Cast Iron Store Fronts

cast iron store front 3


In the late 1800s and early 1900s the availability of prefabricated building elements grew drastically. Cast iron storefronts were a particularly popular element, and the Mesker Brothers were one of the most popular manufacturers. (*There were two separate companies run by brothers, one out of St. Louis, one out of Evansville.) A catalog shows the variety of designs available. The Illinois Historic Preservation Agency has a great website that features a Google Earth map of Meskers, a Flickr group for photographing the storefronts, and more. The Washington State Department of Archaeology and Historic Preservation also has a nice page on storefront makers from that area; links to Mesker catalogs are included too. Preservation Brief 11, brought to you by the friendly folks at the National Park Service, focuses on rehabbing historic storefronts. As businesses go in and out, its important to keep the historic storefronts intact and keep a consistent appearance in downtown commercial districts.
Once you start to look for them, you’ll notice Meskers (and others) everywhere, particularly in Main Street settings. Happy hunting!

Kate Scott

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Kate is working to survey historic properties in Indiana and serves as our stalwart Communications Committee Chair. She works on advocacy and non-profit preservation projects whenever possible and moonlight as an architectural photographer.

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