Prolifically Mysterious & Curvaceous

For years now, as I have slowly driven around the leafy residential districts of Emporia, I have noted houses which must be by the same architect as they all have certain characteristic details, the most telling of which is a curvaceous piece of trim under the windows.

Most houses have no such trim, curvaceous or otherwise. The windows on most houses have a window sill, and nothing under but the siding of the house.

But the mystery architect thought to add an extra bit of flourish to his houses, and this extra bit is both distinctive and attractive. It marks the houses.

Of late, I have been jumping out of my car and snapping pictures of houses with curvaceous window flourishes.

On occasion, an owner sternly walks up to me. “Why are you taking pictures of my house?”

Luckily, my reply brings a smile to the owner’s face (at least so far), and I am often invited in for a tour. As there is nothing I enjoy more then getting inside the interior of a cool old house such invitations are accepted with alacrity.

To date (September 2014) I have not uncovered the mystery of who designed these houses. Several owners told me their house was by Sears, which sold kit houses all across the country. My research does not support this, and the owners have never seen the tell-tale numbers stamped onto, say, the basement ceiling joists (the numbers indicate where the pre-cut lumber was to go). In addition, there is too much variation to all the houses. This is not something one sees with kit houses, but it IS something one sees with custom-designed houses.

I now believe that all these houses were designed by the prolific Charles W. Squires, who designed my Cross House.

 

 

825 Exchange.

825 Exchange. Note the curvaceous trim under all the windows.

 

825 Exchange.

825 Exchange.

 

You can see (and admire) the curvaceous trim under the windows.

1214 Exchange. I have a post on this house.

 

901 Congress.

901 Congress. The plants obscure the curvaceous window trim.

 

901 Congress.

901 Congress. Note the dentil detail under the eaves. Charles Squires loved a good dentil.

 

901 Congress. Note the curvaceous trim under the window.

901 Congress.

 

901 Congress. This is another distinctive detail of these curvaceous houses, which I have now seen on two of the houses.

901 Congress. This is another distinctive detail seen on numerous curvaceous houses. The detail is in front of the porches.

 

901 Congress. Stunning house.

901 Congress. Stunning house.

 

825 Constitution.

825 Constitution. Note, again, the porch grills. Were these originally screened behind, to vent under the porches?

 

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825 Consitution. The house next door is 831 Consitution.

 

825 Constitution.

825 Constitution.

 

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825 Constitution.

 

717 Constitution.

717 Constitution.

 

717 Constitution. This appears to be the largest of these homes.

717 Constitution. This appears to be one of the largest of these homes.

 

717 Constitution. Note the rare and interesting dentil detail.

717 Constitution. Note the dentil detail.

 

1002 Constitution.

1002 Constitution.

 

1002 Constitution. Note the grill on the porch wall.

1002 Constitution. Note the grill on the porch wall.

 

1002 Constitution. Nice sweep, like 825 Constitution, above.

1002 Constitution. Nice sweep, like 825 Constitution, above.

 

901 Rural.

901 Rural.

 

901 Rural.

901 Rural.

 

901 Rural.

901 Rural.

 

1001 Market.

1001 Market.

 

1001 Market.

1001 Market.

 

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927 Market. I love the sweet window on the second floor.

 

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927 Market. Wow.

 

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927 Market.

 

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828 Market.

 

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828 Market. Note the exaggerated dentil detail under the eaves.

 

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828 Market. Sweet.

 

913 Walnut.

913 Walnut.

 

913 Walnut.

913 Walnut.

 

1021 Walnut.

1021 Walnut.

 

1021 Walnut.

1021 Walnut.

 

622 Union. This is the smallest curvaceous house so far found.

622 Union. This is the smallest full two-story curvaceous house so far found.

 

716 State Street.

716 State Street.

 

716 State Street.

716 State Street.

 

1025 West Street.

1025 West Street.

 

1025 West Street.

1025 West Street.

 

807 Mechanic. Another super-sized version.

807 Mechanic. Another super-sized version.

 

807 Mechanic.

807 Mechanic. The column to the left would be original.

 

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1118 Mechanic.

 

1118 Mechanic.

1118 Mechanic.

 

1118 Mechanic.

1118 Mechanic.

 

814 bbnn. This house is a particular mystery. The house is very different than the houses above, stylistically.

814 Market. This house is a particular mystery. It is very different than the houses above. It appears about a decade older, from the 1890s (although the porch seems circa-1915). While the curvaceous window trim would SEEM to indicate the same hand which created the houses shown above, note how the trim is more exaggerated. Is this house the first iteration of all the houses which followed? A mystery!

 

814 Market.

814 Market.

 

814 Market.

814 Market.

 

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728 West 12th Street. On this house, the curvaceous trim is different. It was a thrill “discovering” it! But the house is certainly by the same architect as the above houses.

 

728 12th Street.

728 West 12th Street.

 

728 12th Street.

728 West 12th Street.

 

So, to date I have found nineteen curvaceous houses:

901 Congress

717 Constitution

825 Constitution

1002 Constitution

825 Exchange

1214 Exchange

814 Market

828 Market

927 Market

1001 Market

807 Mechanic

1118 Mechanic

901 Rural

716 State

622 Union

913 Walnut

1021 Walnut

1025 West

728 12th Street

More discoveries to follow….

12 Comments

  1. Gayle on September 28, 2014 at 1:40 am

    there is another house with curvy trim that I admire at 1419 Rural. It’s a green house with white trim. I enjoy your posts.

    • Rick S on September 4, 2017 at 11:26 am

      On google maps it looks like a match. Curvy Windowsill trim and triple gablie windows with diamond mullions. It has same comfortable feel like the others.

  2. Ross on September 28, 2014 at 1:46 am

    Hi Gayle!

    Thanks for the kind words! And the find! I will go check it out.

  3. Kitra on January 23, 2015 at 9:53 pm

    901 Rural is speaking to me….:) Love the low curving sweep, and the whisper of nooks and crannies to explore.

  4. Connie on April 17, 2015 at 3:41 pm

    Check out the house at 805 Walnut…it’s a really neat house…i grew up there…it has an old coal chute in it…and room…the woodwork is awsome fake windows…the porch is huge…i loved that house…not sure how old it is but it’s old! And in inside is just as neat with the bay windows and such.

  5. Patsy on August 12, 2015 at 4:45 pm

    Ross, have you ever been in 1111 Congress? I looked at it many years ago and it has the craziest floor plan, it reminds me a bit of 901 Congress.

    • Ross on August 12, 2015 at 5:02 pm

      Hi Patsy! No, I have never been inside 1111. Would love to!

  6. Sherry D Hyman on January 29, 2017 at 5:02 pm

    Hi Ross, sorry for this late message. Still trying to catch up on your blog. I don’t seem to do much else–work, feed the dog, read your blog.

    I have a question….could 825 Exchange be Squires’ take on the Craftsman style house?? My first thought when I saw it.

    Thanx for taking the time. I’m in love with what you’re doing with the Cross house.

    • Ross on January 29, 2017 at 6:25 pm

      I agree with you about 825.

      And thanks for the kind words!

  7. Rick S on September 4, 2017 at 8:48 am

    I love the corner detail below the porch columns the 814 Market St house I have never seen such a flourish.
    Very elegant.

  8. Tim O'Donnell on January 23, 2020 at 8:28 pm

    I loved this post on window aprons! Good eye Ross!

  9. Stephanas Zimmerman on May 13, 2020 at 2:06 pm

    Wow, I lived in two of those houses during my time in Emporia. 825 Exchange is closer to an Aladdin home. Also 825 Exchange, the original owner was a Doctor (I think his name was Black), whose son that died in a car accident is said to haunt the home. I also lived in 1002 market, you are right about that one…it almost fits a sears house but the back stairs in the kitchen and the rounded window of the dining room kind of make it not fit the sears mold.

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