Wednesday, May 11, 2005

An Architectural Arms Race

I know that I live in a small town that is pretty isolated. I’m sure there are cities that have Historic Districts that are larger than my entire city. Still, for what it is, there is some pretty amazing architecture here. It seems like there was an Architectural Arms Race going on in this town from about 1885 to about 1930. The town literally did not exist in 1855, but just 30 years later they were building houses that are still considered today to be some of the finest examples of Victorian homes in the Country. The next town over did such a fine job the main street has been recreated in Logo form in the Lego Land amusement park in So. Ca.

It seems like everyone was trying to out do everyone else. And it didn’t stop with the Victorians. There is block after block of fine Craftsman homes, bungalows, and bungaloids in every imaginable shape and size. Unfortunately some time shortly after WWII the SALT & SALT2 treaties were signed – I’m not talking about Strategic Arms Limitation Treaties but the Stunning Architecture Limitation Treaties – and the arms race ended. After that it was little house on the hillside. Little houses made of ticky-tack.

We’ve lost a lot over the years but a lot still remains. I bought my current home (1895 Vic) about 3 years ago. A few months later I bought my first digital camera. Some family came to visits that summer so I played tourist in my own town and snapped a few pictures. I was in full Victorian mode at the time because of my new house so there aren’t any Craftsman or Bungalows here, sorry. I am a big fan of the genre, and I almost bought a 1922 Craftsman myself once.

I posted all these pictures on my site over a year ago and seeing those great homes yesterday on another blog (I forget which one) made me think about them. Some of the pictures were taken early in the morning while I was walking to work so the lighting is bad. This is a small sampling of the fine homes in this city. All of these homes are with-in about a 10 minute walk of my house. Another interesting note about them is that they are all built entirely out of redwood. They’re fun to look at. Sometimes I have trouble wrapping my late 20th Century brain around the ideas behind late 19th Century architecture. What the heck were they thinking?

Click the thumbnails to see larger pictures


Jocelyn said...

some of those are more ornate than most that I have seen. Chicago Architecture is much more austere, but beautiful in a different way- lots of brick here. What a great walk to work you have!

Anonymous said...

Absolutely amazing Victorian homes, yours included. I am originally from Ann Arbor, Michigan. It seems every city has at least one jaw-dropping example of this kind of architecture and luckily, it is well-preserved and usually occupied by a company that can afford the upkeep. But to see so many amazing beauties in a small town seems unreal. Thank you for sharing your experience. It's been a pleasure