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Irons Homestead

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Probably 1840s; ell probably 20th century. 688 Snake Hill (west of Sandy Brook Rd.)

Among all the common Greek Revival house types, the one which is exemplified in this fine example may be the most distinctive to the style. Others, with gable ends to the road to invoke a classical format and a two-columned porch shelter over the entrance, are more pervasive, but hardly as original. Still others with various allusions to full-fledged Greek temple elevations may be more sensational, but are also more derivative and less pervasive. In this type, Greek Revival allusion is adapted to the one-and-one-half-story clapboard house. Broad corner piers seem to support the equally broad entablature under the eaves, making maximum use of wide boards to recall heavy stone Doric precedents. Projecting from the plane of the wall, they also forcefully enframe it. Echoing piers and entablature frame the entrance, with the door deeply inset into its box of space. Taken together, the projecting elements recall in an abstract way a stocky colonnade set in front of the plane of the wall, which thereby appears to be reduced to clapboarded panels for pairs of windows. This facade clearly indicates the tendency of developed Greek Revival design toward a more sculptural and (even when merely simulated) structural approach to the architectural components of the elevation, as compared to the earlier colonial and Federal emphasis on openings and ornament as pattern positioned on a plane. This house is enhanced by barns and outbuildings which give a sense of the long-time farm, even though they now serve conferees.

Writing Credits

William H. Jordy et al.

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