Thursday, August 29, 2013

The Harvey Howard House, Wooster, OH

The Harvey Howard House, Wooster, OH. 1860 Photo: Wikimedia

Photo: Wayne County Historical Soc.
Sorry to have been so remiss in August! It was a busy month.

This house is somewhat difficult to classify. Although it appears to follow the five bay plan it could also be classified as a central tower plan because of how deep the projection is from the central facade. I think I'm going to stick with the latter designation. Harvey Howard, a druggist, built this house around 1860, but it is more famous for James B. Taylor, Civil War commander, living here from the 1880s. At the turn of the century, it became Wooster's first hospital. The house has a stark brick facde with simple stone moldings. On the first floor these have a very Greek Revival impression, being simple "labels", or flat stone pieces inset above the window. On the second floor are arched windows with 'drip moldings'. The unique features of this house are the projecting central bay which forms a porch with a triple arched Palladian opening. Above that are double tombstone windows with an wooden awning. One would usually expect a Juliette balcony below this, though it looks like there never was one. Very strange. The cornice as well is unique with Greek Revival vines applied within the frieze between the brackets, which fancy up an otherwise plain facade. Given the odd Greek Revival elements, the house has a very transitional feel to it. Large windows pierce the cornice on the sides, but I feel these are a later addition as they are both asymmetrical and bizarre protrusions into the design. The house has a strange feel, like a building with a lot of elements that don't seem to really reach their full conclusion. No tower, but a tower projection, a wooden awning but no balcony. Still, it's an interesting design that embodies Ohio's Western Reserve's conservative New England tastes.

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