Tuesday, June 7, 2011

MSD : Fairmount Endangered: "A trio of Italianates"

Todays continuation of the documentation of historic structures that MSD proposed to demolish as part of the Lick Run 'daylighting' project is this "Trio of Italianates".

3 nearly identical houses that illustrate how even minor changes can change how we view them as historic.
This cluster of buildings is typical of structures in the eastern end of the district. They are solidly constructed 1865-1875 era. These would typically have been what we would call today "middle class" housing. The same detail can just as easily be found on larger townhouse but these are of  more modest size.. Today given the 'downsizing' many families are considering, these houses are even more desirable though hardly 'small ' at about 2400 square feet each.

They are also a good example of "updating" that often occurred  over time. Other than the fact the one on the left is frame, they are essentially identical, sharing the same basic plan the frame one being slightly simpler and with a slightly higher roof line to accommodate more attic space.. This was not uncommon to see rows of town homes of the same basic plan often built by the same 'builder". What we can learn here is how to spot basic forms and determine the kind of changes that occurred.

Put an 1870 door  on and restore back to 2 over 2 windows and his house will be 'period perfect'
The Italianate on the right is essentially 'as built' no porches, it is in its 'pure form architecturally' as designed. It looks much like it would have in 1870.

The middle house shows updating by the addition of a porch. Porches came in to vogue later in the Victorian period and it was common to see a porch added to a brick townhouse like this. People wanted to have a place to sit in the fresh air and often entertain and converse with neighbors or passers by..

The house on the right shows the next logical progression that occurred. It too once had a porch like the center one but at some point the house was resided and the owner chose to update the house again by creating a  heaver, more 'craftsman massed' porch by boxing in brackets and detail . Often you can strip these away and find the original porch underneath.

Unless you saw them clustered like this you might assume the house on the left is just 'ugly' but by looking at these as three 'like' built homes you can see that by merely removing a porch you could take that house back to its 1870's roots or by restoring a porch like the middle its 1890's remodel. Someone , not properly trained , might dismiss the left house as on historic eligible due to its 'remodels, however these are easily reversed. As a cluster of homes built at the same time in with Italianate details they are definitely contributing structures as part of a larger historic district.

All of the houses have fine details like these brackets
But while this is a great 'intellectual exercise' the point to remember is all of these could will likely wind up in a landfill unless we can persuade MSD to daylight east of grand. There is a meeting on Tuesday the 14th and the Orion academy at 7:30 and MSD will be their with their proposals for the "glorified drainage ditch"

The loss of Fairmount business.residential district will e the largest loss of architecture sine the freeway was built.


Neil said...

One concern, just based upon what happened in Coryville, have you even attempted to get preservationists on the community council? The city government has a nasty habit of listening to the Comm councils even if what they say is not good for the rest of the community. (see what happened in Coryville) How do you plan on getting around this?

Paul Wilham said...

We could have "taken over' the S Fairmount CC a couple of years ago but we would be taking on their "baggage' and reputation. Knox Hill is preservation dedicated and we have formally notified Both MSD and OHPO that we expect to be a consulting party on the Section 106 reviews. As a local neighborhood we MUST be included in this process. Federal monies here, so the process is more transparent since it is not a private developer here but Fed $$$ are being used.

For all intents and purposes most people look to us (KHNA) than SFCC for community leadership and we already hae people wanting Knox Hill to expand its boundaries.

Neil said...

I'm still concerned about your group getting burned due to the poor way that local representation is handled in Cincinnati. (Ideally Cincy should have an aldermatic system where aldermen represent wards and have say over local affairs with the advice of community councils).

In Cincy there is a big disconnect between the city and the neighborhoods that ultimately hurts both.