Building Specs

Official Name -- Bellin Building

Address --
130 E. Walnut St
Green Bay, WI

Height --
114 ft.

Floors --
9

Construction End- 1915

The Bellin Building was built in 1915 by Green Bay physician and surgeon, Dr. Julius Bellin as a rental space largely utilized by physicians, dentists and other medical professionals. The design of the building can be credited to Perry T. Benton. It was the first in the area to utilize the Chicago style of Architecture using a Terra Cotta face with ornate bevel in and features and was also considered "the first small skyscraper north of Milwaukee in its time.

The recent purchase of the Bellin Building represents the third time the building has changed ownership. Bellin and related entities owned the building from 1915-1972. Dr. Julius Bellin was one of the city's most prominent surgeons. He was the founder, chief of staff and chief of surgery for Deaconess Hospital, which was later renamed in his honor as Bellin memorial Hospital in the 1920's. The Bellin Building was purchased by Robert C. Safford in 1972 and owned until 2006, after which it was purchased by the current investment group.

The Bellin building originally only had seven stories. In 1924, Bellin added an eighth and ninth story penthouse which surpassed the height of the recently built Minahan-McCormick Building. One of the first tenants on the top floor was WHBY radio operated by the Norbertine Fathers who received the first permit to operate a radio broadcasting station North of Chicago in 1925.

The Terra Cotta that covers the brick on the North and East side of the building was considered extremely elegant and was first used on the Reliance Building in Chicago which was completed in 1895. The washable surface was appealing to those that desired a resplendent building which is characteristic of the glass of a modern day skyscraper. It was quite typical of early skyscrapers to only put a facade on the sides of the building that were facing the streets. Despite being the tallest building around, it was assumed that people would only notice the front of the building.

Another unique characteristic of the Bellin building is the presence of the manual elevator which is one of four remaining in the united States. Despite spoken legend, the elevators that exist today are not original to the building as it was first constructed. The cab of the manual elevator was installed in 1947, over thirty years following construction. However, this does not hinder the unique experience that can be had from one's first ride.

Few buildings have changed so little as the Bellin Building which was once a rather high-profile address on the street. It has housed the Wisconsin Public Service offices and later People's Trust and Safety Company, along with several law firms. Currently, the Bellin Building is the only example that remains downtown Green Bay of the commercial style of architecture which pioneered the use of metal superstructures to create buildings with numerous stories and several windows. The weight of the building is carried by a steel and concrete skeleton erected over a foundation of piles driven 80 feet into the ground.

It is intriguing and almost unfathomable to think that the building has pilings that were driven down almost as far as the building stands above the ground!

Construction crews pour footings for the Bellin Building