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O. J. Hager House

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c. 1910, Spencer and Powers. 402 Allamakee Ave.
  • O. J. Hager House (David Gebhard and Gerald Mansheim)

Robert J. Spencer, Jr., the designer of this house, was one of the most successful of Chicago's Prairie school architects. In 1914 William Gray Purcell wrote of the work of Spencer and Powers that “anything in the way of a building to which you can really attach a ‘style’ is really not architecture.” 36 The designs of Spencer and Powers do not really fit comfortably within the Prairie school, though we associate them with it. The Hager house goes far and wide in its references, to Vienna, to England, and to Louis H. Sullivan, Frank Lloyd Wright, and Chicago, but it ends up being recognizable (as Purcell pointed out) only as a product of Spencer's own sensibility. In the single brick-clad two-story volume, Spencer plays with symmetry and symmetrical fenestration, and with projecting bays. The recessed entrance porch has a pair of Sullivanesque columns, and the casement windows have a delicate design based upon the tulip. The tulip motif for the leaded and colored glass windows was suggested to the architect by Mrs. Hager.


William Gray Purcell, “Spencer and Powers, Architects,” Western Architect 20:4 (April 1919):36.

Writing Credits

David Gebhard and Gerald Mansheim


What's Nearby


David Gebhard and Gerald Mansheim, "O. J. Hager House", [Waukon, Iowa], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

Print Source

Buildings of Iowa, David Gebhard and Gerald Mansheim. New York: Oxford University Press, 1993, 150-150.

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