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South Park

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By the turn of the twentieth century, Morgantown had outgrown the constricted original townsite and was ready to expand. Decker's Creek and its deep ravine had halted extension to the south, but soon after the South Park Bridge (now the Pleasant Street Bridge) was constructed c. 1901 southeast of the Cox House (preceding entry), the hilly, wooded tract was covered with houses. South Park's developers, envisioning an exclusive neighborhood, were careful to connect only a few of their streets with existing city streets, but topography also played a role in the layout. For a neighborhood of its pretensions, South Park was divided into surprisingly small lots. Depths of 100 feet were common, but the largest lots had only 45 feet of street frontage. Strict deed restrictions incorporated architectural guidelines. Houses had to be at least two stories tall (neither story could be less than 9 feet high), have full masonry foundations, contain at least eight rooms, have a “square box cornice with gutter on top of same,” and—presumably in an effort to promote a modicum of architectural diversity—have roofs that were “either slate or tile with at least three gables.”

By the late 1920s, when some of the former cul-de-sacs were connected with other streets, South Park was almost fully developed. Houses represent almost all the styles then popular throughout the nation. American Foursquares are especially prominent, as their typically large dormer windows apparently satisfied the requirement that houses have at least three gables.

Park Street, leading uphill in a southeasterly direction, is one of the neighborhood's main thoroughfares and provides a good overall impression of the area. Number 112 Park Street is an impressive c. 1916 Tudor Revival house faced with brick, stucco, and half timbering. In the adjoining block, the large, long house at 237 Park is also Tudor Revival in spirit, although its yellow brick walls detract from authentic period ambience. Its long facade was made possible because the builder purchased three adjoining lots to accommodate the structure. Number 519 Park is a Dutch Colonial house thought to have been ordered from a mail-order catalog. From Park Street, a turn southward onto Maple Street leads to Lebanon Street, which was developed later than South Park. Some of Morgantown's most impressive period revival houses line its curvy courses.

Writing Credits

S. Allen Chambers Jr.

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