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Ring Lardner House (Rodney C. Paine House)
On a bluff wooded with maple and cedar trees overlooking the St. Joseph River is this picturesque, one-and-a-half-story Gothic Revival house. Built for Rodney C. Paine, an early Niles banker, the house echoes Andrew Jackson Downing's advocacy of the picturesque possibilities achieved through the use of sunlight and shadows and in the irregularity of massing in the Gothic Revival style, expressed in Cottage Residences (1847) and in The Architecture of Country Houses (1858). This effect is especially evident in the scrollwork bargeboards with fleur-de-lis accents at the gable peaks, in the clustered chimneys, and in the wall dormers. Upon Paine's death, Henry and Lena Phillips Lardner bought the house. It was the birthplace of humorist and author Ring Lardner in 1885 and the source of many boyhood memories that appeared in his writings. Lardner (d. 1933) was probably best known as a sportswriter in the 1920s for the Chicago Examiner.
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