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Ellis Ave Historical Mural

Historical Ellis Avenue Mural
101 West Main Street (formerly Lake Superior District Power Co. building).
Summer 2012

This mural features  Northland College’s Wheeler Hall, The Knight Hotel and the old Ashland High School.

This mural depicts three of Ashland’s most notable and historic brownstone buildings, all located on Ellis Avenue. Wheeler Hall is the northernmost building. Originally the North Wisconsin Academy, founders raised around $30,000 for construction of the main building.  Its cornerstone was laid on July 14, 1892. Wheeler Hall originally housed classes, dorm rooms, the president’s residence and faculty housing.  The whole school was housed in this building, which was named Wheeler Hall in honor of the Wheeler family’s service to the region and to the institution.  This building is still standing on the campus of Northland College.  Ashland High School and Knight Hotel were both designed by German born Henry Wildhagen (1856-1920). He came to Ashland to design a paper mill for the Menasha Paper Company and liked it here so he stayed. He designed the four distinctive stone and brick schools in Ashland between the years 1895  and 1905, as well as 15 schools elsewhere. The Knight Hotel and Ashland High School were built by Archie Donald and Frank Tomlinson.  The value that was placed on public education was evident by the use of well-known architects, and no expense was spared in their construction. Ashland Public Schools presented an image of the highest quality of architecture popular at the time of their construction. The Knight Hotel was built in 1891. The Knight Hotel was built of brownstone that signaled the end of pioneer times and marked the progress of the city. It was designed to be the most striking feature on the cityscape.  Several generations didn’t go anywhere but the Knight Hotel when they needed a doctor, dentist, realtor or lawyer.  The building had its own power plant with generators supplying power for the elevators, the billiard room, a music hall that could seat  500 people, and a 4th floor dining area.  Only the best china, silver and dining ware were used in the dining room. It is said that the lobby was 100 feet long with mosaic tile floor lined with numerous rocking chairs.