Most old houses have had alterations over the years — very few come down through time just as they were built. Unless a house was altered with an extreme attention to maintaining details, it is usually possible to get a fairly good idea as to what the house looked like before it was altered by reading or deciphering the clues that remain.
The following house, in Atchison, Kansas, recently appeared on Old House Dreams and is a good example… there are several clues in plain sight which offer insight as to what the house may have looked like when new. It’s the sort of house which often gets lost in the shuffle. It’s not fancy (or pretentious) enough to get attention, yet is very desirable for the amount of quality original material it contains and its ability to portray the evolution of a late nineteenth-century century middle-class house. The house is quite interesting… let’s psychoanalyze it!
So, my guess is that the house dates roughly somewhere between the mid-1860’s to the mid-1870’s, and that it was added onto and remodeled around 1885. It later received two dormers in the front — likely around 1915. But I’m still open to the possibility that the rear section came first… this house would be great fun to explore!