Saturday, May 25, 2013

383 Union Street, Springfield, MA

383 Union St. Springfield, MA. 1863

I was in Springfield a few days ago and was very impressed by the restoration going on in that city. It's been in rough shape for a long time, and it was nice to see that whole neighborhoods, especially of stupendous Queen Ann houses seem to be in the process of wholesale restoration. It is definitely a city worth visiting. This house, which according to a realty listing was built in 1863 and about which I do not have much information, is at 383 Union Street, near the historic Mulberry Street neighborhood. This area surrounding this area's main road, Maple Avenue, was once the wealthiest area of the city and hosts some impressive homes in many 19th century styles. This house follows the five-bay plan, a plan that was a holdover from colonial Georgian architecture. The five-bay plan is actually one of the longest-lived plans in American history, being present at the beginning, and still used today. The house has a shallow hip roof with a central cupola. The first floor windows on the front are elongated, which gives it a somewhat Greek Revival appearance. The cornices over the window are quite simple, as is the main cornice, which lacks the characteristic brackets, but has the wide eave.

The real treasure of this house is the door, which features no freestanding columns but huge brackets that run from the base to the small porch overhang. I have seen this type of surround before, particularly in the Washington D.C. area, and was surprised to find it here. There is a large s-curve bracket at the base and under the overhang with an elongated curving bracket connecting the two. There are finials hanging from under the upper brackets and each one is deeply carved. The door itself, which is boarded up (the house appears to be unoccupied) seems to have sidelights and a transom. I also really liked the current color scheme of the house. The reds, yellows, and blues, all primary colors, are used in a softened form that picks out the details well. I thought the use of two tones of red on the cupola was particularly pleasing and gave the house a truly Victorian look. The following pictures show the side elevations and a few details on the door.


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