McGuire, of Anniston, Alabama, constructed this house just after the Capitol View Addition neighborhood was platted. This neighborhood west of downtown grew from a subdivision developed primarily for industry. The St. Louis, Iron Mountain and Southern Railroad had acquired a portion of the property for development, and the district became a favored residential enclave for railroad employees. McGuire’s house, basically Colonial Revival in style, is unusual in that it is constructed entirely of hand-pressed ornamental concrete blocks, which he manufactured in his front yard. Hand-making concrete blocks was a brief fad in the early twentieth century. McGuire was more ambitious than many other self-home-builders, for he also cut the slate shingles for the hipped roof. To provide additional water for the house, he designed a system to capture rain runoff from the roof and channel it through a sand and charcoal filter system to a holding tank situated on the back porch. In addition, McGuire used his expertise as a master machinist with the railroad to manufacture fluted Ionic columns of metal for the front porch and for the side porch, and for those he added Doric capitals handmade of clay. Also metal are the square posts of the back porch and the sheathing on the kitchen walls for fire prevention. Pressed metal ceilings are on the porches and throughout the house. McGuire also created two brass light fixtures for his home in the front foyer and the dining room.
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Thomas R. McGuire House
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