Sunday, February 15, 2015

The Worman-Apgar House, Frenchtown, NJ

The Worman-Apgar House, Frenchtown, NJ. 1869 Photos: Wikimedia

Moving on from Utica, the Worman-Apgar house in Frenchtown, NJ is an impressive and aggressively vertical irregular plan Italianate. The verticality is created by the narrowness of each of the facade planes. Although built in 1869, the house is far out of date, demonstrating the style of the 1850s and none of the complex carpentry associated with the late 60s and 70s. Nonetheless, it is a very high style example of the tradition of early Italianate designs. The house, finished in stucco scored to look like stone, is simple in its ornament. Large flat wall surfaces are pierced with round headed windows with thick moldings, and a flat architrave molding delineates the entablature. The thickness of the overhang is particularly notable as is the lack of brackets. The first floor flat head windows are without ornament. As on a lot of early-type designs, the fun is confined to interesting pieces of carpentry. Here, the curved tent-roof wooden awnings with fringes, the Juliette balcony over the door, and the simple, thin porch relieve the facade's solemnity. Also of interest is the slender wooden (flushboard) tower, which, at the top stage has a segmental arched window with a Henry Austin style eared molding. The cornice of the tower on all four facades has a pediment, a particularly elegant and vertical feature.

The house really does feel like an Austin design to me and it resembles, in its ornament, the Norton house. The front has a well preserved iron fence (see below). I think that the paint scheme for this house, although quite solemn, is very historically accurate in its attempt to suggest a stone construction.


  1. What a great space the top of the tower must be!

  2. I got to go up there when I was a kid, and it was very cool. Cushioned benches along all 4 sides of the walls, and a ladder in the center of the floor to climb up, if I remember correctly.

    1. Yeah, Italianate towers are pretty fun, especially for kids. I'd hang out there all day, if I had one.