|The John Magill Houses, Troy, NY. 1872|
As architect designed houses, the buildings show a high level of refinement. They follow the row house plan, with a typical side hall entrance and a brick facing. But the real delight of these houses is the details. The brownstone details are particularly nice, consisting of crisply cut drip moldings over the segmental arched windows which work with string courses and drops to frame the windows beautifully. The rusticated base as well offers a solid foundation. The houses' woodwork on the box window over the door is exquisite, with brackets that terminate in fine Greek Revival palmettes that are emphasized by steep engaged pediments. Above the window eclectically combines traditional Italianate designs with Gothic quatrefoils (clover leaves) and Eastlake incised carving. The show stopper cornice continues the quality of the box window woodwork and resembles closely the cornice seen on the Connors-Boland house, with a row of Gothic pilasters forming a blind arcade. This seems to be a particular vernacular in Troy. I particularly like the central projection in the cornice, which counterbalances the horizontal thrust of the brownstone string courses. Both these houses retain their original details perfectly. The interior of one can be seen here.
The third house in the picture, 144 Second Street, is a bit more austere but clearly reflects the design of its taller neighbors and was most certainly built around the same time. Taking a more traditional approach, this house has a pretty cool alternation of pediments, with rounded pediments on the first floor, triangular on the second, and flat moldings on the third. The same quality of woodwork continues, though the cornice has been altered to the arched type with a row of semicircles rather than a pilastered arcade. The central projection definitely echoes the Magill houses, and I'd suspect the same architect designed all three.