Home Community Gabriel building continues to serve as downtown time machine

Gabriel building continues to serve as downtown time machine


Work that’ll give a new life to one of Downtown Appleton’s grand structures continues to give new layers of visual excitement — particularly to those who have eyes for downtown history.

As another layer was torn away last week, some old Gabriel Furniture promotion turned out to look as good as new.

Crews are transforming the 1888 building at the southeast corner of College Avenue and Morrison Street from Gabriel Furniture to Gabriel Lofts, which will include retail and luxury apartments.

In May, the metal facade that was put up in the 1960s came down and once again revealed the original, classic brick underneath.

Last week, work revealed the well preserved painting on the ground-level, west wall — which, again, had been hidden for decades.

Valley Review covered the efforts last month to salvage “Be the Change,” a Chad Brady mural that quickly became a downtown favorite and faced Morrison Street since 2016. Key pieces of the mural were cut away and placed in storage until they’re able to get a new life of their own elsewhere. 

A new message — “Imagine a World Without Art” — briefly took place of the painting which included colorful butterflies escaping from a black-and-white page.

Crews went through the stucco and foam to the brick and the message that “You’ll do better at Gabriels.” You know it isn’t modern, because in these hyper-political times, a business owner would know better than to describe his credit terms as “liberal.”

It wasn’t the lone advertising harkening to an earlier Appleton.

On the east side of the building, passersby can view a faded ad for the Tusler Pontiac that hid behind the outdated facade.

The building started life as the Konemic Lodge of the International Order of the Odd Fellows. Joseph Gabriel opened Gabriel Furniture in 1928. Gabriel lofts is slated for completion in spring.

For previous coverage, click here.