Now that’s something you don’t see every day… especially on the High Plains of northwestern Kansas! Both the architectural style and the roof type are atypical of the region. The Jerkinhead roof, a compromise between a gabled roof and a hipped roof, is used with numerous architectural styles and is not without precedent on a Gothic Revival.

The Gothic Revival detailing of the porches on this house is exceptional — especially given its locale. The pagoda style hip-ended porch roof was originally standing-seamed, and only recently covered in asphalt. It mimics those on older and far more sophisticated examples of Gothic Revival such as the Green-Meldrim House in Savannah, Georgia, or Kingscote in Newport, Rhode Island. The roof of the bay window is similarly constructed.

Believed to have been built in 1885, the house is a very late example of the style which had by then faded from popularity in more populated areas. I suspect that the design of the porch may have come from a published source… if anyone recognizes it, please let me know! The rear wing was further extended in the 1890’s.

Recently I had the opportunity to visit this rare survivor and take a few photos. The owner was very gracious in allowing me to photograph the house for my blog. I was happy to find a high degree of architectural integrity intact. Aside from vinyl siding (mostly the damage done to exterior trim during the installation) and interior paint, changes to the house have been minimal and infrequent.

I may post about some of the memorable anomalies of the attic and basement spaces in the future. But for now, let’s take a look at some interesting architectural details…

The front of the house. The elaborate scroll-sawn porch supports are pure Gothic Revival. Slightly curved brackets at each side feature both quatrefoil and attenuated trefoil cutouts. The jerkinhead gable is sheathed in a pressed metal design resembling shingles.

The side of the house is dominated by a large bay window. The ornamental carpentry of the side porch is somewhat less fussy than that of the front.
The front door is beautiful! The glass doorknob is a twentieth-century replacement and not original.

The side door is a more modest version of the front door.

In the parlor, sliding pocket doors serve to screen the back parlor, now used as a bedroom.

Detail of the parlor door casing and corner block.

On the other side of the same doorway, a molded back band refines a plain casing.

Typical parlor plinth block.

Elsewhere, back-banding transitions to a baseboard cap.

What appears to be a re-purposed pie safe or kitchen cabinet from the 1890’s was built into a wall in the dining room as an apparent afterthought.

The glass shades of the parlor light fixture are modern replacements. The fixture likely dates to the 1890’s.

The fixture in the back parlor is less exuberant and also has replacement shades.

Off the kitchen, the pantry has been adapted to serve as a laundry room.

Typical interior door hardware.

Doors are hung with cast iron steeple hinges.

The door to the enclosed stairwell (which originally led to the attic) features an ornamental latch.

The other side of the same door, showing the ornamental thumb latch.

The former stairwell to the attic has been converted to a closet.

In the bathroom, the toilet is recessed in a closet beneath the former attic staircase. The room features a large arched window above the tub.

Most intriguing is the detail beneath the toilet. I suspect that beneath the carpet is a slab of marble (similar to the kind seen here). The ornamental molding around this change in floor level attests to its antiquity.

In the attic, the top three steps still remain. The toilet is below this area.

Down to the basement! The flash on my camera is still broken. Here my flashlight shows the center chimney emerging from the dirt floor on a limestone foundation. Earthen walls flank the chimney.
A pair of doors stored on the dirt floor appear to be the ones missing from the opening between the parlor and dining room. The original grained (faux painted) finish is likely what is beneath the painted woodwork elsewhere in the house. Enough of this basement — let’s get back into some daylight!
The foundation was bolstered in the mid-twentieth century with concrete in an apparent effort to stabilize it. I’m not sure if it is helping or hurting…

Above, aluminum and vinyl both conspire to hide original moldings.

The siding installation mercifully worked around some moldings while ruthlessly severing others.

The porch is in need of some serious restoration, but decay can not hide the stunning beauty of this 134-year-old carpentry.

Detail of porch support (side porch).

A corner of the front porch.

A corner of the side porch.
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