Greenville Craftsman: Leavenworth-Wasson-Carroll House

You may be surprised to know that since my initial Craftsman in Mississippi post two weeks ago, I’ve been biting my fingernails and going back and forth about which Craftsman house I should pick to highlight first. I didn’t want it to be a Jackson building, since that first post had the Belhaven Heights bungalow that Virginia McAlester used to show the characteristics of a Craftsman house. Then I realized that there was only one obvious answer, and that is the Leavenworth-Wasson-Carroll House on South Washington St. in Greenville. After all, what could be more Craftsman than a house that has its roots in a design published in Gustav Stickley’s magazine The Craftsman in September 1906 and re-published in his 1909 book Craftsman Homes?

Leavenworth

The house was listed on the National Register in 1980, and the nomination mentions that when George Leavenworth, a lumber man, was building his suburban house in 1913, it was considered a local curiosity, enough to draw people out on Sunday afternoons to check out the progress.

The model for the house apparently came this article, “A Craftsman House in Which Tower Construction Has Been Effectively Used.” It’s not an exact replica, and I’m not sure if the floorplan of our Mississippi house followed Stickley’s suggestion, but the exterior is pretty clear, right down to the half-timbering, tile roof, and what Stickley called “a typical Craftsman front porch” with an “outdoor living room.” Of course, being a Mississippi house, it doesn’t have a stone foundation, but we’re willing to overlook that minor detail, aren’t we?

Stickley Craftsman

Thanks to the internet, this article is available online, or you can read Stickley’s 1909 book Craftsman Homes, published in 1909, on Google Books and numerous other helpful sources.

Something of a departure is made from the usual style of the Craftsman house in planning this one, which we regard as one of the most completely successful house plans ever published in THE CRAFTSMAN. It is not a large house, yet it gives the impression of dignity and spaciousness which usually belongs only to a large building; it is in no sense an elaborate house, yet it is decorative, –possessing a sort of homely picturesqueness which takes away all appearance of severity from the straight lines and massive walls. This is largely due to the square tower like construction at the two corners in front and to the upper and lower verandas, both ample in size and deeply recessed, which occupy the whole width of the house between the towers. Of these, one is the entrance porch and the other an outdoor sleeping room, the latter a very essential part of every house that is built with special reference to health and freedom of living.

As suggested here, the house is of cement and half timber construction with a tiled roof and a foundation of local field stone carefully split and fitted. The foundation is carried up to form the parapets that shelter the recessed porches on the lower story, and the copings are of gray sandstone. The walls are of cement plaster on metal lath, the plaster being given the rough gravel finish and colored in various tones of green.

All the exterior wood trim is of cypress very much darkened by the chemical process which we use. In this house the exterior woodwork is especially satisfying in its structural form, being decorative in its lines and the division of wall spaces and yet obviously an essential part of the structure. The horizontal beams serve to bind together the lines of the whole framework, and the uprights are simply corner posts and continuations of the window frames. The roof of dull red tiles gives life and warmth to the color scheme of the exterior, and the thick round pillars painted white lend a sharp accent that emphasizes the whole.

The entrance door is at the left end of the porch which, by this device, is made to seem less like a mere entrance and more like a pleasant gathering place where outdoor life may go on. This porch is pictured in detail on page ninety nine as a typical Craftsman front porch.

————————————————

Can’t get enough of Craftsman?



Categories: Architectural Research, Greenville

Tags:

2 replies

  1. I love this! I am going to hazard a guess that the screened porches are a later edition, thanks to the mosquito population in the area? It really affects the building, though, doesn’t it?

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: