The Wilson/Beck House of Washington
The majestic, two story, red brick house at 103 E. National Highway in Washington is well-known as the “Beck House.” It was constructed in 1893. The Daviess County Interim Report (1987)—an inventory of historic buildings and homes in Daviess County—gave the house its highest rating: “Outstanding.” On June 26, 2008 it was placed on the National Register of Historic Places.
The structure is not listed with the National Register as the Beck House. It is registered as the “Dr. Nelson Wilson House.”
Dr. Nelson H. Wilson (1844-1895) was born in Jefferson County, Indiana. He married Matilda M. Campbell in 1889. He was a dentist in Washington from 1890 to 1895. He hired John W. Gaddis, a noted architect from Vincennes, to build their new home in Washington. Gaddis designed an elegant two-story Queen Anne style house, with a brick foundation, and brick and limestone walls. A unique feature is the front porch’s white decorative trim (called “stick work”) with four Masonic Cross patterns at the top.
The house was purchased by William G. Beck (1862-1916) in 1900. Mr. Beck moved to Washington in 1887 and founded the William Beck Agency, a real estate, insurance, and loan business. He married Sadie Tranter on August 29, 1889. After Mr. Beck passed away in 1916, his oldest child, Doris Beck (1890-1977), lived in the family home for many years. She never married. She operated the William Beck Agency, along with her brothers, Robert T. Beck (1894-1961) and William E. Beck (1899-1970), until 1973.
LEFT: William G. Beck & Sadie (Tranter) Beck with their daughter, Doris Beck (ca. 1892. RIGHT: (Lt. to Rt.): Robert T. Beck, Doris Beck & William E. Beck (ca. 1916)
This article was prepared by Bruce Smith, a member of the Daviess County Historian team.