GREEN BAY, Wis. (WFRV) – Think about all the places you go on a weekly or even daily basis. Work, home, school, the grocery store, church, the bank… the hospital to visit a friend?
We frequent so many buildings in our community and seldom think about how they came to be. Who thought of the angles of the lobby of the Green Bay Botanical Garden? The grandness of the First United Methodist Church?
The architectural firm of Berners-Schober & Associates had a hand in designing and building many of the historical buildings in Green Bay and throughout Wisconsin.
This Wisconsin business has been going strong since 1898 where it’s first building was The Falck Hotel in Seymour.
It’s interesting to note the clothing and transportation in the original design and watercolor.
The building remains relatively unchanged from over 120 years ago. The property is now home to Hotel Seymour American Pub & Ale House.
Moving forward five years, in 1903, the firm designed Carnegie Public Library.
President, Ian Griffiths says the notables with this building’s design was the symmetry and the large windows to help light the building.
This building is also unchanged, although now it houses the U.S. Federal Eastern District Court of Wisconsin.
Yes, there was a time when the Bay Beach Pavilion was actually on the beach. There were even bath houses and changing rooms in the water and Berners-Schober designed all of it, including renovations over the years to this well-loved staple of the community.
From playtime to study time, the firm has also designed hundreds of schools over the years that are still going strong teaching young minds today.
“My kids go to East High School,” says Griffiths. “I walk the corridors and you can see the dips in the floor where people have turned their feet in the stairs…that’s 100 years worth of kids walking.”
He even found the original contract when East High School was built through the firm back in the 1920s.
It totals just under half a million dollars for a building that’s lasted almost 100 years. Not a bad investment.
The firm evolved and really became a powerhouse in the 1920s and ’30s. Some of the buildings took on a more whimsical look like the Barkhausen Service Stations.
Even in the 1920s they were conscientious of sustainability with their use of the rain barrel to catch rain water. This system allows the water to be diverted to storm drains and streams for later use in yards and gardens. This is especially useful during droughts or during water restrictions.
Berner-Schober & Associates isn’t slowing down any time soon. They have worked on many buildings in our community that most of us probably haven’t thought twice about the team of people that designed them.
Although, the beauty of these buildings has certainly not gone unnoticed.
“So often times it’s places that people go to work, to church on a Sunday, the houses that they live in, the schools that they’re educated in, we touch them everyday but they don’t realize it,” Griffiths says proudly. “It’s all work that’s come out of these four walls… it’s pretty cool.”