Saturday, January 24, 2015

The A. G. Stobaugh House, Honey Grove TX

Stobaugh House, Honey Grove, Tx, 1875 Photo: James Gerling
Photo: John S
The Stobaugh house is an interesting little home in the small town of Honey Grove, TX, built in 1875 (or so). Despite being located in a relatively small area, the house displays a great deal of sophistication. With a clapboard facade, the house is a symmetrical plan villa with paired brackets, eastlake window surrounds, a simple cupola and a porch with surprisingly thin columns. The real treat, however, are the box windows in the side bays on the front facade that are surmounted by porches topped by pediments and brackets. This is an unusual feature that gives the house a very grand feel and was surely meant to impress. Although the original balustrade and urns over the porch have been removed, the house looks beautifully cared for and even sports a very appropriate paint scheme.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

The John Kendrick House, Waterbury, CT

The John Kendrick House, Waterbury, CT. 1866 Photo: Wikimedia
The John Kendrick house in Waterbury, CT is an impressive Italianate villa in an unfortunate urban setting. Hemmed in by taller, modern buildings, it is one of the only Victorian buildings facing the Green that has survived the fires, floods, and renewals that have taken their toll on Waterbury. Surprisingly, it has maintained many of its features. The house is a symmetrical villa of plain brick (perhaps once stuccoed) with fine brownstone details and iron balconies on the first floor. The porch of the house is noteworthy, with its triple arches and elaborate detailing.The porch columns themselves have very strange capitals that are loosely Ionic in design and seem to be almost gothic in inspiration. The simple s and c curve brackets are regularly spaced and given definition by an architrave board that defines the cornice. Perhaps most noteworthy is the recess on the second floor created by pilasters that create a depression in the center that is decorated by an unusual brownstone arch and brackets that looks more like it fits the parlor of the house rather than the exterior. The whole is crowned by a pediment that reinforces the central thrust of the plan. Though the house, as I write this appears neglected and abandoned, it nonetheless provides an attractive possibility for renovation.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

The William Treadwell House, Hudson, MI

\The William Treadwell House, Mudson, MI. 1860s Photo: Doug Copeland
Photo: NRHP
Sorry to my readers, I have returned at last! The William Treadwell house is a significant landmark near the town of Hudson, MI, a place known for its impressive collection of historic homes. This is a particularly exuberant example of the irregular plan with an exciting array of features. The facade is articulated in brick with limestone or sandstone hood moldings. The brick is plain without many raised features. The first floor is marked by not only segmental arched windows, but also elaborate wooden canopies trimmed in jigsaw work over each element, a particularly expensive and eye-catching feature. Cast iron balconies provide relief from the constant woodwork that this house showcases. The front door itself has a glass surround. The second floor takes as its central motif paired tombstone windows with a triple arched palladian window, seen on a few other Italianates. The brackets are particularly large on this house and are c and s curve in style. What really strikes the eye, however, is the tower, which has an elaborate balcony that surrounds the top stage. The balcony is gothic in style with a series of round arches and a crenellated banister. Large turned finials at each corner complete the effect and echo the larger brackets on the tower. Overall, the house has a constant sense of movement and restlessness. The house's interiors can be seen here.

A second house nearby in Hudson, at 313 Church St. (also built in the 1860s) is nearly identical to the Treadwell house. It differs primarily in the elaborate brick patterning in the cornice of large blind arches and the addition of a poorly thought out colonial-revival porch of the late 19th century.

Photo: Doug Copeland

Monday, January 27, 2014

The William H. Ross House, Seaford, DE

The William H. Ross House, Seaford, DE. 1859 Photos: Lee Cannon

The William H. Ross house is a truly monumental Italianate in the middle of nowhere; in southern Delaware near the Maryland border, the house is a sophisticated example of stucco Italianates associated with the 1850s in a rural setting. A southern sympathizer, like many in neighboring Maryland during the Civil War, Ross was a wealthy investor, governor, and slaveholder in Delaware. His house no doubt reflects his experience of the elaborate Italianates found in cities like Baltimore and Philadelphia. The house follows a side tower plan with some modifications. We would expect the front facade on the left to end with the tower, however, the architect added an extra gabled pavilion, which somewhat melds the house's side tower plan with the pavilion plan or irregular plan. The house, faced in brick, is full of arches. All the windows and shutters are arched as are the porch and main door. The monotony of arched windows, however, is broken by the variations in their deployment. On the left pavilion, we have paired broad tombstone windows, while the right pavilion has thin triple arched windows. On the tower, there are widely spaced tombstone windows, but only one window in the top stage that has Venetian tracery. Some of the windows have very simple drip moldings. The door is recessed in the base of the tower, which is uncommon in the side tower plan and resembles more the irregular plan. The door is a simple affair with a glass surround. The brackets as well are pretty simple. The simplicity of design and clean lines make this house a particularly lovely example, and the very appropriate paint job, which could have been pulled right from Downing, makes the house seem like a perfectly preserved example. The interior images are from HABS.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

The John Merrick House, Wilmington, DE

Photo: walkthetown

The Wilmington Club/Merrick House, Wilmington, DE. 1864
Photo: Wikimedia.
The former John Merrick house and current Wilmington Club is a lovely example of Italianate that is often overlooked. Constructed by John Merrick, an important carriage manufacturer and industrialist, in 1864, the house is currently home to the Wilmington Club, one of the oldest dining clubs in the country which purchased it in 1900. The house was designed by Edmund Lind an architect active in Baltimore and the south who is signficant in Baltimore for his designs for the Italianate Peabody Institute. Lind certainly seems to have made a name for himself as the go-to guy for impressive brownstone Italianates in the city during the mid 19th century. His work is centered around the Anglo-Italianate mode of design that more closely follows Renaissance precedents and can be seen extensively in Baltimore. As a specimen of his work, the Merrick house does not disappoint. It follows the five bay plan which we have seen in other urban residences such as the Graham House in Baltimore and the Wing Williams House in Albany.

The house is an impressive three stories tall and is faced in brownstone with quoins at the corners, beltcourses, and a wooden cornice. The windows alternate between round arched on the first two stories and filleted third story windows.The central bay contains double tombstone windows, emphasizing its central importance. The real beauty of this house lies in its exuberant stonework, which is heavily carved and shows some Renaissance/Rococo influence like that seen at the Backus House in Baltimore. The simple brackets and moldings are enlivened with dramatic swirls of foliage on the first floor; the second includes even more elaboration as well as a central cartouche/shield in the center broken pediment. The third floor has simpler molded surrounds with keystones, which provide some relief from the ornament below and give the facade a more grand appearance. Other interesting aspects are the stone balconies connecting thw pairs of windows on the first floor, the stone staircase balustrade, and the fact that the sides of the house seem to have been finished. It's a house I definitely find to be grand and beautiful and very typical of the wealth found in these cities in the 50s and 60s.

I have been referring to the carved parts as stone, but in fact they are excellent cement replacements. because brownstone delaminates, anything constructed in it has to be constantly maintained or replaced. I think they did an excellent job fixing the doo-dads and preserved the elegant appearance of the building.

Photo: walkthetown

Monday, January 20, 2014

The Charles William Horr House, Wellington, OH

The Charles W. Horr House, Wellington, OH. 1872 Photo: scottamus
This substantial Italianate was constructed in 1872 by W. C. Horr, one of Wellington OH's important transformative 19th century businessmen. Horr was responsible for introducing industrial cheese production in Wellington and the prosperity he brought caused a boom of construction in the town. This home once sat on a massive 30 acre plot, although today it is surrounded by newer homes. The house is a symmetrical plan Italianate, with a projecting central bay, sided with wood. The central body has flushboards that simulate stucco while the wings and ells have clapboard siding. The windows of the first floor are round arched, while those on the second are segmentally arched. The hood moldings are particularly interesting and have some parallels in other Midwestern homes. The center of each molding follows the curve of the window but at the ends straightens to a horizontal line and then has a vertical element. They appear to be cast iron. The whole shape suggests Spanish architecture to me. The porch is a simple affair with some gingerbread soffits and the cornice is paneled and filleted. The cupola of this house is interesting. Lower than many of them, it has the dimensions of a monitor and is rectangular rather than square. The central section of each side has a pointed window that causes the cornice to project up. Unlike other cupolas which tend to have exaggerated brackets, this one has diminutive examples. Finally something seems to be up with the side wing. A porch stretches across part of it, but the porch cornice seems to continue across the facade. This might suggest that the wing was built after the porch and it was susequently filled in.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

The John Hart Whorton House, Appleton, WI

The John Hart Whorton House, Appleton, WI. 1875 Photo: bigcityal
This house was built in 1875 by John Hart Whorton, an important banker. It is an interesting example of the side tower plan, in that unlike other examples, the central recessed section is extremely short and the tower is unusually large. The tower is emphasized by the slightly projecting roof at the base of the top stage. Odd as well is the porch that runs across the entire front of the house, since in other examples the porch can only be found in the central facade section. The porch is also interesting for its long spans which are emphasized by the simple gingerbread. The facade is faced in yellow/cream brick which is a common feature in Wisconsin with brownstone highlights, creating a highly polychromatic effect. The windows are all arched, and the hood moldings consist of slightly projecting brick with brownstone keystones and finials. The style of this house, with its prevalence of arched windows, brick, and polychrome is sometimes called Lombardic, because it has a close affinity with the Romanesque architecture of the Lombards in Italy which was being publicized in the 19th century. So-called Lombardic ornament is of course just one of the many subsets of Italianate design.

The cornice on this house with its panels and s-curve brackets is particularly large, in keeping with the exaggerations in the plan and scale of other elements. Interestingly, the brackets do not continue around the base of the top stage of the tower, making it appear disconnected from the main house. Perhaps the best thing about the house, in my opinion, is how sensitively it is painted. The trim colors emphasize and harmonize with the colors of the stone and bricks of the facade, making the whole look like a consistent architectural unit. It is a testament to how a well painted Italianate can look.