Wednesday, August 7, 2013

The Elihu Starr House, Middletown, CT

The Elihu Starr House, Middletown, CT. 1841-2

The Elihu Starr house sits on Middletown CT's High Street, a street of fashionable mansions that holds some of the most unique mid-19th century homes in America. Ranging from stunning examples of Italianate, Greek Revival, and Gothic Revival, the street is truly a showcase of mid century design. The Starr house is one of its earliest examples of Italianate, built in 1841-2 for Elihu Starr, a weapons manufacturer. It is now owned by Wesleyan University. The building does not follow one of the typical Italianate plans; instead it shows a great deal of Greek Revival influence with two bays on each side of its rectangular shape. The treatment of the facade, which is stuccoed, is aggressively severe with no elaborate window surrounds and only a small entablature projection. The cornice has simple beam brackets, resembling those of the Apthorp house in New Haven, typical of the early date of the house. These brackets are an important feature of early Italianates and resemble roof beams peeking out under the eave. The plainness of the facade is relieved, however, by lacy iron porches with sloping tent roofs, a Greek Revival feature and a characteristic of early Italianates. The hip roof is surmounted by a cupola with segmental arches, which, although I am not sure, could be a later addition. The addition to the right is new, and harmonizes well with the house.

I will keep posting some houses from Middletown's High Street because, like Hillhouse Avenue in New Haven, which is another mid 19th century grand avenue, it is a well-preserved example of revival styles.

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