Likely built in the 1870’s, this surprisingly small Second Empire style house definitely thinks big as it displays details more typical of a house five times its size. Built of native stone in the Kansas vernacular, the house has languished for years, appearing to receive some sporadic maintenance but never really showing significant signs of improvement.
The house appears to have just two rooms. No staircase is visible to connect with the second floor (which may simply be attic space as it appears to have only minimal potential headroom).
The structure’s contradictions make it intriguing: small but grand, refined yet crude. The details are fascinating and suggest that the house may have been built with the intent to expand it on each side, possibly in the same way that the house at Cottonwood Ranch evolved — with a perpendicular wing at each end of the central core. Let’s take a closer look.
why is there a word on the roof and what does it say?
and any clue as to all this incredible fancy detail on a house otherwise undistinguished?
Just a guess, but I think that this was just the first part of a house that was planned to be much bigger (but never was expanded). As for your first question, I don’t see a word on the roof… not sure what you are looking at.
1. more pix of gas station
2. it doesn’t appear anyone lives there although lawn is mowed. I would love to see the interior because
3. I am not sure I agree with your assessment of the second floor. why would you put 5 dormers in a space hard to get to that you weren’t using and that gave no light to the downstairs unless there is no second floor.
4. maybe it’s just worn shingles but pics 2 and 6 appear to have letters between the dormers if you expand the picture. I mention this as some businesses especially farms on busy roads in my area put ads on the roof when they reshingled with asphalt shingles. “Blanchard Bros. Farm and Dairy” was one but there were others.
I talked with someone in that town recently and asked about this house. I was told that there is indeed a second floor which contains two bedrooms. The staircase apparently runs along the back wall, but I could see no trace of a stair years ago when looking in the window of the empty house.
What a fascinating building. I love the acorn bas relief on the keystones. Do you think it is possible it originally was meant to serve a more public purpose other than a dwelling (don’t know what, a mini library, a small bank, something like that)? It would explain is imposing aspirations, but I wouldn’t know enough about the planning of public buildings back then to assess whether that is plausible. Hopefully someone is able to restore it more thoroughly, or at least preserve it. It has a lot of character, and possibly an interesting history.
It certainly deserves a thorough restoration, but that is probably not too likely given its locale. Possible, but not likely. Because the house sits in a residential area a good distance from the downtown core of its small town, I feel fairly certain that its use has always been residential. It’s grand enough to be a public building, though! I’ve been keeping my eye on it for years but nothing ever seems to change much.
That is quite an interesting place. So small and yet so massive. I wonder if there were even considerations of adding a second story. The comparatively simple and slender roof doesn’t quite match the bulk of the stone walls.
The mismatched plinth by the door and window does look like a change. It looks awkward, but it guess chiseling out thr joints to move the lintels would have been a lot more work, and the spandrel panels wouldn’t really have been able to be moved anyway.
Lastly, the mansard slope that comes down within the plane of the walls just doesn’t look right, even if there was precedent. It strikes me similar to modern houses with poorly-planned brick veneer that sticks out from soffit or frieze boards.
The roof bothers me, too… like you said, it just doesn’t look right. Maybe it was designed that way to better facilitate a tear-off for a future full second story? I found an old image on Google Street View which shows a sidewalk leading to the window on the left… more indication that this window was once a doorway. Maybe the change was made more recently than I would have guessed. I just added the photo to the end of this post.