Well, folks, we have a contest going on here. In yesterday’s action, W. White jumped out to an early lead by correctly identifying the Prentiss County Courthouse in Booneville and also mentioned that it has recently been renovated by Belinda Stewart Architects. Carunzel earned a point by giving the year of construction and architect, N.W. Overstreet. But then, when I turned away for just a second last night, doakley, tsj1957, and a new contestant mysteriously known as “Belinda” piled in with all sorts of information. Some might call it minutiae, but I call it points, especially Belinda’s game-changing announcement that in fact the Prentiss County Courthouse that we all know and love and thought was built in 1925 by N.W. Overstreet, in fact contains the remnant of an earlier courthouse that burned, after which our buddy N.W.–he of “the classic is passe” fame–came in and did a major re-do, putting up new bricks all around to make everything look nice. This kind of story is why I love old buildings and most–although by no means all–of the people who work on them.
So, here’s the current standings:
W. White: 2 points
Carunzel: 1 point
doakley: 1 point
tsj1957: 1 point
Belinda: 1 point
If yesterday was a wash for you, there’s still plenty of time to get in the game. Correctly identify this building, making sure to give the location along with the name, and you get a point. Add more information, architectural, historical, or something in between, and you get another point (a maximum of two points per day).
Yesterday’s courthouse was a good warm-up round. Let’s see how you do on this one.
I think this house is called Annandale and that it was built in Oxford in 1856. I am not sure of the architect. Samuel Sloan seems like a good guess.
Great guess, the house is very similar to Ammadelle in Oxford, but not quite.
That’s what I get for putting my architecture books in temporary storage. The house in Oxford was the only Italianate house of this design that came to mind. I am still going to guess that Samuel Sloan designed Mount Holly, the designs are similar.
If the Samuel Sloan attribution is off base, maybe you will give me a point for pointing out that Shelby Foote’s family owned this house for many years.
Lol, you get a point for pointing out the almost identical Ammadelle, which is, in fact, by the same architect. But it’s not Samuel Sloan.
I should clarify that the same designs seemingly were used for both Ammadelle and Mount Holly, but apparently another architect adapted the plans at Mount Holly.
Well I will continue on the Italianate architect bandwagon and say that Calvert Vaux is responsible for Mount Holly. Surely if I guess enough architects from that era, I might eventually get it right.
You’re correct! It’s a variant mirror version of Vaux’s “Irregular Villa Without Wing” in Villas and Cottages. I guess I could hold everyone in suspense about who is thought to have made the modification, but I think it’s very obscure and not published anywhere. The speculation is that Kentucky architect Thomas Lewinski, who designed Henry Clay’s “Ashland” and Natchez’ Memorial Hall, was the architect who took Vaux’s published plans and worked them into Mount Holly. You should get an extra point, W, for pulling Vaux’s name from memory–who needs those books anyway? :-)
Thank you. Once you told me that it was not Sloan, I had to decide which other architect from the era it was. I decided on Vaux because of the characteristics of the only other likely candidates, Richard Upjohn’s designs are heavier than Vaux’s; Alexander Jackson Davis and Andrew Jackson Downing were more interested in symmetry that Vaux.
Do you have any other information on Thomas Lewinski? What other structures did he design and, as a Kentucky architect, how did he come to build structures in Mississippi? Afterall, not every architect was as widely traveled as William Nichols (just to name one example). The builders who actually created the antebellum buildings we see are often both interesting and unfairly forgotten. There were very few architects that created original designs; it was up to skilled builders to adapt designs from pattern books to climate, client desires, etc.
Since you’re at MSU, you presumably have easy access to JSTOR? If so, search for Lewinski, and you’ll turn up two articles and a book review, all by Clay Lancaster from the 1940s and 50s. These only focus on his Kentucky career though, and say nothing about work in any other states.
I at first thought he must have come to Mississippi for the big Memorial Hall project in Natchez and then stayed on for Mount Holly, but in fact, those two buildings are separated by at least 5 years. There were, of course, family connections between Natchez and the settlement at Lake Washington, and I’ve heard that some of those families also had connections with Lexington, Kentucky, but I haven’t seen the documentation that ties all that together. And Lewinski, while documented for Memorial Hall, is only attributed for Mount Holly, at least to my knowledge.
You’re right that we have only a very limited understanding of the antebellum construction scene in MS, and I would say that persists even into the late 19th century–we know a few architects or master builders, mostly in the major towns, but for the vast majority we know only snippets or nothing at all.
Seems to me “Lewinski in Mississippi” might be a good thesis topic :-)
Isn’t that Mount Holly (Washington County)?
JR is correct I believe. Mount Holly is an impressive Italianate mansion built in 1856. The area around Lake Washington was the only largely settled part of the Delta before the Civil War.
JR and tsj1957 are correct–it’s Mount Holly in Washington County.
“In the town of Foote is a magnificent mansion once owned by the family of Shelby Foote, the noted Civil War historian. Mount Holly, built of slave-made brick with 14-foot ceilings and 2-foot-thick walls, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The house, one of the finest examples of Italianate architecture in the State, is now a private residence.” –http://www.greenville.ms.us/things_to_do_historical_sites.html#mount
The architect/builder seems to be unknown. Is this some kind of ploy by Malvaney to see if someone can possibly scrape up the name of the architect or builder when no one has before?
It wounds me, *wounds me*, Carunzel, that you would accuse me of a ploy to gather new information in this important matter. In other cases, granted, I have been known to pull such tricky stunts, but not in *this* case.
Just remember while pointing your finger at me, you have three pointing back at you. Assuming you have four fingers and a thumb, of course. For instance, if you only had two fingers and a thumb, you would have one finger pointing back at you, etc.
Well, I never … [in exaggerated Southern accent]
Shouldn’t that be “well, ah nevah”? :-)
“Historic Significance: Event, Architecture/Engineering
Architect, builder, or engineer: Unknown
Architectural Style: No Style Listed
Area of Significance: Architecture, Literature
Period of Significance: 1850-1874, 1925-1949”
It was added to the National Register in 1973