Sunday, March 6, 2016

The Charles W. Thompson and Francis Thayer Houses, Troy, NY

The Thompson and Thayer Houses, Troy, NY. 1860
Stylistically related to the last house I posted are these two linked houses on the north side of the square. Both these row house plan houses were built by Charles W. Thompson, the lumber merchant, in 1860, the man who built the previous house. The right hand house (larger of course with widely spaced bays) was built for himself, while the left hand house was built for flour merchant Francis Thayer. Basically all the elements are repeated. There are the same arched openings, although it seems in this case that Thompson decided to cheap out and forego the molded surrounds and rococo carving, leaving the windows plain. The cornice is exactly the same undulating type with the same arrangement of brackets. One has to wonder why. Why would Thompson basically build a simpler version of the house he had built in 1858; the only difference is a little bit more room. It seems the facade's simplicity was a bit too austere for someone. A box window seems to have been added in the 1880s/90s on the Thayer house.

A third house at the end of the ensemble is Italianate and was built for Arba Read, a brewer, in 1853. Unfortunately, it is mostly ensconced in vines and doesn't photograph well. Nonetheless, the beautiful foliage gives the house a real charm. This house is actually brick with stone quoins at the corners and follows the symmetrical plan. I suspect it was meant to be stuccoed. The house has typical bracket and molded window and door surrounds and paired brackets. A later mansard roof holds dormers. Perhaps the most amazing feature, which I have yet to see paralleled, is the bay window to the left which has panes of actual brilliant cut glass. Cut glass, familiar as an expensive luxury item for tableware is extremely rare as a treatment for windows, and this alone is something very noteworthy. This bay is probably an addition of the 1880s.

Just for the hell of it, here are the other two houses on the block facing the park.

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