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Gray, formerly known as Biesecker in honor of original landholder Frederick Biesecker, was laid out in 1913. Developed by the Consolidation Coal Company, the town is filled with small, two-story houses built from three or four patterns, each surrounded by an expanse of lawn. When the company decided to paint all the houses a uniform gray, the village's name was changed to its current appellation. The rhythm of the nearly identical houses of Gray's six long blocks is interrupted by three different buildings. The John Biesecker house (c. 1860; 538 Beam Church Road) was built for a descendant of the original landholder. It is a frame version of the brick houses that many prosperous farmers in the area built between 1850 and 1870. Typical of the type, the Biesecker house has a central hall and integral double-decker porch, chimneys at the interior gable ends, and transoms and sidelights at the main entrance. The second exception is a long, single-story house with deep eaves that dates from the 1950s in the northwest quadrant of the village. Finally, a one-story, nine-bay frame Community Building (c. 1900; 474 Beam Church Road) has a hipped roof and a small pedimented porch at the entrance. It was apparently built as the local schoolhouse.

Writing Credits

Lu Donnelly et al.

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