now known as Opalfield House, King William Street, contribute to an understanding of the development of reinforced concrete construction in Adelaide. While they were architecturally clumsy in comparison with later efforts, the Verco Building successfully reinterpreted traditional styles in the rusticated 'wings' of the North Terrace facade, visually binding together a series of bay windows. The handling of the rustication, and the use of oversized keystones to link with cornices and to support bay windows, is of particular interest. The facade to Stephens Place is less successful. Dr William Alfred Verco was a nephew of Sir James Verco, an eminent Adelaide doctor who became leader of the medical profession in 1887 when he was elected president of the First Intercolonial Medical Congress of Australia held in Adelaide.
W.A. Verco was equally brilliant. At Medical School W.A. Verco topped his year for five years, won Professor Rennie's prize for chemistry and Sir Thomas Elder's much-coveted prize for physiology. He was also the first Everard Scholar and was made Honorary Prosecutor of Anatomy in 1888. He became house physician and obstetric assistant at the Adelaide Hospital before moving into private practice. In 1890 the Pictorial Australian suggested 'that the young doctor might become a brilliant ornament on the roll of South Australian physicians and continue to grace the noble profession which he has adopted'. He then took over his uncle's private practice and residence in Molesworth Street, North Adelaide. At the height of his success Dr Verco went into real estate, buying the former residence of Dr Allan Campbell and demolishing it to have Adelaide's tallest building constructed on the site in 1912. Although skyscrapers had been built since the mid-1880s in Chicago, it was 1911 before an Adelaide newspaper announced the news of a 'skyscraper for Adelaide', which would ' . . . add materially to the appearance of a handsome thoroughfare, and will be an addition to the architectural modernity of the Queen City'. This was Eric H. McMichael's first architectural commission of note and made possible by his marriage to Constance Verco. This commission, according to Michael Page, ' . . . launched him on to what was to become one of Adelaide's most successful practices between the wars'.
The trend of doctors taking professional rooms in North Terrace began around 1880. By 1914 there were approximately forty-four doctors, surgeons and physicians, including a Chinese specialist known as Lum Yow. The trend continued. By the 1960s there were over 160 doctors in rooms on North Terrace. This does not include dentists, opticians, chiropodists, psychologists and other health professionals. North Terrace was firmly established as the 'Harley Street' of Adelaide, with the Verco Building encouraging this trend. The building was extensively refurbished internally in 1980-81. At this time original windows were also replaced, every cornice removed and a new top floor in a mansard roof was added.
The building is now part of the Myer Centre.