Saturday, February 13, 2016

The James B. Crosby House, Janesville, WI

James Crosby House, Janesville, WI. 1851 Photo: Wikimedia
Photo: Wikimedia
The James B. Crosby house was built in 1851 and has been connected to the work of Samuel Sloan because it is closely based on his plan for "an Ornamental Villa" in his book The Model Architect (pictured below). In its long history, it has been a hospital, a drama school run by a minister, and a foster home. It is currently owned by an architect who bought the dilapidated house and is in the process of restoring it, even rebuilding its demolished surgical wing from its hospital days as his facebook page says. The house displays its early design with its simple ornamentation and irregular massing, something that definitely is very Sloan (his designs, though early vary the most from standard plans). In essence, it is a symmetrical plan house with a gable rather than hip roof and a deep gabled central projection with a triple window. Another early feature are the very tall double windows with Greek Revival eared surrounds, the large overhanging eave, and the absence of an architrave molding. The porch is simple and stick like with some Arabesque designs similar to the Tallman house and a little fringe. The brackets are s-scroll type and pierced with large finials and intersect a run of dentils. Perhaps most magnificent is the octagonal cupola, which has rectangular windows and extends the s scroll brackets down the entire height of the cupola, adding c scrolls until the brackets reach the bottom. This creates a very exotic profile indeed!

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