Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Cincinnati Architectural Review: Elam St, Camp Washington

If you drive around Cincinnati you probably know where Hopple and Colerain is Just a block from that intersection is Elam Street. Elam St is a quiet, almost totally intact Victorian era street that gives one a look back at the Middle class Architecture of Cincinnati.
Just a block long , this hidden treasure is filled with a row of wonderfully intact homes, the vast majority of which are occupied or under restoration. the 'wrecking ball" of progress that no doubt engulfed other parts of the neighborhood to build commercial buildings missed this quiet street in Camp Washington.

Not Grand Mansions but rather highly detailed Brick Brownstones with a luxury of architectural detailing. Surrounded by mostly commercial Architecture and warehouses this street is an unexpected architectural surprise than is worth a look for any lover of Victorian architecture. The Front dormer on this Second Empire illustrates the high level of detailing present on the front facades of this row of homes. Note the delicate incised scrollwork of the top panel of the window pediment.

This home at the corner of Colerain and Elam has a late Victorian Porch that is highly detailed. Note the elaborate detailing of the porch. This home would benefit from a "painted Lady' color scheme to bring out the rich detailing at the top of the front gable. Also note the "flaring" of the brick work as it makes the transition from the second floor into the gable.
The Porch itself is a testament to the exuberance of the Victorian era. The turnings, spindles and spandrels are the finest Ive seen and amazing that they have survived all these years intact. The home also has impressive brick work on the many chimneys.
All the flourishes and details work remarkable well on this house and are finely balanced and chosen to create a design that comes together in a very pleasing manner.
This frame second empire has an elaborate Tin entablature at the top. Tin work cornices are rare on residential structures any where EXCEPT Cincinnati which had several high end tinsmiths operating in the 1870-1890's who created these elaborate confections to go on even working class structures. Although taken for granted and "everyday" here, you simply do not find this in most parts of the country as this detailing is normally done in wood. The tinsmiths here had catalogs of stock designs and one could choose their corbel style and panels and mix and match these elements to create a one of a kind look. Note the tin "peacock fans" between the brackets. All this home needs is a few more colors and it could really pop. Like most homes of this era it has a very nice front porch with brackets and turnings though not as elaborate as some. The home also retains its original patterned slate roof! removal of the vinyl siding might reveal pattered and banded shingling underneath.
After all these years Stained Glass abounds in Cincinnati, how this window survived 130 yrs as kids no doubt played baseball is simply amazing. Camp Washington has several blocks of interesting intact architecture and is well worth a Saturday or Sunday afternoon to explore. In a city like Brooklyn NY, Charleston SC or Savannah these fine homes would be well over a million dollars each. Cincinnati is truly an architecture lovers "bargain" by comparison as any of these
homes would be reasonably priced and just minutes from downtown.

1 comment:

Ross said...
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