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Davidson Building

Date: c. 1950


Description: Distinct from their big department store on 4th and Pierce Street, this photo shows the Davidson Building, which held offices for the Davidson brothers as well as various other businesses. The Davidson Building was designed and built in 1913 by William L. Steele, a major Sioux City architect in his time. He is mostly credited with bringing the use of terra cotta to the Midwest, and was a key figure in helping Sioux City become known as the “terra cotta capital of Iowa.” Steele designed many other iconic Sioux City landmarks, like the Livestock National Bank and the Woodbury County Courthouse. Steele studied under Louis Sullivan in Chicago, and the design of the Davidson Building is a textbook example of what is called the Sullivanesque architecture style. The style is characterized by straight, linear, geometric shapes for the main building design, with stylized floral accents. These building accents have the look of natural foliage, but with a uniform shape that normally does not exist in nature. Usually these accents are made with terra cotta, as this was premier building material of the Midwest. You can see these stylized floral accents on the Davidson Building surrounding the “D” emblems on the side and in the terra cotta squares just under the crown molding. The building still stands today at the corner of 6th and Peirce Street.


Donor: Anonymous

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