Friday, February 5, 2016

The Joseph B. Palmer House, Murfreesboro, TN

Joseph Palmer House, Murfreesboro, TN. 1869 Photo: Brent Moore
Photo: Wikimedia
The Joseph B. Palmer house was built in 1869 in Murfreesboro, TN by a retired Civil War general who served in several major battles. It bears a great deal of similarity to the Craigmiles house nearby in Cleveland, with which it is a near contemporary. Perhaps the Craigmiles house influenced the Palmer house's design. His house is an irregular plan Italianate that takes much of its force from its massing complemented by interesting details. While it follows the standard profile of an irregular plan house, it emphasizes its projecting pavilion with an extra level to its projection and also lacks a central tower, making it far more horizontal than vertical. The first floor windows are relatively simple, segmental arched elements with a limited amount of decoration. The second floor windows, however, are all round arched, and two have thick Venetian tracery (it's usually much more nimble). They are all topped by strong drip moldings that feature central cartouches and end in rococo designs. The ironwork, a southern specialty is decisively delicate, with very thin Renaissance and Gothic designs combined with Greek vegetal motifs. The cornice is extremely compact, featuring very tight double s scroll brackets that break into a run of dentils. Except for the flimsy ironwork, this house suggests masculinity in its understated and sober composition.

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