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Within the western Cass County community of Griswold are two pairs of interesting houses, across the street from one other. At 407 Fifth Street is the two-story Gude house ( MW050). Next door, at 411 Fifth Street, is the stucco-sheathed two-story Olson house. Each house has a red tile roof, but there the similarity ends. The Olson house has the appearance of a Craftsman dwelling with Prairie-style features, the most pronounced of these the living porch. It is covered by a low hipped roof and is supported by a pair of thick, square, stuccoed piers. The roof of the house is gabled, but with the ends hipped, and the same treatment was used for the garage. This house is also given a date in the early 1930s, but it has all of the characteristics of a house built between 1910 and 1919.

Across the street are two Craftsman California bungalows, the Busse ( MW051) and Rabe houses. The Rabe bungalow at 406 Fifth possesses a wonderful stucco screen wall that spreads out onto the landscape and then projects upward in a series of tiers to support a single-gabled roof of thin profile. The plans of the two houses are mirror images, and both were built in 1920.

Turning to Griswold's downtown, at the northeast corner of Main and Montgomery streets one encounters the Whitney Bank (1880). Here is another of those “Victorian” buildings that command attention. The two-story red brick building with stone trim, though not large, is richly detailed in stone and metal. The metal entablature/cornice is particularly rich, with finials projecting above and even a suggestion of crenellation on the parapet of the corner, which is at a 45-degree angle to the main block. The lower part of the entablature/cornice has a wealth of brackets and other details. Below, the crenellation is repeated in the entrance to the bank, as well as in the entrance to the second-floor offices. The stone lintels of the windows form segmental curves, and project forward as hoods.

Writing Credits

David Gebhard and Gerald Mansheim

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