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On the south side of Washington Avenue stands the smallest building in the Neoclassical Historic District. For more than 50 years, this was known as The Goettmann Printing Company.
The building is partially constructed of red tapestry brick and white cement trimmings that mimic the Bedford limestone of the library. Although built for trade, the structure features several neoclassical architectural elements that allow it to hold its head high among its more stately neighbors.
The main entry stands recessed in a portico that features a rounded, or Roman, arch flanked by simple Doric columns. The rounded arch motif is repeated in red brick on both sides of the entry portico. The arches, windows and doorway are all topped by decorative keystones, a neoclassical design element that graces many buildings in downtown Oshkosh. The working part of the building, which extends back and to the south of the street, features simple square columns in red brick and keystone window arches in white cement.
The Goettmann Printing Company was founded circa 1911 by Edward W. Goettmann, son of local cigar maker and political figure Michael H. Goettmann. By 1914, younger brother Earl would join the company and eventually take over its management. The new business occupied several locations around Main Street, most notably on the northeast corner of Main and Ceape Avenue, before new construction plans were drawn up for the Washington Avenue address.
Construction began in 1924 shortly after the Masonic Temple across the street. The Oshkosh Daily Northwestern described the Goettmann building as an “attractive print shop” after its official opening on October 30, 1924.
Company founder Edward Goettmann left the business sometime between 1916 and 1920. He worked various sales and manufacturing jobs in Oshkosh and Chicago, briefly taking over his father’s cigar manufacturing business on Ceape Avenue after Michael Goettmann’s death in 1927. Edward moved with his wife, Lillian, to the East Coast where he lived until his death in 1975. Earl Goettmann and his wife, Ruth, ran the family printing business for more than 50 years, both passing away in 1977.
Real estate agent Paul Redemann bought the building in 1986, converting the workrooms into office space, while keeping the classical architecture of the building. A year later, Redemann received an Acanthus Award from the City of Oshkosh Landmarks Commission for his innovative reuse and restoration of the historic building.