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new here...can anyone identify style of/put a date on my old house?

hi all,
I have a lot of questions about my house, and so far, the historic board downtown has been minimally helpful.
my first question is, what year was my house really built? or designed? or finished? I'm not really sure what the question is, actually. the real estate listing said 1880, the deed says 1860, and another document found by the intern at the historic office said 1905. As much as I want it to be older, I'd believe 1905, simply because of some of the interior details.
I'm thinking the land was purchased in 1860, it was planned or the foundation was dug in 1880, and the finishing touches went on closer to 1900. I believe the back part was added, maybe in 1905?
also, I have been calling it a "queen anne" but I'm not positive it really is...
is it "craftsman"? (doors are all 5-panel, knobs and hinges are stamped patterened metal)
Let's see what any of you guys come up with! :)

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It looks like a transition house to me. I once worked on a house that looks much like yours. It was built in 1904. It was built by a carpenter who had been building Victorian houses for years. He was trying a new style but sometimes changes come hard and he kept adding Victorian touches everywhere he could. Things like a beamed ceiling with intricate brackets holding them up. Large craftsman fireplace with little bric-a-brac shelves above it. As far as a house being there before 1900. We have to remember back then a lot more houses burned down than today. The all had fire for heat and cooking not to mention the fire protection consisting of a line of men with 1 pump and a several buckets. There could have been a house there before, it burned down and was replaced in 1905. In our area most of the original kitchens are a one story on the back of the house. They were built that way because if there was a kitchen fire only the kitchen would be lost rather than the whole house.
I'd agree with Lair, as well as with your estimate on the dates...more than likely the deed refers to the date the property was purchased, not necessarily a house built on the property.

Obvious victorian tendencies on the exterior of the home (as well as the stamped ornate metal knobs if I'm picturing them correctly), but the built-in screams craftsman to me. It may also be that the home was added on to in sections, and each section would showcase the popular design elements of that era. There are a lot of homes in my area that pre-date the craftsman era, but yet have major craftsman tendencies on the exterior. Turns out that there was acraftsman who came to town in the early 1900s for one remodel job, and ended up with quite a bit of business through the historic district updating all of the "outdated, ugly" homes...which led to the craftsman explosion throughout much of the district.
Well said John, sometimes it is hard to tell which came first when it comes to design. Myself, when restoring a home, have found myself mixing 2 designs. There was never a fine line saying when design changes. I think a lot of carpenters mix a little new with a little old and familiar.
thanks for your input...I like the bit about kitchens being one story for the risk of fire!
there is a back stairway leading up to what I imagine may have been the "help"s bedroom (really small), and the bathroom.

altho the doorknobs are patterened metal, the patterns look arts&craftsy to me (rather than glass or whatever would be "truly" victorian) -- kind of squared off repeating patterns -- I'll try to get some photos up here.
Ok -

Im going to slightly disagree with some of my fellow posters here. I see this as a folk victorian built around 1880-1890 and not 1905. For several reasons: The dentils do evoke a semi colonial-revivalist motif, but this was popular anywhere from 1880-1910ish. However, there are Queen Anne and Eastlake touches on the porch. The small circles and what looks like the trefoil or whatnot. The Eastlake components were very popular in the 1880s and was waning by 1900. Now, this is not a slam dunk for 1880 --- it is true that 1905 is still plausible, but less so in my views since the style was declining. We could quibble over this point, but more important to my view is your description of the doorknobs. When you say "repeating geometric patterns on metal knobs" its sounds an awful lot like Eastlake and/or Aesthetic Movement style hardware, which was enormously popular around 1880. If Im right, It would be a an almost byzantine set of little geometric designs mixed with ocassional abstract flower motifs (sometimes teh flowerds are absent). Is that what you have? You might also see these byzantine patterns of the door hinges as well. It would be highly unlikely that "outdated hardware" would be installed in 1905.



I dont see much of the interior of your house yet -- but there is absolutely nothing that says "Arts and Crafts" style in my view. Arts and Crafts emphasized "hand made" - or the pretense of "handmade" - and I would not expect to find intricately patterned stamped metal which often indicates a machine-made aesthetic. For arts and crafts one might expact simpler forms for the hardware and something that either was handmade, or was made to "look handmade." If you have stamped metal doorknobs and hinges Im betting they are chock full of intricate patterns and are more Aesthetic Movement style than Arts and Crasft. You have a built in in that picture but built-ins were certainly made before arts and crafts, the latter just popularized them more. .
I also need to add some more. I just saw your dining room and you have bullseye corner blocks (rosettes) at teh miers in your door casing and these are most decidedly NOT Arts and Crafts and ar emost definitely victorian. This also points to pre-1900 as bullseyes were certainly waning in popularity by 1905. I think I see some of your hardware in one picture. It looks like sinuous natural forms stamped in the metal. This is also Aesthetic Movement which was a precursor to Arts and Crafts but it was not Arts and Crafts. Again this puts it pre-1900 in my eyes and in the 1880-1890 time frame.
I can't quite make out the pattern on the hinges on my little laptop screen, but I agree with PStewart that those hinges are not 20th century hinges. I have steeple finials on my hinges like yours in our 1895 house, and I have noticed that few newer houses had that style. By 1895 hinges were already moving to a more restrained ball finial and also away from cast iron (which yours are). If you take close ups of hardware patterns on the hinges, doorknobs, mail slots, etc. and post it to the antique hardware group, that might really help you. I find that the hardware is much better than lighting for dating a house, because lights are easy to change, but almost no one swaps out door hinges.
I agree with PStewart - the house is Queen Anne with Eastlake details. Eastlake and the Aesthetic Movement were quite the thing in the late 1880's, then died. The dentils are a Colonial Revival detail, and Queen Anne does tend to be a mix of lots of great stuff that someone liked.
Your house with its cross gables, its tower, its little roofs on the windows and the circles on the porch is Victorian, not Arts and Crafts. The tower roof flares out at the bottom, the gables have little roofs along the bottom that emphasize the roof, not the height of the wings: all Victorian playing. Arts and Crafts really didn't like all that stuff.
I think your siding is later, and covers up more details: corner boards, maybe a belt course there between the first and second floors, fancy window casings. Even the tower seems to have 2 levels.
I was unable to find the picture showing your dining door casing, but the china cabinet looks to me like an Eastlake cabinet that someone didn't like, but couldn't remove, so they painted it white.

I checked my books on Sears and other kit homes, and think probably this isn't one. But the carpenter who built this may have used the same plan some place else in the Merrimack Valley. Don't leave home without your camera!

Post some more pictures, please, especially of the inside, mouldings and staircases are often not updated, especially back stairs, and can tell a lot.
I am having the same trouble with my house. The listing said my house was built in 1917, but after asking around on here, I was quite sure that it was built long before that. Try looking up some Sanborn fire insurance maps. I was able to do this and I found my house there in 1905, but not in 1895. I also knew of the original owners to my house, and using ancestry.com looked up some of the census stuff. They were living in my house during 1900. So I was able to confirm that my house was for sure not built in 1917.

Do you have any more interior pictures? I know that a lot of the time these old houses were added on to like the other posters were saying. I am working on a house right now that was built around the 1860s, added on to around 1890, then more stuff added on between 1905-1915. As people lived in these houses, just like today, hardware could have been changed, things moved around, walls removed/added/ etc. I hope that you can find out more history behind your house. Maybe the libary in your town might have some pictures of it? I wouldn't say that your house is a craftsman house at all.
Lovely house, You might try looking at the tax records.The tax rate would change once the lot was improved. I used that for mine since there were no lot/ street numbers or they had change and didn't match the modern street numbers . So it was hard to know which house was which from some of the other records. I figured out that a builder had four lots that he seem to develope one a year for four years. I know from talking to people and the tax records he lived next door in the first house ca 1909. which I'm guessing makes mine ca 1910. I got his name from the tax records. I also think yours is a tranistion/ vernacular house. Often builders made their own twist to new styles holding on to things they liked or were popular in the area. I think it makes the houses more fun and interesting
Hmmm....that "tower" at the front of the house (are those imbricated shingles on it?) says Victorian to me. The porch trim and window brackets also appear to be Victorian, because of those round and cross cutouts. I wouldn't date a house on porch trim alone, though, since it was sometimes updated. (A Victorian porch on an antebellum house, for example.) I'd like to see photos of the hardware in your house, as that sounds Eastlake to me. Come winter, if you like research, you could trace the deed history of your house. Finding out who owned it in past years and asking about those people at the local historical society or looking them up in old newspapers could give you a lot of information about your house, including when it was built. That's how I narrowed down the date of construction of my house to sometime between 1887 and 1890 and discovered who built it.
Jayne - Is "imbricated shingles" the term for individually installed asphalt shingles, as opposed to modern ones that go up in whole sheets of shingles? The tower looks to have those single asphalt shingles on it that give a woven appearance, but I didn't know that name for them.

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