Friday, March 18, 2016

161 Second Street, Troy, NY

161 Second St. Troy, NY. 1850s-60s

Frustratingly, I found very little information about this house at 161 Second Street, even from historians. I can say in 1899 it was occupied by Martin Payne, an inventor. Nonetheless, it is one of my favorites because in a city dominated by tightly packed rowhouses, this symmetrical plan villa sticks out dramatically. Date-wise it is definitely a product of the general building campaigns in the area in the late 1850s and 1860s. Unlike many typical symmetrical designs, this one seem proportionally compact and bears the stamp of the Troy vernacular, tombstone windows in rectangular frames, box windows over doors, arched door surrounds, doors with odd window divisions to fit the arched frame, and a general somberness. The facade itself is brick, though it could once have been stuccoed in line with the brownstone houses nearby, and projects slightly in the center and is topped by a pediment, the angle of which is obscured by a somewhat incongruous sheet of plywood incorporated into the cornice. The cornice is paneled with particularly large s-scroll brackets with all the bells and whistles, incised carving, strapwork, flowers, and delicate little finials. The panels in the cornice are interrupted by very large third story windows that seem original, if a little forced. The cupola, a rarity in Troy, is a model of austerity, with flat flushboarded siding and triple arched windows, but there are alternating long and short brackets, not often seen on cupolas which tend to have very large brackets at the corners and no others.

This completes our jaunt around Troy. The city has far more to offer, to be sure, and I will return at some point to round out my description of its architecture. If I can say one thing, though, visit this city. For lovers of Victorian architecture you will not be disappointed! The following selected pictures would be all the inducement I need.


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