I serve on the Oshkosh Landmarks Commission to help bring awareness to historic structures in Oshkosh and to help preserve them. A fun way we get people interested in the history of their structure is through our Historic Plaque Program. It is a way to recognize and catalog structures that have local historic and architectural value. When the Landmarks Commission approves the application, the applicant pays $240 and receives a beautiful bronze plaque that they can attach to their building. I applied for and got a plaque a few years back for our home. Sometimes building owners know they have a structure with a history, but they don’t always know where to search. In instances like that, a commissioner will do some more in-depth research. We recently had a submission where we needed to do a little more research, so I volunteered for the task. The application was for a home at 415 Linde Street in Oshkosh. This house was for sale a few years ago, which Molly and I happened to take a walk through of when we were looking for a home a few years ago.
When I do building research in Oshkosh the first bit of information that I need to have is the previous house number or previous street name. Oshkosh reworked its whole numbering system back in the late 1950s, so the former house number is always my starting point. You can easily find that out by visiting the Oshkosh Public Library or by looking it up on their website. This house number was formerly 49 Linde Avenue prior to 1957. After establishing the former address, I can then go to the Oshkosh City Directories either at the library or the Winnebago County Historical & Archaeological Society and begin looking back at who lived at an address. After that, I begin branching out to find information on the people who lived there. Local newspapers, books, directories, and genealogical resources help to piece the historical puzzle together.
In the end, I spent about five to seven hours of research to find some history of this property and came up with some great information. The other commissioners enjoyed what I put together, and it made our decision easy to approve this property for a historic plaque. In the next month or two, the owners will receive their beautiful, bronze plaque to put on their house. We will also give them the history that I put together. They could use that information to do some additional research.
You can see the full report I submitted to the Oshkosh Landmarks Commission for this plaque application by clicking the image below.