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American News Women's Club (J. H. Cranford House)

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J. H. Cranford House
1906, Alfred B. Mullett and Company. 1607 22nd St. NW

Thomas A. and Frederick W. Mullett practiced architecture in Washington until the 1930s, operating under the name of the firm that they had founded with their illustrious father, Alfred B. Mullett, shortly before his suicide in 1890. Not enough data have been compiled on the work of the Mullett sons to determine whether the Cranford house is typical of their work, although it is a compositional formula and stylistic tradition employed by many Washington architects at the beginning of this century. Three generous stories with an equally tall attic composed of large dormer windows provide four distinct horizontal zones. They are countered by three widely spaced bays with windows treated distinctly on each level. The basic architectural vocabulary of Flemish-bond brick walls, flat arches, and modillion cornice was rooted in the Georgian style, but, when fused with Renaissance elements, resulted in the Edwardian style in England and was accepted in America as a variation on the Georgian Revival.

At the Cranford house the Mullett firm designed an elegantly detailed entrance story in lightly rusticated limestone where the topmost band has three subtle undulations that provide balcony ledges to support the wroughtiron rails of the tall French doors on the second story. Limestone for the keystones and irregular arch abutments on the two brick stories provide striking accent notes, a popular Colonial Revival variation on the monochromatic flat arch of the American Georgian style.

Writing Credits

Author: 
Pamela Scott and Antoinette J. Lee

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