The George B. Hitchcock House

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Building Styles, Federal Style, Historic Preservation, History, Masonry, Miscellaneous

The  George B. Hitchcock house is one of those remarkable survivors that are significant not only as architecture but also for their roles in out nation’s history.   Hitchcock was a Congregational minister and one of several, prominent abolitionists active in southern Iowa.  He used this stone house, which he built in 1856, as a stop […]

Old House CSI: Dundas, MN

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Building Research, Building Styles, Carpentry, Folk Victorian, Greek Revival, Historic Preservation, Historic Windows, History, Miscellaneous, Vernacuar

I always have my head on a swivel when I’m driving around the countryside because I’m on the lookout for old and interesting buildings.  This gable front-and-wing  house in Dundas, MN caught my eye during a recent drive.  You can see that the house has changed over the years and I thought it might be […]

The Italianate

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Building Styles, Historic Preservation, History, Millwork, Miscellaneous

Examples of the Italianate can bee seen across the country.  It was the most popular building style in the United States during the mid-19th century and persisted in the West until the 1890s.  Despite being so common, however, its origins aren’t often discussed and many have a poor understanding of the artistic and social  factors […]

History Hiding in Plain Sight: The Vergeboard

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Historic Preservation, Masonry, Millwork, Miscellaneous, Picturesque

When we speak and write we use lots of words, often without being aware of what they actually mean or what their origins are.  We also use words as metaphors but don’t pause to consider what their original definitions or meanings might be.  For instance, we use the word “verge” all the time,  such as […]

Historic Mortar: Part One

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Historic Preservation, Masonry, Miscellaneous, paint

One subject that is of great interest for the owners of masonry buildings is mortar.  We all know that mortar is the cementitious material used with brick, stone, tile and terra cotta.  Most have also heard that there are different types of mortar and that some are not appropriate for applications on historic architecture.  Indeed, […]

The Downing Colors and their Critics

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Andrew Jackson Downing, Historic Preservation, History, Miscellaneous, paint, Picturesque

I have discussed the career of Andrew Jackson Downing previously and the long shadow he cast in American architecture and design during the 19th century. Downing was a romantic who stressed “truthfulness” in architecture where proper design should express the purpose of the building. That is, the purpose “is conveyed by the features of the […]

St. Donatus, Iowa: A Little Luxembourg in Eastern Iowa

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Historic Preservation, Masonry, Miscellaneous, paint, Vernacuar, Vernacular

Vernacular architecture is a term that can mean different things to different people.  It is generally defined as a building style based upon local or traditional designs, materials and building techniques.  However, the nature and origins of designs and techniques varied. Immigrants brought traditional building designs and construction techniques with them to the United States […]

Danebod: A Danish Community in Southwest Minnesota.

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Historic Preservation, History, Miscellaneous, National Register of Historic Places

Immigration to the United States has always been a difficult experience that led many newcomers to question their own identities as they tried to build a new life in their new home.  Immigrant groups reacted differently as some quickly learned English and adopted American culture.  Others clung to their language and customs as they feared […]

Northern Bedrock Preservation Corps

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Doors, Historic Preservation, Maintenance, Millwork, Miscellaneous, paint, Preservation News, Tools

I just had the great pleasure of doing a presentation on the historic trades and preservation for the Northern Bedrock Preservation Corps.  Northern Bedrock was established in 2011 to help young adults enter the preservation trades by providing training and hands-on experience repairing historic structures and architecture.  The founders of Northern Bedrock are aware that there […]