|The John Pitkin Norton House, 1848/49.|
The John P. Norton house follows one of the less popular of Davis and Downing's plans, the side towered plan and was constructed early in Austin's career in 1848/1849. The use of Davis' plan is particularly interesting because the house was built between two Davis houses. Thus, Davis own plans were being interpreted by Austin in a setting of his own designs. The original design has been altered, as have many of the houses on the avenue. The left-hand wing (south) is a later addition which attempts to harmonize with the architecture; it probably dates from the late 19th century. The center section has had a third story added to it, which alters entirely the drama of the tower. The wooden awnings, Juliette balconies, and window surrounds were all removed in the 20th century, but have been restored by Yale, which owns the building today. Still Austin's design is readily apparent despite these changes. Below are pictured Austin's original watercolors for the house from three sides from his papers kept at Yale University. He chose to depict the principal façade in a romantically rural setting, although the house was to be constructed on a densely built street.
The Norton house remains a stunning example of Austin's work, despite the changes that time has taken on it and a significant example of an uncommonly seen plan.