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James S. Schramm House

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1938–1939, Holabird and Root (Helmuth Bartsch). 2690 S. Main St.
  • James S. Schramm House (David Gebhard and Gerald Mansheim)

The design of the Schramm house seems poised somewhere between the popular Streamline Moderne of the time and the emerging mode of European high-art Modernism. The walls of this flat-roofed house are of whitewashed brick that from a distance reads as concrete. The building is composed of one- and two-story volumetric boxes that have been carefully integrated with one another. There are curved forms in the wall of the staircase and in the studio to the rear, and these appropriately use glass brick. A gently curving driveway leads down to the motor court that forms the entrance to the house. To the rear, overlooking the river, is a screened porch and accompanying terrace. Like the 1941 Van Bennett house ( ME045), the Schramm house is one of Iowa's important pre-1941 Modern/Moderne houses. To the south of the Schramm house, hidden within a small wooded ravine, is another Schramm house, designed in 1964 by George Fred Keck and William Keck of Chicago. The second Schramm house is a characteristic, well-carried-out version of the 1950s modern home, with delicately detailed volumes, flat roofs, and extensive walls of glass. Like the earlier house, this one takes full advantage of its location overlooking the Mississippi River. In addition to the Paul Kuenzle house ( ME052), Keck and Keck designed three other modernist houses in Iowa during the post-World War II years: the G. P. Schroeder house (1948) in Independence, and the Donald Bruser house ( ME150) and the Kirk Fowler house (1962), both in Bettendorf.

Writing Credits

David Gebhard and Gerald Mansheim


What's Nearby


David Gebhard and Gerald Mansheim, "James S. Schramm House", [Burlington, Iowa], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

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