Sunday, February 18, 2007

39-40xx Washington - Part 4

The most recent demolition on this block took place just a few months ago, when 4049 came down. When viewed from the street, 4049 Washington had the appearance of a typical 4 family apartment building built in the 1920's.
However, when viewed from the sides, it was clear that this was not the case. What reveals itself is the detailed brick and stone work of a mini mansion, which according to City records, was built in 1887. Its 6,000 s.f. neighbor to the east, built in 1891 was renovated for use as a bed & breakfast a few years ago.

At some point, the mansion was given a face lift, which totally changed its appearance from the front, it was doubled in size by adding to the rear, and converted to a residential hotel. Why would someone do this you ask?

My theory is that the change took place as a result of the massive tornado that ripped through the neighborhood in 1927. Many homes that were partially destroyed were re-built in the style of the day instead of being restored to their original appearance. There are still many examples of remaining buildings in the area that show this hodge podge of styles. By 1927, the area had changed from being a fashionable place to build a large home to one which attracted more renters.

Above is the west elevation of the original portion of the building. The slight change in brick color indicates the addition.
A tall stone trimmed window on the east side at the home's main stair.
A pair of intricately carved stone brackets at to top of the bay on the west side likely one supported a cantilevered portion (probably a large dormer) of the long gone 3rd floor.
Intricate stone and brick detailing over a triple window on the west side of the house.
By the time of the demolition, it was obvious that the building had been abandoned for many years (CSB reports list it vacant at least since 1996), and a portion of the 1920's addition had begun to collapse into the basement bringing down a part of the west wall.
Unfortunately in this case, attempting to restore the original house would have been extremely difficult due to the fact that the original front wall had been completely replaced , not just covered over. The original roof configuration which likely contained at least a partial third floor was also removed in the alteration.

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