c. 1845 Greek Revival – Blair, SC – $95,000

For Sale
Added to OHD on 5/9/19   -   Last OHD Update: 5/9/19   -   38 Comments
8029 State Highway 215 N # 8126, Blair, SC 29015

Maps: Street, Aerial

  • $95,000
  • 4 Bed
  • 1 Bath
  • 3304 Sq Ft
  • 22.5 Ac.
Circa 1845, Clanmore was built on a Winnsboro Blue Granite foundation from bricks made on the property. No wood framing here...it's brick thru and thru (including the massive 22" columns) with a stucco coat that we believe was added in the 1920s-40s era to make the house look more like a Greek Revival. The heart pine interior is from trees felled in the yard. Everyone's favorite story about Clanmore goes like this: Union soldiers stormed the house and tore up all the new fancy dresses (among other things) that belonged to the owner's niece, Lula. They threw a torch onto the staircase before they rode away. Lula grabbed the torch and threw it outside. She then extinguished the flames inside. The next wave of Union solders saw that the house was still standing so they torched it again. However, again, Lula thwarted their efforts. I guess she was really mad about those dresses! They never returned and the house still stands today but there, on the staircase, sure enough, is a burned area! Other than the staircase damage that the only two families who have ever owned this house have lovingly ignored, it is in amazing condition for being 175 years old. Where were the vandals? It has water and septic lines and at least partial wiring. The ductwork is in place for HVAC. The floors are in beautiful shape. The 30-year roof is 19 years old. The windows and plenty of wavy glass are in place. Original trim, mantles, doors + hardware! This beauty rests on 22.5 acres. Being sold AS-IS.
Contact Information
Elaine Gillespie, The Carolina Agent Group
(843) 604-1158
Links, Photos & Additional Info
Status, price and other details may not be current and must be independently verified.
OHD does not represent this home.

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38 Comments on c. 1845 Greek Revival – Blair, SC – $95,000

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  1. Architectural ObserverArchitectural Observer says: 544 comments
    OHD Supporter

    1918 Bunkhouse
    WestOfMiddleOfNowhere, KS

    You’re killing us with so many great houses, Kelly! How are we supposed to get anything done with all of these distractions? This particular house is very distracting. I’m mad about all of the interesting fireplace mantels — each is different and all are beautiful. I love the staircase… and the story that goes along with it. All old houses are special, but this one is extra special!

    39
  2. AvatarZann says: 532 comments
    OHD Supporter

    1940 Cottage
    Mobile, AL

    Someone needs to restore this in Lula’s honor. It’s the least we can do since she had so much spunk.

    I don’t know how old Lula was, but I have a teenage niece would I can easily see flinging a lit torch out the window out of spite because someone ruined her clothes.

    I may not know what I’m looking for, but are the scorch marks in the pictures? I didn’t see them, but I’m probably looking for something more dramatic than what is actually there.

    22
    • Architectural ObserverArchitectural Observer says: 544 comments
      OHD Supporter

      1918 Bunkhouse
      WestOfMiddleOfNowhere, KS

      The scorch mark can be seen in the last interior photo… just before the photos of the grounds begin. The burned area is in the crook of one of the winding stair treads at the foot of the staircase. It appears that the staircase has never been repainted since the event… what a fascinating bit of history!

      18
    • JimHJimH says: 4204 comments
      OHD Supporter

      Lula was 17 when Sherman’s army came through in February 1865. She was 10 months and 7 days old when her mother died at 19y 11m 7d, sad facts inscribed on her mother’s crypt. She was 15 when her father went “missing” at Antietam, never to be found. She lost so much, nevermind the dresses, and she could tell the story for another 66 years! It’s a blessing that the house survives.

      Maria Louisa Georgiana Feaster Wolling (1847-1931)

      6
  3. msjeanne28msjeanne28 says: 27 comments
    Palmer, AK

    I wonder how difficult it would be to remove that stucco- much of it is in bad shape and it’s not original. Sad to see so much damage, but if the brick bones are good, a lot could be done with this space and such a nice large pice of property.

    15
  4. AvatarScott says: 60 comments
    1951 Grants Pass, OR

    “At least partial wiring.” At least the listing agent didn’t pull any punches.

    11
  5. CharlestonJohnCharlestonJohn says: 848 comments
    OHD Supporter

    Charleston, SC

    Lula Feaster:
    http://sc-families.org/photo/3-photo.html

    25
  6. AvatarCate says: 182 comments
    OHD Supporter

    Milwaukee, WI

    Wow, such interesting history with this home. I also wonder if the stucco could be removed.Glad that the scorched section of stair was pointed out. A lot of work, but with all that land around it might just be worth it. Good post as usual, Kelly!

    13
  7. AvatarWinne says: 16 comments
    1930 Greensboro, NC

    Oh to be twenty years younger! This could be so lovely. I am curious about the placement of the fireplaces. Why are they not centered between the windows and why is one right next to the door?

    5
    • AvatarAJ Davis says: 90 comments
      OHD Supporter

      1850 Italianate, classical
      New Haven, CT

      There are three bays (windows and/or doors) and two fireplaces on each side of the house. Thus, one room with a fireplace will have two windows and the other will only have one window. I think that as you face the front of the house, the room with 2 windows on the left side of the house is the back room of the two rooms on that side, while it is the front room on the right side (as you face the house) that has two windows, judging from the symmetry seen in photos of the two external sides of the house regarding the placement of the windows and the fireplaces compared with the inside photos of the house. Unfortunately, it is hard to understand without more photos or floor plans the exact layout of the rear corner of the house with the outside door on the right hand side of the house as you face it from the front. The stairs actually seem to occupy part of what otherwise should be the room in the back of the right hand side of the house, and a door is where a window might be expected in the outside picture of the house. An interior photo shows that this door is beside a fireplace but does not show the whole room. The interior photo of that corner of the house from the hallway shows only a small door under the stairs that in turn is surrounded by a wall. I therefore suspect that that very small room on the other side of the stairs in the far corner of the house was used as a warming room for food that was cooked in an outside kitchen and which was then brought to the house through the side door, where it was kept warm in that room until it was ready to be served. That was fairly typical of larger houses of this period.
      However, what again becomes confusing is that if you look at the photo of the central hallway on the second floor, there is no wall in that photo to indicate that there is a bedroom on that back side of the house, or even on the opposite back side of the house, for that matter. I can’t tell from the available information, what exactly is going on here. The house is clearly not a fully symmetrical, simple and straight-forward central-halled house with two equally-sized rooms over two equally-sized rooms on each side of the corridor on each floor as one might initially think it is. All I can say for sure is that there are definitely two bedrooms on the second floor. There probably are four but there are no pictures of walls to confirm this from the perspective of the second floor corridor. I strongly suspect that there are two large and two small bedrooms (one of these two small ones is likely very small and that is the one over the warming room) on the second floor, but I don’t know for sure. It is almost undoubtedly out of view of the one shot of the upstairs corridor because the stairs occupy space where it would otherwise be. But I particularly don’t understand why a bedroom wall to the right at the top of the stairs is not visible. That’s why I wish houses like this one where photos fail to explain the whole story were accompanied by floor plans for purposes of clarity! But that is way more than you asked about so I’ll stop my ranting now… Otherwise, I did find the photos well done and helpful.

      7
      • Architectural ObserverArchitectural Observer says: 544 comments
        OHD Supporter

        1918 Bunkhouse
        WestOfMiddleOfNowhere, KS

        The unusual floor plan is just one of the many aspects of this house that elevates it above others. At least three bedroom doorways can be seen in the photo of the upstairs hall, but one is only partially seen (far right, by the newel post). There is likely a fourth to the left that is not visible. Tie rods may be seen traversing the house at ceiling height in the photo showing the entry hall (with open front door and stairs at left). I suspect the stucco may have been more about protecting the brick from moisture than a stylistic upgrade as suggested in the realtor’s description. This place needs to be documented with measured drawings (HABS) and detailed photos before it is altered by the next owners.

        6
      • Avatarelaineelainegillespie-com says: 2 comments
        1939 Cape Cod
        Columbia, SC

        I am the Listing Agent for Clanmore. I’m going to attempt to address some of the questions about Clanmore Plantation house here but can’t keep up with them all. Therefore, if you have a specific question or specific request, please write me at Elaine@ElaineGillespie.com or address questions on my Facebook page (where I often list historic properties that never make it here) https://www.facebook.com/elaine.gillespie1. You can also, of course, call me 803-446-3935.
        First to address the remark that the photos don’t tell the whole story…please keep in mind that my job is to market and sell houses, not document for old house historians. I want to leave questions in the viewer’s mind so they will come see the house in person. Also, I have a limit on the # of photos I can include on the MLS listing so sometimes I make the choice to, for example, show Lula’s torch mark rather than all the bedrooms. Another thing that can be confusing is which room is which and on what floor. How does anyone know if I showed the same bedroom twice simply showing different walls? Or what you might think is a bedroom could be a dining room, right? So FYI…the original structure of Clanmore is a perfectly symetrical 4 – square with the exception of space occupied by the staircase.

        1
        • Kelly, OHDKelly, OHD says: 10338 comments
          Admin

          1901 Folk Victorian
          Chestatee, GA

          Thanks Elaine!

        • AvatarAJ Davis says: 90 comments
          OHD Supporter

          1850 Italianate, classical
          New Haven, CT

          Elaine–Thanks for taking the time to write and explaining where you are coming from. It helps me see that you as a realtor may look at the house very differently from an architectural historian (which you understandably cannot be expected to be). An example of this is your comment that Clanmore is “a perfectly symetrical four square with the exception of space occupied by the staircase.”
          As someone who studied architectural history in the School of Architecture at the University of Virginia, and not as a realtor, my assessment would be bit different. I definitely feel the house is four square, but I think “symetrical” means different things to each of us and that’s why our assessments differ. I would say that the facade of the house is definitely symmetrical, but that the sides are not. The windows, doors (i.e., the “bays”) and chimneys do not line up symmetrically on the two sides, nor do the rooms inside. Unless I am grossly mistaken (and I will email you about this–thanks for the kind offer), the front room on the left side of the house as you face it is small and has only one window next to its fireplace on the side wall. The room on the right, on the other hand, is significantly larger and has a window on both sides of the fireplace. The outside side walls reflect this and they are therefore not symmetrical (i.e., they are not perfectly matched or identical as you view them from the inside or the outside of the house). So, an architectural historian would not call them symmetrical for this reason–the rooms facing each other across the internal hall are not of the same size or appearance which renders them asymmetrical. A small point, I know, and not so fine a detail that a realtor would care about it, although an architectural historian would. Even the two small rooms, as you noted, are not of the same size, probably unlike the two large rooms, as one is diminished by the staircase that takes up some of its internal space. So, I see how we use the term “symmetrical” in different ways and no one is right and no one is wrong–we just don’t necessarily mean the same thing when we use the word “symmetrical.”
          However, this lack of symmetry where one expects to find it actually gives this house an interest many other houses do not have. I suspect the small room on the left front of the house was possibly the owner’s office, where he could meet business associates to conduct business close to the front door without having to invite them further into the more private, living space of his family. Many owners had a separate building just for this function–the plantation office.
          The reason I rant about floor plans is that I live in CT and have very precise ideas about what I want as I consider buying a house in the south. Although I know realtors rarely have floor plans of their properties, I always ask if they do or else I ask for a verbal explanation of the layout of the rooms (where pictures of the interior do not exist or cannot be relied upon to tell me everything I want to know). A verbal description of one house made it obvious that a late Federal-early Greek Revival house had been modernized into a late 19th C Victorian or Edwardian and would not be conducive at all to the display of my collection of mid-19th C furniture. I buy a house to showcase my furniture, rather than vice versa. On another occasion, the seller was an architect who had in fact made detailed floor plans of the interior of the house. These floor plans completely clarified photos that showed that a wall had been removed and an apparent effort to shore up the falling result through what appeared to be the addition of a modern iron or steel structural beam (it was in reality an industrial style decoration that was holding up highly-place spotlights). The blueprints showed that changes had occurred in the part of the house that I could not figure out from the listing photos alone, and made me realize the house was perfectly safe and could easily be reconstructed internally to its original room configuration. The architect had also drawn up a very detailed list of all the work that needed to be done on the house and the cost of labor and materials for every project. That was a real boon that I would never have known about had I not asked the realtor if there were by any chance floor plans of the house. With this information, the house went to the top of the list of properties I was most interested in seeing.
          Again, since I live in CT and am looking for a VA or possibly a NC residence, this information greatly facilitated my deciding what houses I really wanted to see and which to delete from my list of possibilities.
          Your photos definitely put your house on my list until I decided SC was just too far south for me to venture. But if you do have an open house and I can fit it into my schedule, I may just come down to see it given how fascinating a place I think it is!
          I hope this helps to clarify why some people (like me) make such a big deal about getting as clear an idea as possible about a house before they arrange to see it. I don’t want to waste my time and travel expenses or the showing realtor’s time if a property simply isn’t going to work out in the long run and having the information I need is the only way to know for sure. But you did provide enough information in your photos for me to decide I was interested in this house–it was merely my attempt to answer someone else’s question about why some rooms had only one window next to a chimney whereas others had two that resulted in my saying that only more photos or floor plans could answer all the questions that were raised by the house for me and why I so wished floor plans (however rudimentary, I should add) were included in listings.

          1
  8. Avatarpeeweebc says: 857 comments
    OHD Supporter

    1885 Italianate.
    MI

    I was hoping this would be posted! Isn’t it awesome, just a tiny bit of history here LOL. This old girl has been through a lot.
    If I had the where with all….

    3
  9. CharlestonJohnCharlestonJohn says: 848 comments
    OHD Supporter

    Charleston, SC

    For anyone who wants to visit and learn more:
    https://www.facebook.com/events/920790158130168/

    A couple old pics:
    https://images.app.goo.gl/Z49Dgmk6jzxPsPDU6
    https://images.app.goo.gl/E979WEG2rB51ygjy5

    Newer pics and some history/ detail:
    https://www.scpictureproject.org/fairfield-county/clanmore.html

    13
    • AvatarAJ Davis says: 90 comments
      OHD Supporter

      1850 Italianate, classical
      New Haven, CT

      Many thanks for all this additional information–always welcomed by and helpful to those of us who appreciate the history behind the house!

      3
  10. AvatarDave says: 233 comments
    OHD Supporter

    1875 Queen Ann/Stick
    Des Moines, IA

    Houses like this with so much original detail give me hope every day. I would bear the burden of living forever if I had unlimited resources to restore them all! Love it.

    2
  11. Avatarannenduff says: 2 comments
    OHD Supporter

    1860 Carolina farm house
    CAMDEN, SC

    Oh dear, I’m smitten! She is an absolute beauty!
    That stucco MUST come off, its allowing moisture trapped under it to destroy the pointing between the bricks. See all that balck mold on the outside, due to trapped moisture. Its gotta come off asap.
    And 22 acres to boot! I’m swooning….
    Ah, I see this is a SC Preservation property…I’ll go to the open house for sure!
    They do put covenants on their properties, but usually for the best.

    5
    • AvatarWinne says: 16 comments
      1930 Greensboro, NC

      Thank you so much for the information. I agree a floorplan would be so helpful. It’s such a shame the house hasn’t stayed occupied. Hopefully, someone will buy it and share the restoration with OHD. If someone does go to the open house maybe they’ll share more pictures and info.

      1
    • Architectural ObserverArchitectural Observer says: 544 comments
      OHD Supporter

      1918 Bunkhouse
      WestOfMiddleOfNowhere, KS

      The stucco was likely put on for a reason other then fashion… removing stucco can invite additional problems — especially if the brick beneath it is of the “soft” variety. It would take inspection by an historic masonry expert to determine the best course of action.

      3
      • AvatarGregory_K says: 356 comments
        OHD Supporter

        Chatsworth, CA

        Good observations!

        2
      • Avatarelaineelainegillespie-com says: 2 comments
        1939 Cape Cod
        Columbia, SC

        I am the Listing Agent for Clanmore. You are the smart one…the brick was made on site by the builder and Mr. Feaster and it is clearly wearing away in the few tiny places where it is exposed. I love the stucco and feel like it has helped preserve the home.

    • AvatarAJ Davis says: 90 comments
      OHD Supporter

      1850 Italianate, classical
      New Haven, CT

      So glad you ascertained that this is a SC Preservation property! How did you do so–by calling the realtor? And how will you know when the open house is–by periodically checking the realtor’s website? Anything you can tell me would be greatly appreciated since I’ve decided I might like to see this house in person too, though it would require a trip from Virginia.

      1
  12. NonaKNonaK says: 152 comments
    OHD Supporter

    Austin, TX

    I can’t stop looking at this house! It’s too far from my kids and I’m too long in the tooth to “make her pretty again”, to quote Nicole Curtis. But it prompted me to research stucco on old homes and share this link FWIW. https://www.nps.gov/tps/how-to-preserve/briefs/22-stucco.htm As others have said, I thoroughly enjoy the knowledge that is shared on this site. It’s my #1 go to! Thanks Kelly!!

    5
  13. AvatarMystic says: 72 comments
    Huntley, IL

    Peace and quite and what can be an ideal home, loved it!

    1
  14. AvatarGregory_K says: 356 comments
    OHD Supporter

    Chatsworth, CA

    As noted above, I believe it’s possible that the stucco was added to stabilize the locally fired brick. Both exterior and interior photographs show very pale pink brick. The color usually indicates a low firing temperature, and therefore, very soft bricks.

    There are very old turn-buckles in the entry hall, further evidence, I believe, that the brick is very soft.

    Finally, how was the date for the stucco established? Many early brick homes were stuccoed when built to make them look more solid, monumental. Sometimes the stucco was painted to imitate stone. It’s also possible that this stucco was a replacement for earlier stucco that was failing and needed to be redone. The front columns would have looked very strange in un-stuccoed brick, but of course, that was not unheard of.

    4
    • Architectural ObserverArchitectural Observer says: 544 comments
      OHD Supporter

      1918 Bunkhouse
      WestOfMiddleOfNowhere, KS

      Agreed… On rare occasions houses were built with tie rods, but they were concealed. When they are obviously an afterthought — as these were — they likely serve to correct problems with the masonry. I also agree that it is highly possible that the house was intended to be stuccoed when built.

      1
  15. AvatarAJ Davis says: 90 comments
    OHD Supporter

    1850 Italianate, classical
    New Haven, CT

    You are indeed a good “Architectural Observer”! After your explanation of the third bedroom door opening on the second floor, I couldn’t believe that I had previously misconstrued what I saw as the beginning of a hallway due to the thickness of the door frame. Now I feel really stupid, but thanks for the clarification.
    What now becomes interesting, though, is that the bedroom whose door you pointed out, seems likely to be a small room (with only one window on the chimney side of the room), yet it is seemingly situated over a large room with two windows with a fireplace in between them. If in fact this is correct, it would mitigate against the second floor wall being made of masonry as there would be no masonry under it to support its weight. I realized a trip to the house (or those indisputably important floor plans) would be necessary to clarify if I have construed the layout of the rooms correctly. Just one more potentially unusual feature to this house, though.
    As you may know, South Carolina was hit by an earthquake some time after the Civil War that destroyed either partially or completely many masonry structures. That is why at least one of the houses on the East Battery (I think that is where it is) has the foundations of its columns on the front of the house but nothing above them. And why you see so many metal tie rods in the shape of stars on the outside of so many buildings there. I’m unsure if this house was in the earthquake zone or not, but it may have acquired the tie rods at that time if it did suffer potential earthquake damage.

    1
    • CharlestonJohnCharlestonJohn says: 848 comments
      OHD Supporter

      Charleston, SC

      The “Charleston Earthquake” as it was known occurred August 31, 1886 was centered just south of Summerville or about 15 miles northwest of downtown Charleston. The posted house is well over 100 miles away, and I’ve never heard reports of damage north of Columbia from the earthquake. I’ve seen estimates as high as 7.3 on the Richter scale, which is considered a major earthquake. It destroyed almost every structure in Summerville and severely damaged most buildings in Charleston. Charleston is the only place I know of that’s suffered both major hurricane strikes and a major earthquake.

      My favorite description of the quake is Richard Baker’s experience as recalled in the Chronicles of Archdale Hall by Emma Drayton-Grimke:
      “Dr. Richard Baker was alone, and ill in bed at Archdale, when the great Earthquake took place in South Carolina. Late in the night the entire south wall and three corners of the Hall fell out. Dr. Baker was able between the shocks to get out of his bedroom upstairs and on to the lawn, where he sat the remainder of that night alone under the first great live-oak in the avenue, facing the shaking house. … There was a strong odor of sulphur in the air and an oppressive breathless heat. Richard, sitting there alone in the dim light, heard strange sounds and saw the shadows of those long departed pass before him round their old home now falling to its ruin.”
      The house he described was one of the best Georgian houses in the area. Here it is just after the earthquake and just prior to completely collapsing:
      http://www.myarchdale.com/house/house2.jpg

      You’re right as to the earthquake bolts, as we call them. There were many houses bolted back together using them, but I’ve heard some houses had them prior to the earthquake, so go figure.

      2
      • AvatarAJ Davis says: 90 comments
        OHD Supporter

        1850 Italianate, classical
        New Haven, CT

        I guess some people can predict the future or are simply plain lucky!

    • AvatarStacy says: 210 comments
      1900 Maybe Craftsmen
      TX

      That a girl Lula!! I totally agree this home should be brought back to life in honor of Lula! She’d be so proud! And I’d bet with the right owner & in her honor she’d protect her home & anyone who lives there, & wouldnt mind sharing it forever! Not a bad thing to have on your side! Somebody just do it please!

  16. AvatarBradG says: 3 comments
    1847 Georgian
    Melbourne,

    Fascinating early house!
    Does anyone know if the columns and porch are original or added later?
    To me it looks disproportionate to the house and added later, or perhaps replacing an earlier configuration.

    1
  17. AvatarAJ Davis says: 90 comments
    OHD Supporter

    1850 Italianate, classical
    New Haven, CT

    I have no reason to know the answer since probably only careful study of the house could answer that question, unless historical documentation provides a clear answer, which some of the materials cited in other comments does, I think, offer (if I remember correctly, one source cited suggested that the house but not the columns were originally stuccoed, for example, whereas the exact opposite is much more commonly the case). But I do know that some very early Classical Revival houses had pretty sizeable, heavy-looking columns–look at the Custis-Lee Mansion in the Arlington National Cemetery (the pre-Civil War home of Robert E. Lee, via marriage), for example, another stuccoed building of about the same time period. Houses built in relatively remote locations where there were no architects to utilize were often designed by people who were primarily house builders rather than architects. They were generally far less sophisticated in their understanding of proportion and detail than well-established and trained architects like Robert Mills who were much better about getting everything “just right.” But every possibility you suggested seems potentially true unless and until it is contradicted by known evidence or evidence that has yet to be discovered.

    1
  18. AvatarBradG says: 3 comments
    1847 Georgian
    Melbourne,

    Thanks for your thoughts on the columns AJ, I had an email discussion with Mike Bedenbaugh from Preservation South Carolina who suggested the porch was modified following a cyclone in 1886, but believes the columns originally looked similar to those that are there now.
    Mike also said the two sets of entrance doors on Ground Floor and First Floor to the porch are very different, an interesting design anomaly.
    The entire house is very unusual, it’s not a standard symmetrical Georgian design with offset windows on the side elevations, and I suspect almost everything was fabricated on site, especially noticeable in the square newel posts, handrails and mantles, and very simple architraving and skirting.
    This would also perhaps explain why the porch columns don’t have bases or capitals, elements that would be more difficult to fabricate on site with the tools and expertise of the local tradesmen in the area at the time.
    It’s possible the round columns in one of the mantles shown in the photos were shaped by hand with a drawknife rather than a lathe, I’ve seen that done before in rural houses from the period.
    Does anyone know if that part of South Carolina was more isolated in the 1840’s with limited road access?
    I agree that houses built in relatively remote locations were less sophisticated in proportion and detail, but a very interesting element of the design is the way the side elevations are divided into bays by extending the line of the chimney breasts, a very elegant feature you would be more likely to see in urban areas at the time.

    • AvatarAJ Davis says: 90 comments
      OHD Supporter

      1850 Italianate, classical
      New Haven, CT

      Thanks for all the great information you shared, BradG, and especially seeking the opinion of someone from PSC. Did he by chance say why he thought the columns were original but modified after the cyclone, an act of nature I had no knowledge of since I know very little about SC history (including where this house is geographically in relation to any major cities or towns)?
      I emailed Elaine Gillespie, the agent for this property, and learned some very useful additional information from her. Whereas I had at one point referred to the larger rooms as being “significantly” larger than the small ones, she said she had counted the floor boards in the rooms (apparently in the absence of having a tape measure to utilize) and decided that the larger rooms were larger by no more than a foot, whereas I had assumed a much greater disparity between the two sizes. Relevant perhaps to your comment about the chimney breasts, she also noted that the mantels were not all the same size, by which I assume she may have been suggesting that further false impressions regarding the size of the rooms might have been created if one thought the mantels were all of the same size and used them as a frame of reference for judging the dimensions of the rooms.
      When I looked at the photos again, I also realized “significant” inconsistencies between whether or not the mantels intersected with the window (or door) frames that were next to them. With some of the window frames where two windows surrounded a mantel, the mantel often completely displaced in a very symmetrical fashion the lower part of the two window frames. However, in other cases, the mantel cut quite deeply into one of the two window frames yet was at least several inches away from even coming close to touching the frame on the other. In some rooms with only one window or door, the mantel cut into the frame despite the fact that there was significant space on the other side of the mantel so that this intrusion seemed completely unnecessary if they had just moved the mantel a few inches away from the door or window into the empty space on the other side. I could discern no pattern in terms of which of these formats was used–it all seemed quite haphazardly decided and arbitrary, and very odd given the attention that seemed to characterize other aspects of the detailing in the house.
      Although the rooms sizes definitely appear not to have been as disparate as I thought originally, the number of windows in a room coupled with the minor differences in the size of a room certainly suggests which rooms were considered the more important and which were considered of lesser importance by comparison. I do think that all in all, I correctly identified the warming room and the plantation office correctly and Elaine did confirm that these were the two smaller rooms on the first floor.
      The observation about the differences between the front facade doors was also of interest–glad you mentioned that. (Your reference to the ground floor and the first floor made me suspect you were British, as that is how the British refer to the levels in buildings; it can initially be very confusing to Americans who hear “first floor” in GB and end up on the seeming major entry level of a building and are unable to find what they have been told was located there). It looked to me from the first three photos of the house that the upper floor door on the facade had been inserted into what had previously been a tripartite window–I detected what I assumed was the base of the window frame in those three photos, tho I thought it was most evident in the third photo. The base was completely in line with the bases of the two other windows on that level. That would certainly suggest that the upper floor door that opened onto the roof of the porch was a later addition, and might even be construed by some as evidence that there originally was no porch at all and hence only a window and not a door in the upper level over the front door (and that the upper door was added when the porch was).
      It sounds like you take these details as seriously as I do, so thanks again for your comment(s)!

      1
  19. AvatarBradG says: 3 comments
    1847 Georgian
    Melbourne,

    Thank you again for your thoughts on the design features of the house AJ, it’s certainly a very interesting building to dissect with lots of quirks and anomalies!
    Mike didn’t elaborate on why PSC believed the columns and porch had been modified after the cyclone, but also observed that heavy, oversized columns were used in the area in the 19th century as a status symbol of wealth, at the expense of good design and proportions.
    I understand large, imposing columns were used on Plantation Houses in the South in general as a symbol of authority by slave owners towards their slaves, much the same as 19th century prisons were built on elevated ground in the style of fortified castles.
    That’s a very interesting observation about the possibility of the upper floor doors onto the porch originally being a window, I can see it going either way but it would explain the different design from the Ground Floor. Another anomaly is the Ground Floor entrance doesn’t have sidelights, only a fanlight which is very unusual. I would expect if you were constrained by budget or perhaps something like availability of glass in an isolated area, the builders would insert the sidelights on the Ground Floor rather than First Floor as part of ‘making a good impression’ upon visitors. Also the fact the First Floor has sidelights but no fanlight supports your theory that it was originally a tripartite window.
    I suspect even the doors may have been made on site, while it’s very hard work dressing timber by hand with wooden planes it’s not impossible, and if the doors had been made by machine in a joinery shop in a town I would expect the mantles to have been made in the same way, and they definitely haven’t been. The fact the doors are the less common 2-panel supports this, it’s easier making a 2-panel door than a 4-panel or 6-panel.
    In regards to ‘Ground Floor and First Floor’, I’m actually Australian!
    Australia was colonised by the British so design and terminology was transplanted directly from Britain. I worked on Colonial buildings (1820’s-1850’s) in Tasmania for around 13 years where I grew up, buildings in Tasmania from this period are very similar to yours in the United States, the main difference is columns and Greek pediments are much rarer in Australia, most early buildings will have a full length verandah, or porch, along the façade. The verandah was adapted by the British army in India in the 18th century and they took it with them when they colonised other parts of the world…along with rabbits, foxes and thistles!

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