Late Italianate False Front

This wood structure probably dates to around 1900 – making it a late example of both the Italianate style and false-front buildings.  Located in Lebanon, Kansas, a town at the geographic center of the 48 contiguous states, the original and present uses of the building were not immediately obvious.  But I did like the building’s presence and details.  Its condition is very expressive of the atmosphere typical of small rural communities in America today.  Here are four views of the structure:


A pitched roof is clearly visible behind the modest arched cornice made of beadboard.  The main portion of the facade is clad in metal sheets stamped to resemble brick.


Missing metal sheets reveal the weathered sheathing.


The overhead door and concrete work appear to be relatively new.  The pair of doors at right are likely an early alteration.


Two types of brackets support the cornice. Molding in the arch was pieced together in segments.  The soffit is also of bead board.


Detail of cornice.


3 Responses to Late Italianate False Front

  1. That is pretty cool. Is the siding at the top really beadboard, or is it carsiding?

    I have never seen simulated brick siding made from metal. I’ve seen plenty of the fibrous asphalt stuff. I believe a lot of it was marketed as “InsulBrick”, but I usually hear it called “ghetto-brick” now, haha!

    Apparently companies are still out there marketing fake brick panel products:

    • It’s beadboard! I added an extra photo to the post so you can see the detail a bit better. You can also see the deterioration a bit better, too.

      A lot of early 20th century utilitarian structures in the Great Plains have this type of metal siding stamped to resemble brick. There is an equally popular version that was intended to look like rusticated stone but its uniformity actually made it look more like the rock face concrete block that was popular at the same time!

      I hadn’t previously seen the brick panels you linked to; will people never tire of fake finishes? “Ghetto-brick” – LOL!

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