East Gorham Street runs along the crest of a glacial ridge overlooking Lake Mendota. The area’s views attracted some of the city’s wealthiest citizens, some of whose homes were later demolished for the expansion of James Madison Park. One of the oldest houses on the street is that of William and Jane Leitch (1858; 752 E. Gorham), now the Livingston Inn, among Wisconsin’s handsomest Gothic Revival houses. Built of Madison sandstone, the house has multiple steeply pitched gables, bargeboard trim decorated with quatrefoils, and iron finials at the apex of each gable. A large belvedere with Tudor arches and gables surmounts the steeply pitched slate roof, and wooden porches, also with Tudor arches, and jigsaw-cut brackets shelter the facade. English-born William Leitch served three terms as Madison’s mayor.
Claude and Starck designed Lincoln School (1915; 720 E. Gorham; now Lincoln School Apartments). This beautifully detailed and imposing former school is one of the firm’s best designs. It rises in stately geometric dignity, thanks to tall window banks between brick pilasters that suggest a classical colonnade and balance the horizontal emphasis of ribbon windows, a continuous stone sill, and a terra-cotta band above the pilasters. Sullivanesque ornaments, including leafy terra-cotta capitals and foliated medallions and tympana above the main entrances, create lively interest. The tympana, with an eagle perched above a profusion of scrolls and leaves, replicate the ornament designed by George G. Elmslie for Louis Sullivan’s Merchants National Bank of 1911 in Winona, Minnesota. Claude may have obtained the molds for the ornament from Elmslie, his friend and former colleague at the Chicago office of Adler and Sullivan.
Claude and Starck also designed the William and Dora Collins House (1912; 704 E. Gorham), now the Mendota Lake House B&B. It exemplifies the architects’ penchant for fusing Prairie Style lines with Tudor Revival details. The dark red bricks with deeply raked horizontal joints, the strong shadow cast by the eaves of the gabled roof, and the stone stringcourses emphasize horizontality, while a bracketed balcony and the large gabled dormer with false half-timbering suggest Tudor Revival.