Lithographic postcard of the Webster Block on Main and Church Avenue, Oshkosh, Wisconsin – Courtesy of Oshkosh Public Museum, 1908, OPM #P2003.20.588
The Webster Block was constructed in 1895-1896 by John Webster, replacing an earlier wooden building on the same site. Mr. Webster was born in Scotland in February of 1826; he moved to Orange County, Vermont. In 1832 his family then moved to Walworth County, Wisconsin, to establish a farm. They came to Oshkosh in 1847 and purchased a home that same year on Merritt Avenue, and lived in it until his death on January 29, 1909. According to his obituary, he was the first person in Oshkosh to operate a dray service, first with oxen then with horses. He held an interest in several farms in the area and was said to own many properties in the city.
The lower story of the building has signs for “Williams Business College,” and a Prudential Insurance sign wraps around the turret at its base. The Williams Business College was at this location from 1908-1911 when combined with the Oshkosh Business College around 1912 and moved into the Oshkosh Business College building, which was located across the street at Merritt and Main Street.
Look south across the street! You’ll see the Webster Building is now a full-service salon and spa with residential housing on the second and third floors.