Wednesday, February 11, 2015

The Charles Yates House, Utica, NY

The Charles Yates House, Utica, NY. 1863-7 Photo: mrsmecomber
Photo: Carol
The Charles Yates house was built in 1863 or 1867 for Charles Yates, a clothing merchant, on Genesee Street in Utica, by Azel Lathrop, a local architect. For me, it is a house I am particularly drawn to in the city, because of its historically appropriate paint scheme (which is endemic to Utica houses) and its combination of Italianate with a nascent Second-Empire mansard. The house, I think, veers more toward Italianate because, although the roof is raised enough to provide for dormers, it does not constitute a full story like a proper mansard. As seen in my last post on the Millar-Wheeler house, the home displays the penchant in Utica for fine carpentry and includes a bay window over the porch.

The house broadly follows the symmetrical plan, but suggests the pavilion plan of Fountain Elms by having the facade project on the flanking bays. The facade is painted to look like stucco, and the details are done in brown to simulate stonework. The flanking bays have simple round headed windows with drip moldings. The real fun of the house comes in the central bay, like the Millar-Wheeler house, which creates on an essentially horizontal form a vertical emphasis. The porch, with all the elaboration expected in Utica, has paneled columns and heavy brackets, and the five bay, bay window (with a brief mansard) echoes this ornament. The cornice, interestingly is broken in the center by a dormer window that sort of suggests a tower or cupola, with a heavy cornice and arched window. The dormers as well have full bracketed cornices that reflect the complexity of the main, paneled cornice.

The Knights of Columbus moved in in 1913, but left in 2006 after a fire. The building, although owned, seems abandoned but cared for. It's a fine house that deserves a good plan for reuse, particularly because it makes such a statement on Utica's main street.

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