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H. M. S. Byers House (Saint Helen House)

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Saint Helen House
1894. 2300 Terrace Rd.
  • H. M. S. Byers House (Saint Helen House)

The hilly terrain to the south, west, and east of Terrace Hill is now a National Register Historic District (Terrace Road and Owl's Head Historic Districts). Within this district on a precipitous slope overlooking the Raccoon River and Water Works Park is one of the city's most original houses, Saint Helen House, built by the former Consular General of Switzerland and Italy, H. M. S. Byers. The main section of the house (there have been later additions) has an architectural character one associates with late nineteenth-century French summer houses. The flat roof of this two-story house is hidden behind a parapet. At the northeast corner, slightly projecting from the adjacent brick walls of the second story, is an open square tower with a steeply pitched hipped roof. The design of the street entrance is unusual: to the right of the door the wall steps in, like an abstracted buttress; brickwork projections define the pointed arches above the door and continue as horizontal banding to the left side, terminating in a T-shaped stone plaque bearing the name of the house in lettering that has an Art Nouveau flavor.

Writing Credits

Author: 
David Gebhard and Gerald Mansheim

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