Time for another MissPres Architectural Word of the Week! If you want to check out any previous word you can do that here. As always our example photographs come from the MDAH Historic Resources Database. This week’s word might sound scary but it really is not.
This week’s word is brought to you by the letter W as defined by Cyril M. Harris’s Dictionary of Architecture and Construction.
Witch Door: (ˈwich ˈdȯr) A door whose lowest panels form a capital letter X; once thought to ward off evil spirits.
Our two examples are Minimalist Traditional in styling. Typically with Minimalist Traditional structures the design of the door can set the overall style for the house, so the door is incredibly important to the integrity of the house. The Standard Lists Modular Woodwork Catalog No. 59 (featured images above) was not a catalog for consumers to order from, but was a millwork catalog whose purpose was to establish nationally recognized specifications for millwork commercial standards. The book gives an idea of what was being produced commercially in North America at the time. The Hattiesburg example is a dead ringer for the Standard Lists Modular Woodwork Catalog door ND 608, while the Starkville example is very similar to ND 609.
Which Witch Door is Which? Do you have a favorite building in Mississippi that has a Witch Door? If so please share! Get out and take a photo of a Witch Door and post it to the Preservation In Mississippi Flickr page.