture in the area. Prairie Style homes usually have some of the following features: a shallow-pitched hip roof, broad overhanging eaves, strong horizontal lines, an open floor plan and bands of windows located high up on walls. The Prairie School was an architectural style originating in the Midwest, primarily in Chicago, from the late 1800’s to approximately 1920. “Laura Mae” was built from 1915-16, which places her in this period. Although perhaps not designed by one of the Prairie School pioneers such as Louis Sullivan or Frank Lloyd Wright, the influences and inspiration in detail are evident.

Few alterations have been made on the exterior, with the exception of the access ramp erected to serve the public. Surprisingly, even the stucco finish is mostly intact. Much of the interior has also been preserved. The Arts & Crafts design in woodwork, solid baseboards & crown molding, minimalist room design, and banded windows are still in place, and a contrast to the Victorian era homes built around the same timeframe that we see around town. The Prairie Style, a name given not by the architects themselves, was intended to counter the smaller rooms and closed-in feeling of Victorians, just as the prairies of our area are more unconfined.

We are proud to be housed in a stellar representation of an architectural era founded in the prairies of the Midwest to convey strength, style and an appreciation of the lands of our local heritage.