Date of Construction: 1836; 1911 additions.
Architectural Style: Greek Revival with a Neoclassical Revival entrance alteration.
The White Pillars Museum is the oldest building in the city. The building was originally built as the headquarters (payroll office) for the Fox River Hydraulic Company along the Fox River before steam power and electricity existed. The goal of the hydraulic company was to build a dam on the Fox River to harness the waterpower needed for mills and factories.
The building has served many functions over its lifetime, including (but not limited to) the following: an office for the city’s first newspaper (The Advertiser in 1851); an Episcopal church; a barber shop; an antique shop; a private school; a residence; as well as the museum of, and home to, the De Pere Historical Society.
The Wisconsin Historical Society erected the White Pillars Historical Marker #262 in the front lawn of the property in 1980.
This building was originally located immediately along the Fox River and was moved to this location in the 1860s. In 1911, the building was purchased by contractor/architect Alfred Fleck for use as a single-family residence. At that time, the building was enlarged, and the original square columns of the portico were replaced with the four, fluted Doric Order columns (or pillars) that you see today, thus giving the museum its name. The triangular space held up by the columns is called a pediment and, that too, was elaborated with detail by Fleck.
The De Pere Historical Society purchased the building in 1973 for use as a museum and as the home for the De Pere Historical Society. The museum is open to the public.
Due to a financial crisis the year after the hydraulic company was built, notes from the company were used as currency, thus, this building is considered the first de facto bank in the State of Wisconsin.
De Pere, Wisconsin 54115
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