When we think of Old Town architecture, we tend to reflect upon the ornate brick or stone buildings with storefronts, cornice lines, and ornamentation. But the Briggs building, squatting at the corner of Oak and Mason, is utterly nondescript in comparison. With a cast stone exterior and stuccoed arcades, along with a flat roof, it feels like an office building mated with something out of an old Wild West movie and their offspring waddled over to this corner to settle down.

And yet, walking through the arcades with the sun streaming in, passing by simple household style windows, doorways flanked with more cast stone, and ornate signs for shops and salons, there’s something very comfortable and pleasant about the building. It feels like a place where you’d like to spend more time. …like a place you can go to get away from it all while still being in the middle of it all.

Originally built by Drs. Morrill E. Miner and Lynn H. Miller in 1951/52, it was primarily used as a medical building for a couple of decades. It was called the Briggs Professional Building in the early 1960s.

Between the 50s and 60s, various medical professionals used the building, including:

  • Dr. Victor E. Cram
  • Dr. William Abbey
  • Dr. C. E. Honstein
  • Dr. G.E. Garrison (optometrist)
  • Dr. R.M. Lee
  • Dr. M.A. Gates:(dentist)
  • Dr. Willard M. Bennett (dentist)
  • Dr. Thomas W. Bennett (dentist)

In the 1970s, as medical services moved towards the south and east of town following the progression of growth in the city, the building gradually turned over to other uses housing insurance companies, a watch shop, a real estate office, Planned Parenthood, a bike shop, coffee shops, salons, boutiques and more.

 

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Dawson’s Fine Jewelry is located in the center of the building along Oak Street. Note the built-in planters and the faux stone facade.

Interior entrances are flanked with cast stone surrounded by stucco.

Interior entrances are flanked with cast stone surrounded by stucco.

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The exterior entrances are somewhat less ornate than those along the arcades. But the wide, recessed entrance to this door adds a feeling of secrecy and importance.

Two north-south arcades are connected near the center of the building, forming an H.

Two north-south arcades are connected near the center of the building, forming an H.

Perhaps because the small shops within the arcade are set so far back from the sidewalk, the signage tends to stick out, like a hand wave letting you know you're in the right place.

Perhaps because the small shops within the arcade are set so far back from the sidewalk, the signage
tends to stick out, like a hand wave letting you know you’re in the right place.

There's definitely a creative feel to the salons and shops located in the building. I can imagine this location being a great home for creatives of all sorts.

There’s definitely a creative feel to the salons and shops located in the building. I can imagine this location being a great home for creatives of all sorts.

The contrast between the low slung horizontal Briggs building near the tall 1st Bank Building is a study in contrasts.

The contrast between the low slung horizontal Briggs building near the tall 1st Bank Building
is a study in contrasts.

The Briggs building forms a rectangle with the longer side along Mason, providing room for several small shops.

The Briggs building forms a rectangle with the longer side along Mason, providing room for several small shops.

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The Briggs Professional Building at the corner of Oak and Mason.