Daily Archives: June 29, 2011

After the Fire: Fairfield Street

Another street in Salem that was completely rebuilt almost immediately after the Great Fire of 1914, and which reflects both the architectural styles that were then popular and fire safety concerns, is Fairfield Street, just off Lafayette Street.  With its landscaped front lawns and designated driveways, Fairfield looks like a suburban enclave in more urban central Salem, and its stately architecture reinforces that impression.  With the exception of the  charming Dutch Colonial cottage which leads off below (with its substantive slate roof–I can only imagine what a boon the Fire must  have been the slate roofing industry, and of course fire-retardant asphalt shingles were just taking off too), most of the houses on Fairfield Street are Colonial Revival or Arts and Crafts Foursquare Houses built of brick, concrete or stucco: they are fortresses against future fires.

The doorway of the newly-built house above, from Frank Cousins’ Colonial Architecture  of Salem (1919).  Cousins singles out Fairfield Street as an example of the ongoing popularity of Colonial architecture, and particularly praises those architects who include details from Salems old houses in their plans.

Cousins particularly liked these last two brick houses, which he found evocative of Chestnut Street’s Federal mansions in  terms of both details and composition, more so the former, I think; it was all in the details for him.

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