Remnants of a Sod House

Remnants of a Sod House

Houses built of sod were once plentiful across the Great Plains where trees were scarce.  Built of blocks of earth cut from the ground, the later and more refined versions also incorporated many purchased materials such as windows, doors and dimensioned lumber for the...

Warehousing People – The Sequel

Warehousing People – The Sequel

Last September I posted about a senior storage facility er, "senior apartments" which I found to be disturbing for several reasons.   I recently ran across a similar project which gives the bleak and utilitarian exterior an additional synthetic twist:              ...

A Look at Two House Flips

A Look at Two House Flips

House-flipping has been popular for a long while - and the trend has been made even more popular by television.  Not all flips are created equal, however!  Since I haven't been able to take any road trips lately, I decided to sift through Zillow and find some flips to...

Concrete on the Farm c. 1920

Concrete on the Farm c. 1920

In the previous post, we looked at the remains of an early twentieth century farm house.  Today we'll take a look at the role that concrete played on this farm: a barn, stock tank and cistern - all made from it.   Bonus feature: a windmill tower made of scrap metal!  ...

Ruins of An Early 20th Century Farm

Ruins of An Early 20th Century Farm

Ruined structures have long been a favorite subject for artists because of their frequent poignant beauty.  While the term "ruin" typically conjures up images of ancient stone structures crumbling in lush landscapes beneath invasive trees and vines, a similar - but...

From Showplace to Showroom to Concrete

From Showplace to Showroom to Concrete

Recently, while sifting through the contents of a file cabinet, I ran across an article I had written back in 1985 about the long and painful death of an old house in Manhattan, Kansas.  I felt a bit sad reading it because old buildings - and the physical connections...

Bank Buildings on Pin Trays…

Bank Buildings on Pin Trays…

I started collecting glass advertising pin trays with architecture depicted on them many, many, years ago.  These things were always showing up at yard sales and thrift stores; they were fun and inexpensive.  Eventually, because of the sheer number of such trays, I...

Issues of Scale and Proportion

Issues of Scale and Proportion

Sometimes a house or building just looks a bit off.  If the problem isn't immediately apparent, such as a glaringly harsh color scheme or over-the-top landscaping, it might be something more subtle like a problem with scale.  The following structures all have scale...

What Do You Think?

What Do You Think?

Sometimes construction projects end up looking somewhat different from what the initial architectural renderings suggest.  A residential development in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, has several unusual facades which vary somewhat from the early renderings.  The...

The Call of the Siren

The Call of the Siren

An unusual Corinthian column caught my eye from the road and lured me closer.  I was surprised to find an unexpected theme incorporating a diverse array of architectural materials.  I grabbed a few photos and continued on my journey...            ...

Shutters or Shudders?

Shutters or Shudders?

I never tire of looking at bizarre shutter installations (or shudders - hat tip to Seth!) which is fortunate as there is no shortage of them!  It's been almost two years since I first posted about them -  it's time to share some more! That previous post noted the fact...

Radford’s House Design No. 1508

Radford’s House Design No. 1508

Recently I found this house pictured in a display of old photographs which had been reproduced for a fascinating display of local history at the Fick Fossil and History Museum in Oakley, Kansas (definitely worth a visit when traveling on I-70!).  The house looked...

Looking Back at the Shed Style

Looking Back at the Shed Style

It seemed so hip, so NOW... forty-odd years ago, anyway.  As a kind of a bridge between the Contemporary style of the mid-twentieth century and the Post Modern movement of the late-twentieth century, the Shed style had a brief moment of glory in the early 70's.  Shed...

More Louis Curtiss!

More Louis Curtiss!

Just one more post about Louis Curtiss and then I promise to move on to other stuff for a while!  Given that virtually all of Curtiss' work is "lesser-known", saying so about some of the following may be redundant!  Still, there are a few places that are more obscure...

The Mysterious Louis Curtiss

The Mysterious Louis Curtiss

Louis Curtiss, who left his mark on Kansas City and other locations in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, was one of those incredibly rare architects who was just weird enough to do really, really, interesting work.  While often compared to Frank Lloyd...

Five Haunting Abandoned Houses

Five Haunting Abandoned Houses

While driving through a sparsely populated area of southwestern Nebraska I encountered a depressing amount of Victorian-era houses (which had once been grand for their locale) in advanced stages of deterioration.  Despite their weathered facades, these houses were...

The Sudden Loss of Character

The Sudden Loss of Character

I drove by a house today which is undergoing an unfortunate and all-too-common procedure: it is losing its architectural integrity and will be gaining lots of vinyl and other synthetic products.  I caught the house mid-way though the process... replacement windows...

Auction Action – Part 2

Auction Action – Part 2

Today it was time once again for the Lions Clubs' annual consignment auction... an event generally I think of as marking the near arrival of Spring.  It was breezy outside, but at least it wasn't snowing as it had last year.  As there wasn't anything that I couldn't...

Fun With Nit-picking

Fun With Nit-picking

I love looking at houses on Zillow.com - you never know what will turn up.  I used to look only at old houses there (those built in the early twentieth century or earlier).  But lately I find myself drawn to the clumsy and distorted newer houses which are increasingly...

A Century-Old Tiny House

A Century-Old Tiny House

Long before it became fashionable and trendy, living on a small scale was quite common.  In most towns and cities, the earliest houses were built on a modest and utilitarian scale.  Many such structures, particularly those of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries,...

Replacement Windows Scar Row House

Replacement Windows Scar Row House

There are replacement window installations and then there are really strange replacement window installations.  The center house of three contiguous row houses has had some rather uncommon surgery on its two primary windows in order to accommodate the installation of...

Neo-Victorian Houses

Neo-Victorian Houses

Americans have long been noted for their eagerness to embrace whatever is new - even when it's a revival of something old!  This has been especially true of architectural styles.  In the 18th century we were embracing Classical details in new construction;  the 19th...

Inside a Monolithic Dome

Inside a Monolithic Dome

While not exactly a house, this 1970's domed structure could easily be one.  It certainly has potential!  This popped up today on Zillow and got my immediate attention.  I became intrigued as I looked at the images - all are from zillow.com:                          ...

Vinyl Siding Revisited

Vinyl Siding Revisited

It's been over a year since I first posted about vinyl siding, so I thought it was high time to take a look at some more houses which are shrouded in it.   Vinyl is often used to conceal the scars that result when window openings are unfortunately reduced or porches...

Demolition by Neglect

Demolition by Neglect

An astounding number of historic structures disappear each year simply because the owners have stopped caring for them.  Known as "demolition by neglect", the phenomenon is on the rise.  Recognizing that old buildings are instrumental in giving shape and character to...

Just for Fun…

Just for Fun…

Don't be alarmed; I won't be doing McMansions on a regular basis as there is already an excellent site doing just that.  But I saw this on Zillow.com and couldn't resist.  I've taken the following nine photos from the listing there which really don't need any captions...

Joined at the Hip

Joined at the Hip

At first glance, this house appears to be a rather ordinary Craftsman style bungalow (aside from the 1960's iron porch supports, vinyl siding and plastic shutters, that is).  However, appearances can be deceiving.  This "bungalow" is actually an addition to  a much...