A blog devoted to American Italianate architecture of the 19th century. This blog features architectural analyses of Italianate domestic buildings with images, and historical information. My plan is to show the varieties, regional vernacular of Italianate architecture.
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.