Well, when I wrote my first post on architectural twins, I certainly didn’t expect it to become an on-going series, but I think this might be the fourth post on that theme, which means it was meant to be a series, I just didn’t know it.
Even before I moved to Jackson, I had seen this house, located in the Belhaven Heights Historic District. That’s because the invaluable architectural guide A Field Guide to American Houses by Virginia and Lee McAlester was required reading in my one course on historic preservation. “McAlester” as everyone refers to the guide, is still the standard for field guides–well-designed, based on broad coverage of the American landscape, and easy to read and carry around with you while staring at buildings.
Mississippi is well represented in McAlester, not just in the Greek Revival where you would expect, but also in Italianate (Howry House, Oxford), Neoclassical (“Fairview, Jackson), Queen Anne (two sweet cottages in Biloxi), and a few other styles and vernacular types. The McAlesters describe each style in a few pages, with major subtypes for each broken out and compared, and handy drawings depicting the important elements.
The sturdy bungalow above is in the Craftsman section, of course, in the “Front-Gabled Roof” subtype, and this is the description (p. 457):
Jackson, Mississippi, 1910s. This photograph emphasizes the triangular knee braces commonly used in the gable ends of Craftsman houses. The slightly tapered porch-roof supports, extending from ground level, are of irregular brick masonry. Note how the main roof extends over the porch.
Unfortunately, my photo above doesn’t emphasize those triangular knee braces like the McAlesters’ does–I was constrained by misplaced automobiles, trees, and a person in the yard scowling at me.
Never fear though, just a few blocks away, on West Street north of the New Capitol and facing Greenwood Cemetery, is a twin of this bungalow–not identical but definitely fraternal–and I was able to get some more comprehensive pictures there.
Unfortunately, the West Side twin has fallen on hard times, and I’m glad I got these pictures before it gets worse. As you can see, the center piers seen on the Belhaven Heights bungalow are shortened here, with hefty concrete caps on top.
Here you get a sense of just how big those triangular knee braces are and how deep that front eave is! Unfortunately, you can also see that the elements are ravaging the building.
Interestingly, both houses have roll roofing, rather than asphalt or asbestos shingles. I don’t know much about the history behind them, except that City Directory evidence indicates that the Belhaven Heights house was built in the early 1910s and was owned by W.A. Chichester. The houses had the same builder presumably; possibly an architect was involved, or more probably they are based on a published plan from one of the many mail-order plan houses that had sprung up by the early 20th century.
I still hold out hope that someone will take this project on–only a few blocks from the Mississippi Supreme Court building–and restore this once-proud bungalow, but time is running out for this set of twins.