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Runnels House

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1882. 3 miles east of Emerson on route H34; south on route M37 1 mile to the crossroads of Hawthorne; take the gravel road west .3 miles; the house is on the south side of the road
  • Runnels House (David Gebhard and Gerald Mansheim)

Iowa is dotted here and there with deserted dwellings and farm buildings, but few if any can equal the romantic and melancholy atmosphere presented by the B. F. Runnels house. This large, elegant French Second Empire house stands alone on a barren knoll. Its wood porches are gone, which accentuates the vertical thrust of the building. The house has ashlar block stone walls of a light color; a darker, more finely cut stone was used for quoining and for banding at the basement level, mid-way up the walls, and below the entablature cornice. Many of the lintels over the windows and doors form 45-degree angles at the corners, while others are gabled or formed of segmental curves. The house is now deserted and in partial ruin.

Writing Credits

David Gebhard and Gerald Mansheim


What's Nearby


David Gebhard and Gerald Mansheim, "Runnels House", [Emerson, 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, 471-472.

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