Emporia

Favorite Houses: 819 Constitution

Constitution, between 8th and 9th Streets, in Emporia, Kansas, would be almost unrecognizable today to anybody who lived on the street before WWII. Of the eleven houses which graced the street in 1911, only three remain today. The rest have been demolished for parking lots, and a church.

What remains though is highly attractive. The house on the SW corner of Constitution and 9th is by Charles W. Squires (marked on the map below as number 829; it is now 831). The house just to its south may be also by Squires (number 825). Just to the south, again, is the last survivor, another Squires design: 819 Constitution, built for Ashbel J. Crocker.

 

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The entire east side of the street (top) is now a parking lot. Number 805 is also a parking lot. Number 811 was demolished and is now the location of a church. The church owns number 819.

 

Again, 831 Constitution. Note the grouped columns, and the lap siding on the first floor, and shingles above — all typical Squires touches.
819 Constitution. Note the grouped columns, the lap siding on the first floor, and shingles above — all typical Squires touches of the 1890s. The church which owns 819 keeps the historic house in good repair. The roof is new, and the house well painted. The interior is very clean.

 

Again, 819 Constitution. Note how the walls of the attic level curve in to meet the window. Typical Squires.
Note how the walls of the attic level curve in to meet the window. Typical Squires.

 

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Look up. To the roof. That is an “eyebrow” dormer. I love eyebrow dormers. The glass on this one has been painted over.

 

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The front door is very tall, a fact not evident due to the shorter security door. I would love to see the front door revealed.

 

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The front door is beautifully detailed. I very much like the asymmetrical blocks.

 

The upper part of the front door, now hidden behind a false panel.
The upper part of the front door, now hidden behind a false panel.

 

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The entry/stairhall.

 

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The stair is simple yet robustly scaled and with gorgeous detailing. That is a BIG ball.

 

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One reason to love old houses.

 

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The entry has two stained-glass windows. This one faces north…

 

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…and this one faces east. The front door is just to the right.

 

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The living room (parlor). The whole first floor is covered with new wallboard, and the ceiling in acoustical tile. Luckily, this work was respectfully done, and all the interior trim remains in situ. Again, the house is owned by a church and used for meetings.

 

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The stained-glass in the living room, facing east.

 

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The former dining room, and its nice bay facing south.

 

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The dining room mantle. Wow.

 

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This room is behind the entry, and faces east. The original library?

 

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The stair is U-shaped. At the landing, overlooking the entry, is this door and transom. With the door closed, heat during the winter will not rise upstairs (a significant problem with open stairwells)

 

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The second-floor hall is exceedingly charming as it twists and turns.

 

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Looking east, and to the small front room. Note how the delicious trim and doors have never been painted. Note also the yummy transom windows.

 

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Looking at the ceiling in the small front room. Not much to appreciate but a lot of history is encoded in the many layers of wallpaper.

 

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Second-floor front porch. Me happy. Next door is 825 Constitution, seen in this thread. One house over is 831 Constitution.

 

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The hand-carved column capitals are wonderfully quirky.

 

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This dentil cornice detail is distinctive.

 

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I will try and get a better image. Under the stair to the attic was some space, and soon after the house was built the space was filled in with a nicely detailed wood cabinet. One can almost hear Mrs. Crocker shortly after moving into her fine new home: “Really Mr. Squires, I just must have a place for linens!”

 

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Down a step from the main second-floor hall, and ninty-degress over, is this delicious rear hall leading to the rear stairs.

 

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The rear stairs as they ascend to the second floor.

 

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The second-floor bath has a ceiling height of just over six-feet. This makes for a very charming, distinctive bath.

 

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I want to get my bubble bath soap and hop right in.

 

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Sorry for the poor image. You are looking at — what a thrill! — the back of the eyebrow roof dormer.

 

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