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William Jacob Heller House

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1900, William Jacob Heller. 501 Mixsell St.

College Hill's grandest houses belonged to the industrialists of America's (and Easton's) Gilded Age. Heller owned and operated a flag factory and was responsible for putting a flag in every schoolhouse in America. At his death in 1920, his Easton business manufactured half of all flags sold in the nation. His house stands on two acres overlooking the Delaware River; legend has it that the site was an Indian lookout. Heller designed the house himself, a graceful Spanish Colonial three-story building. The tiny columns on the upper level are later timid (and unnecessary) reinforcements to the daring cantilevers. Walls are concrete stucco—the first in the area—over 3 × 6–inch studs and sheet metal lath. The house centers on a grand sweeping stair like those Heller admired on oceangoing liners.

Several blocks farther, at 800 Mixsell Street, is the prominently sited Arnold Gerstell House (1899), a characteristically animated work by William Michler, who built more than three dozen houses in the neighborhood. Gerstell was the manager of the Alpha Cement Company, under whose direction its yearly output increased from three hundred thousand barrels to seven million.

Writing Credits

Author: 
George E. Thomas
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Citation

George E. Thomas, "William Jacob Heller House", [Easton, Pennsylvania], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—, http://sah-archipedia.org/buildings/PA-02-NO14.

Print Source

Cover: Buildings of PA vol 2

Buildings of Pennsylvania: Philadelphia and Eastern Pennsylvania, George E. Thomas, with Patricia Likos Ricci, Richard J. Webster, Lawrence M. Newman, Robert Janosov, and Bruce Thomas. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2012, 268-269.

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