I prefer the “transitional” seasons of fall and spring when change is apparent nearly every day. Of course all the seasons represent transition but when you think of them in terms of colors winter is white and summer is green whereas fall presents an array of colors and spring can too–though brown mud does prevail here in New England of course. There’s still quite a bit of color here in early November in Salem, though not for long: that late fall “starkness” is starting to set in. The welcome post-Halloween quiet is definitely here too, so I’ve been walking the streets and looking at houses again. For many years, one particular house on lower Essex Street has…….I guess the word would be drawn me. It’s not the most beautiful or well-maintained house, but there’s something about it that is very interesting to me. Stark, like this season. The juxtaposition of the windowless center gable with the rest of the house is curious. Anyway, I was walking by it the other day–a rather gloomy day–and it looked particularly striking, especially as contrasted with the residual bright foliage in other parts of town. It’s an old Crowninshield house, built in the 1750s and turned into a “tenement” in 1849 by a private housing trust named the Salem Charitable Building Association, and I think it’s been a rooming house since that time. I’m assuming that the center entrance gable (???? I’m really not sure what to call it) is an addition and would love to hear some expert opinions on this house!
And the last of fall (and summer):
November 7th, 2018 at 6:16 pm
I’ve always suspected that house is late 17th–not mid-18th century. That center gable looks suspiciously like the front of a cruciform plan post-medieval structure or a 3 gable first period house. And there’s a saltbox style lean-to on the back that makes me think there was originally a steep roof that got covered over with a gambrel. The stuck-on quality of the Georgian details feel like after thoughts — or a later update. No evidence whatsoever for these theories — just eyeball and gut instinct — but I’d love see up in the eaves of that house!
November 7th, 2018 at 7:09 pm
I know that you like the house too, Donna; it’s very notable.
I didn’t have time to do really thorough research at this time, but to me it looks like basic vernacular Georgian with the entrance added LATER, except for the detail. But I am no architectural historian! Hopefully someone will weigh in here. Maybe a for sale sign will go up, with an open house, and we can sneak upstairs and look at those beams!
November 9th, 2018 at 3:17 pm
Beautiful pictures! And I agree–the house is very striking. I think it’s the lack of window in the center, like a house with an eye patch or the inverse of a cyclops. 🙂
November 9th, 2018 at 3:30 pm
It’s definitely that windowless entry, but I never thought about it like that!
November 9th, 2018 at 3:48 pm
I have a bad habit of anthropomorphizing buildings. I also “suffer” from ordinal linguistic personification. It helps when you’re a writer.
November 16th, 2018 at 2:59 pm
Looks like a very classic, albeit simpler, Georgian projecting pediment with an entry. You see more grand versions of that type of entry in buildings like the Jeremiah Lee Mansion and the Lindens.
Always wanted to get inside that one…