Monday, November 7, 2011

2 More in St. Johns Quarter

Before I leave St. Johns Quarter in Jacksonville's historic Riverside, here are two more homes that will make you stop in your tracks, pause, and appreciate how much quality architecture and design contribute to a neighborhood, a city, and good living!  These are examples of the kinds of buildings that make me love this part of town.

1802 Copeland Street, built 1919-1920, Ransom Buffalow architect.  This house is pure Prairie School style, as was most of Buffalow's work, and is one of his finest designs.  According to Jacksonville's Architectural Heritage, Buffalo's career is somewhat of a puzzle; he arrived in town in 1910 and advertised himself as a "builder and designer," but never referred to himself as an architect.  He built this house for William P. Baldwin, of the Baldwin-Lewis Naval Stores Company. 

A continuous projecting sill under the second-story windows is part of the Prairie School emphasis on the horizontal, as is the low-pitched overhanging roof.   The front door and the windows astride it are leaded glass.  Note that the angle of the windows follows the lines of the arched opening to the porch.

The detailing on the chimneys (there are three) and the urns that flank the front steps are also good examples of Prairie School design.  The urns, in fact, are reminiscent of Frank Lloyd Wright's architectural details (but, then, so is the whole house).

Buffalow used both double-hung and casement windows in his design.  The double-hung windows are in groups of three (common in Prairie School designs) with diagonal cross-grids on the upper sash.  They are part of the symmetry in the central part of the house; the casement windows help set apart the sun rooms on the right side of the house, which breaks the symmetry and, therefore, the predictability of the house.  An additional fixed window is above each casement window.

The Prairie School style started in Chicago; most buildings in this style were constructed between 1905 and 1915.  The popularity of the style quickly faded after World War I, and most architects in the nation and Jacksonville abandoned it.  Ransom Buffalow did not.  Even after the war, he designed and built a number of notable examples of Prairie School homes in Jacksonville which, happily, remain to provide us pleasure today.  Next, a very different style house from the same era, designed by Jacksonville's first and most celebrated female architect.

1819 Goodwin Street, Henrietta C. Dozier, architect.  Jacksonville's Architectural Heritage lists 1924 as the year of construction, but Trulia and other internet sites say 1913.  Dozier was born in nearby Fernandina Beach; her family moved to Atlanta when she was three years old.  She was one of only three women in a class of 176 at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where she graduated with an advanced degree in architecture in 1899.  She spent her early career in Atlanta before moving back to North Florida in 1914 (this lends credence to the later construction date; she was not in Jacksonville in 1913).

The house is Dozier's singular vision; it does not fit into a specific category of style, although she described it as "pure Georgian in style."  The front elevation  projects a sense of size; the house looks and feels big.  The balcony and massive arched windows above the front door add to this effect.  The back of the house faces the St. Johns River, while the front faces a large courtyard, rather than the street, which runs alongside the house. 

A look through the window of the front door reveals a front desk which indicates the house is now used for commercial purposes, however, original features of the residence remain.  On the left, you can see the beginning of the broad circular stairway that sweeps up to the second floor (and blocks our view of the room on that side of the picture).

Goodwin Street is one of the borders of St. Johns Quarter.  This house is on the river at the junction of Goodwin Street and River Boulevard.  A large apartment complex just to the east looms over the house, nearly encroaching on its space.  The stairs leading up to an elevated walkway is an obvious addition and not part of Dozier's original design.

I got this view of the rear of the house by holding my camera up above the fence that runs along the side of the backyard.  Unfortunately, trees blocked a clear view of the house and the fence prevented me from getting any closer.                   

I used the same "camera over the fence" method to get this view of the property's conclusion at the St. Johns River.  Go back to the picture of the home's interior and you'll notice that the room has a wide view across the lawn to the river.

This five bedroom, 2 bath home (3,908 square feet) was built for the family of Charles Welshans at a cost of about $20,000. 

Henrietta Dozier seemed to think there was nothing particularly unusual about competing in what was then very much a man's world.  She wanted to become an architect, so she did become one.  The Jacksonville Historical Society has a very interesting interview with Dozier from 1939 on its website:   In addition to the interview, the site includes interior pictures of this house and photographs of other buildings designed by Dozier.

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