Author Archives: Architectural Observer

Greek Revival Surprise

Kansas was not heavily populated when it achieved statehood in 1861 – at roughly the same that the Greek Revival style fell from favor in all but the most rural areas of the nation.  So it’s not a surprise that the few examples of the style found in the state tend to be in the first-settled eastern portion.  But it is a surprise to find an example in the north-central part of the state.  I was delighted to discover one yesterday in the the small town of Scandia which can trace its origins back to 1868.

Though the style was really pretty much washed up by then, it’s possible that this example could have been built as late as the 1870’s.  The house has not come through time unscathed, however; it is buried in vinyl siding, has had its windows replaced and the front porch is likely from the 20th century.  To date, it is the western-most example of the Greek Revival style I have found in Kansas (and the latest).

I literally slammed on the brakes when I saw the beefy corner pilaster!  The vinyl subdued – but did not hide – the frieze band and cornice returns.  Here are a few images:


Surprise! The wide frieze band still projects slightly beneath the vinyl siding above a corner pilaster (the center panel of which has been curiously fitted with vinyl).


The wide, projecting, components of the gable trim must have vexed the vinyl siding installer!  While there appears to be an entablature on the rear elevation, there is no indication of a corner pilaster (it may have been originally omitted or perhaps removed to facilitate vinyl installation).  Whoever installed the metal trim made an effort to maintain the shape of the capitals… I’ve seen much worse.  The pair of windows is not very old; it is likely that there was just one in the gable originally.


Another view of the house.


Here is the gable end of an unaltered Greek Revival – the gable ends of the house in Scandia once looked similar to this:


This house is about 20 years older and has a lower roof pitch which is more typical of the style.  The steeper roof pitch of the house in Scandia is more evidence of its late construction.  Photo via Old House Dreams.




Frederick L. Ackerman’s Plan No. 198

I’ve been fascinated by house plan books and catalogs for as long as I can remember and “The Books of a Thousand Homes” is particularly riveting.  Published in 1923 by an entity calling itself The Home Owners Service Institute, the book contained five hundred house plans.  Working blueprints for each design could be ordered through… Continue Reading

Harris Home No. N-1026, “The Plaza” by Aladdin or ???

A 1923 Harris Brothers Company catalog includes an attractive Craftsman style house with a rather lackluster name:   No. N-1026.  The house was offered with clapboard or shingled siding, and a reversed floor plan as an option.   The Aladdin Company sold a nearly identical kit house called “The Plaza” as early as 1917… does anyone… Continue Reading

A Garlinghouse Design Plus the Sears Argyle and Hollywood

For well over a century, the Garlinghouse Company has been publishing house plans. While I’m especially partial to their mid-20th century designs, the older ones also have merit.  Below is plan number 1067 from the 1920’s… the house shown in the second photo was built in 1927 and remains largely intact today:     The… Continue Reading