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Hood Mortuary (Amy House)

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Amy House
1888, Little and O'Connor. 1261 3rd Ave. (southwest corner of E. 13th St.)
  • (Carol M. Highsmith Archive, Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division)

Ernest Amy, manager of the San Juan Smelter, hired New York architects and spent $50,000 to build Durango's finest home, hoping to lure his wife west from New York City. Durango newspapers compared it to “a New York City Mansion” and cited it as proof “that Durango is no mushroom city.” Durango's first all-electric house, it had 25-watt light fixtures in every room. Notwithstanding heroic architectural efforts, Amy's wife did not like Durango and persuaded him to go back to New York after the crash of 1893.

A sophisticated specimen that would be at home in Newport or Providence, the house displays the polygonal dormers, bands of multipane windows, round arches, rough stone, rustic shingles, and tall, ornate chimneys characteristic of the Shingle Style. It is dominated by a round, three-story corner tower with a nipple finial. This bulging, oversized tower contains a first-floor parlor and a second-story library, now the best-preserved room in the house. Contrasting with the shingle skin of the tower and second story is the local tawny sandstone, used in rough ashlar blocks, for the first story. Inside, cherry wood paneling prevails on the first floor with pine for the third-story servant's quarters. Slight interior modifications in what is now an elegant funeral home include a chapel and casket display rooms.

Writing Credits

Thomas J. Noel

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