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Clarinda, the seat of Page County, was established in the early 1850s in the valley of the West Nodaway River. In the center of the public square, defined by Main, Washington, Fifteenth, and Sixteenth streets, is the Page County Courthouse (1885–1887). The Des Moines firm of Foster and Liebbe devised a design in brick with limestone trim which partakes of both the earlier Italianate and the Romanesque Revival. Some of the tall, narrow windows have V-shaped headers, others are round arched. A low, square platform projects from the center of the roof—seemingly waiting for a tower. Within, the several halls center on a small rotunda.

The single-story Lincoln School (1921), at the southwest corner of Nineteenth Street North and Lincoln Street, was designed in the classical yet domestic vein. The entrance consists of a hooped roof supported by a projecting set of Tuscan columns. The segmental curve of the entrance roof is repeated by a pair of louvered roof vents. The windows on each side of the entrance have been treated as a horizontal band, glass below and wood panels above.

Two houses on Lincoln Street should be noted. At 321 is the Hepburn house (1867), home of the longtime congressman William Peters Hepburn. His house is a simple, somewhat Italianate dwelling with a corner tower boasting a French mansard roof with small curved roof dormers. Very different is a stucco and tile roofed Spanish Colonial Revival bungalow at 323 Lincoln. The bungalow has been lifted above the ground on a raised basement, with a garage tucked into one side.

On the northern outskirts of town, on the west side of Twelfth Street, is the Iowa Hospital for the Insane (now the State Mental Health Institute), a large building on a raised basement (1884–1899). For this structure the architects Foster and Liebbe updated somewhat the earlier Eastlake mode. Horizontal stone banding connects the sides and lintels of the windows, and this banding contrasts dramatically with the general verticality of the three-and-a-half-story design. The more than five-story central tower with its gabled clock dormer conjures up the nearly perfect image of a “Victorian” building.

Writing Credits

David Gebhard and Gerald Mansheim

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