Projecting Lintels - What Period/Style?

ntl1991August 5, 2012


Is there a technical name to the projecting lintels in the photos below? I don't have an up-close photograph, but they have corbels on either side and dentil molding.

During what period or style was this kind of work done? This is a New England duplex home, built in a mill town. Two-over-two windows (30" x 60"), field stone foundation, dirt basement floor, horsehair plaster walls, concealed knob-and-tube wiring (may have been retrofitted as outlets are mostly in baseboard), plain black/brown porcelain doorknobs, 4-panel interior wood doors, and the original 4" casing with corner blocks shown below (only installed downstairs. Upstairs rooms have plan, flat 2-by wood casing). Bathrooms may possibly have been added after the home was built. Front and rear entry doors (tall, 83" high front entry doors) are under canopy porches with corbels and dentil moldings. Entry doors look similar to the photo attached below with the exception of the panels outlined in black.

Can anyone give an idea as to the decade, perhaps, when this home was built? I'm guessing somewhere around 1900-1915.

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I would put it quite a bit earlier -- maybe 1860-1880. Are there any old maps or plat plans of your town?

What's going on with the door at the bottom?

    Bookmark   August 5, 2012 at 9:34AM
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OK, interesting. I haven't been able to find any old maps or plat plans.

The door at the bottom is the most similar door I could find. It shows the panel layout of the actual doors on the house which I don't have pictures of. Perhaps it would give a clue to the styling...

I did find out the years that some local mills (within 3 miles) were built. 1815, 1831, 1832, 1850, 1886, 1893, 1896. By 1895, there were 15 mills in operation in the town.

    Bookmark   August 5, 2012 at 2:13PM
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OK, so I was wrong. A quick google got me a bird's eye map from 1895. I've outlined some homes with colors to compare them then and now.

Just a little trivia, the house outlined in blue was actually a stage station. The crow's nest on the 3rd floor was a lookout to see where the coaches were around the town. These houses are at the top of a hill, about 80 feet higher than the bottom.

    Bookmark   August 5, 2012 at 2:36PM
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Wow, what a great find! It certainly looks like your house was there in 1895. Is the staircase original? What does it look like -- especially the newel post?

    Bookmark   August 5, 2012 at 4:58PM
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Staircase is just a set of stairs between two walls. Nothing fancy at all. When you enter the back door, the staircase up is directly in front of the doorway.

    Bookmark   August 5, 2012 at 9:41PM
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I don't know half as much about this topic as many others here, but it seems to me that your house was built MUCH earlier than 1900. Just from the appearance of the house plus your description of the front door and stairs layout, I would guess late 18th century/early 19th. If so, then the lintels and door overhang were later additions.

    Bookmark   August 7, 2012 at 2:04PM
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I think you are talking about the cornice roof returns, which are a feature of Greek Revival architecture and very common to 19th century New England houses.

    Bookmark   August 7, 2012 at 6:19PM
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I don't think I'm talking about the roof returns, which are without a doubt very common on houses in this area.

What I'm talking about are the projecting window crowns, or entablatures, or window hoods, or window caps, or whatever the term is, over the 1st and 2nd floor full-size windows.

I am intrigued by them because this home is the ONLY home I've seen within a good distance (miles) that has such ornate trim work, and the fact that it is a duplex home, and *not* a single family home makes it even more intriguing to me.

Perhaps, as jlc has mentioned, they were added after the home was built...

I will add that the front door hardware was bronze with an ornate design on the face of the knob as well as the plate that the knob shaft passed through. The front doors also had cast iron "LETTERS" slots just below the one-piece window in the front doors.

At the top of the stairs on one unit (which now has forced air), there's a large ornate cast-iron heat register (1.5' x 1') that appeared to be original. It's now used as a return for the forced air, but the only other ducted register upstairs was in the bath, which was added when the room was remodeled. There were similar moveable metal vents in the hallway and bedroom floors upstairs which allowed warm air from the downstairs rooms up to the bedrooms. The downstairs ceilings were redone at some point, and the vent holes were sealed to allow for some degree of privacy in the bedrooms. The wood patches in the floorboards are evident though in the bedroom floors.

In the other unit, there's one-pipe steam heat. The supply steam pipes for the 2nd floor are exposed in the corners of the 1st floor rooms, which means steam was probably installed after the house was built. I'm not sure if there were vents there as well, but I could only assume there were.

There are no fireplaces in this house, only two separate single-flue chimneys which vent the furnace/boiler and water heaters.

One side had the bath redone in the 80s. The other side has bathroom that has a clawfoot tub. They appear to have possibly been small bedrooms before if the baths were not original.

Aren't the two-over-two window panes too big for an 18th century home? Or were the windows possibly not original, but replacements during the 19th or 20th century, when making glass panes that large was possible. Same question for the front doors, they have single panes of glass, probably about 24" x 30"...


    Bookmark   August 7, 2012 at 10:07PM
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Not following your question. It's not an 18th century home, period. It's a 19th century home.

    Bookmark   August 10, 2012 at 12:34AM
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