|The Francis House, Troy, NY. 1846.|
Monday, February 29, 2016
Saturday, February 27, 2016
|Charles J. Saxe House, Troy, NY. 1854|
Thursday, February 25, 2016
|Joseph Fuller House, Troy, NY. 1853|
Tuesday, February 23, 2016
|The Agnes Vaughan House, Troy, NY. 1855|
The park itself was established in 1840 when the property lots were divided, though the original lots were quickly resold. By 1860, most of the park was built up along its north (Washington St.), south (Washington Pl.), east (3rd St.), and west (2nd St.). Some of the houses are attached, but many are freestanding, although they follow general row house principles. While Italianate dominates stylistically, the ensemble is precious for having great examples of Gothic and Greek Revival as well. In general the other sides developed more quickly than the east. The inhabitants were upper middle class businessmen, factory owners, and merchants, and seemed to form a distinct social set. Although the area declined in the early 20th century and Troy itself began to decay drastically in the mid-20th century, it was revitalized in the 1960s and there was a renewed interest in Victorian design.
For my first house, I will be starting in the south-west corner. Built in 1855 at 199 2nd Street, it was inhabited by Agnes Vaughan from 1877 whose husband stole from his law firm and divorced her. Nonetheless, Agnes stayed in the house and eventually remarried. This house is one of my favorites. It follows a row house form, but has a central entrance, so one can call it symmetrical (without much of the centralized emphasis). The house's façade however is far from symmetrical, however, since the right hand bay is elongated, something one sees in many side hall houses in upstate NY, surely to accommodate a larger drawing room. The façade my be stuccoed or painted stone with corner quoins. The houses around the square are generally sparing in ornament, giving the whole a strong dignity and Anglo-Italianate flavor (shown also in the rusticated base); the segmental arched windows and door surround are simple moldings. It seems some iron balconies have been removed on the first floor. The windows feature interesting Venetian tracery wedged into a segmental arch, something that seems common in Troy. A projecting box window surmounts the entrance, another extremely common upstate NY feature; often these are the most ornamental parts of urban homes. The cornice is paneled with s scroll brackets. All in all a sophisticated design.
The southern part of the square has no Italianates proper. Rather the whole side is taken up by one long, unified Greek Revival row; however, the temptations of Italy seem to have won out over the Hellenic, since many of the houses feature Italianate doors and box windows. The survival of this row, once a common feature of 19th century cities, is truly impressive. It's pictured below.
Sunday, February 21, 2016
|The R. A. Loveland House, Janesville, WI. 1861 Photo: Sarah Lawver|
Friday, February 19, 2016
|Thomas Lappin House, Janesville, WI. 1864 Photo: Sarah Lawver|
Wednesday, February 17, 2016
|The Brewster Randall House, Janesville, WI. 1862 Photo: Wikimedia|
Monday, February 15, 2016
|Hamilton Richardson House, Janesville, WI. 1871. Photo: Wikimedia|
Saturday, February 13, 2016
|James Crosby House, Janesville, WI. 1851 Photo: Wikimedia|
Thursday, February 11, 2016
|The Wm. Tallman House, Janesville, WI. 1857 Photo: Wikimedia|
Especially impressive is the box window/conservatory on the left facade. The windows on this have a particularly Moorish flavor, with Venetian tracery that is further divided into a nine-foil design set inside horseshoe arches with elaborate Arabesque strapwork. We have looked at some houses with Moorish designs confined mostly to the Northeast; this is the most western house that displays this stylistic syncretism. The house is finished in the round; even the back porch is decorated with Greek palmettes. The cornice is paneled with chamfered panels and paired octagonal windows. The brackets are of the s and c scroll type and the whole is topped by a cupola with narrow grouped arched windows and a fantastic bulbous finial. This house is an exercise in eclecticism. In looking at its combination of Moorish, Gothic, Greek, and Rococo, it's apparent that the designer was interested in using the Tallman's money to express wealth through stylistic exuberance. Some views of the interior can be seen here. The photos below show more details and were taken by Cliff.
|This photo: Wikimedia|
Tuesday, February 9, 2016
|'Two Rivers', Nashville, TN. 1859 Photo: Brent Moore|
The porches run across the facade on the first floor and the central bay on the second, creating that all important central emphasis on a symmetrical house. In that, this house has some affinity with the New Orleans Porch Facade type. The thick paneled pilasters create filleted rectangular openings which feature brackets with carved acanthus leaves, raised diamond panels, and rosettes, no doubt reproduced carefully from a Greek Revival pattern book. The balusters are a Renaissance type, another indication of wealth (turned balusters cost money, especially that many). The cornice is paneled, with variations of s scroll acanthus leaf brackets and simple s scroll designs that are paired on the main facade. The central section is topped by a boxy paneled attic with a few carved moldings and vegetable accents. The cornice wraps around the entire house, but the facade treatment is not repeated on the sides which have a simpler design. HABS documented the house and provided the interior views and plans seen below.
Sunday, February 7, 2016
|'Oaklands' Murfreesboro, TN. 1860 Photos: Brent Moore|
Although I put a date on this house of 1860, I might have equally put 1820 or 1830. Like many plantation houses, Oaklands started life as a small two room house that accrued additions, ells, and wings. When Dr. Maney built his original home, he was in effect a settler, but after his wife died and he retired, his son Lewis took control of the home. Lewis added the Italianate facade in 1860, designed by local architect Richard Sanders, turning the old settler's home into a fashionable mansion, even if the Italianate design was more of a false front hiding a complex past. After the Civil War, the Maneys struggled to hold on with dwindling finances and eventually sold Oaklands to a string of owners. It was abandoned, vandalized, and threatened in the 1950s, but was bought and restored; it is now a house museum.
The house is a five bay plan with a strongly projecting central pavilion, The windows are rectangular with simple flat hood moldings crowned with elaborate rococo flowers and vines. The central window is arched with thick Venetian tracery, so common in other Italianates in Tennessee. The simple cornice has s scroll brackets. What really distinguishes this house is its impressive porch which spans beyond the entire front of the facade. It's a simple Italianate porch with an interesting rhythm of square pillars and arched sections with brackets. As part of the illusory nature of the redesign, from a purely frontal view it looks like it wraps around the entire house, but when one looks from a side view, the porch's dimensions seem rather ridiculous and the design's illusion becomes clear, especially against the earlier 19th century side facades. HABS documented the building in the 1930s before it was vandalized, including several interior views, below.
Friday, February 5, 2016
|Joseph Palmer House, Murfreesboro, TN. 1869 Photo: Brent Moore|
Wednesday, February 3, 2016
|The Stephen Farnam House, Oneida, NY. 1862 Photo: Doug Kerr|
It's the dominance of the shouldered, pointed arch that makes this house interesting, as if the builder fetishized that shape and fit in in to give the composition unity. A shouldered arch is an arch where the curve of the arch is interrupted by a vertical projection; in this case that projection is pointed. It's a fascinating shape since it combines curves and straight angles together. The porch has rectangular openings but features the shouldered arch running inside these openings with jigsaw cut-outs, similar to the porch down the street at the Shoecraft house. The same shape unifies the triple arched windows at the top of the tower and is repeated again in the base of the tower cornice. Commendable in this house as well is the retention of both the concave roofs on the porch, bay windows, and tower along with the delicate crestings. Hopefully the house will have a nice long life.
Monday, February 1, 2016
|The Walrath House, Oneida, NY. 1866 Photo: Doug Kerr|