Open house: Peek inside historic homes during Grout's annual tour
By MELODY PARKER, firstname.lastname@example.org
WATERLOO --- With its boxy shape and broad, sweeping front porch, Robin and Mike Burton's home at 546 Sunset Road bears all the hallmarks of the American Four Square.
Architecturally, the quintessential Four Square, sometimes called the "Prairie Box," incorporates characteristics of Prairie and Craftsman styles, even a little Queen Anne or Victorian influence, among others. Built in 1909, the Burtons' 2 1/2-story home features a hip roof with dormers on three sides and wrap-around porch and double-hung windows that hint at Colonial Revival influence. A decorative band beneath wide, overhanging eaves and square, tapered porch columns are undeniably Prairie.
The home is one of seven homes featured on the Grout Museum District's Old House Tour, which takes place from noon to 5 p.m. Saturday. Two commercial properties also are on the tour. Tickets are $10.
The Burtons' home has been well-kept throughout the years. "It's lived up to my expectations of being in an older home. It's well-built and gracious --- and there's nothing plumb or square anywhere in the house," she said, laughing.
"I fell in love with the big, sweeping porch. It's a home worthy of entertaining, it has a layout that's conducive to entertaining. I'd always wanted to live in a historic home, and we'll be in the house three years this November. We also have an open deck on the back with a view of Byrnes Park and a gazebo."
By contrast, the 1911 Craftsman belonging to Dean and Judy Toepfer, 251 Alta Vista Ave., is distinctly Craftsman with its wide eaves and exposed rafters. There is an unusual double gable on the east side of the brick-front, side-gabled bungalow that gives the roof extra angles. Stained glass windows and a large front porch are bonuses.
"I do some woodworking, so the woodwork in this house appeals to me. There's so much of it. These older homes are so individual and have so much character," said Dean.
Part of the enjoyment in an older home is its history, he explained. "You think about how many people lived here through the years, how many people have walked up and down the stairs, and how the home evolved."
Other homes on the tour include:
1930 Prairie, Jeff and Holly Bradley, 2058 Rainbow Drive. This two-story clapboard home with a one-story wing on either side exhibits the low-pitched roof and wide, overhanging eaves of the typical Prairie style. The facade emphasizes the horizontal lines, clearly revealed by the crisp white trim. Special details include massive round, tapered columns and eyebrow-style dormers.
1911 Craftsman, Debbie Hammer, 411 Hammond Ave. The charming 1 1/2-story Craftsman clapboard bungalow is a side-gabled subtype. Its low-pitched roof with wide eaves overhangs supported by knee braces and exposed rafter ends are typical details of this style. The full-width porch is supported by tapered, square columns. A more unusual feature is the curve above the porch supports.
1910 Bungalow, Ed and Tiffin Kunath, 408 Western Ave. This 1 1/2-story bungalow was on a previous Old House Tour when the owners were starting restoration. The work is nearly finished now. The clapboard front-gabled bungalow has a full-width front porch. Stone supports rise to square columns with decorative trim to accentuate the porch. It was built with Beaux Arts features, including floral motifs.
1953 Ranch, Steve Volz, 160 Berkshire Road. The asymmetrical one-story ranch home has a low-pitched roof and moderate eave overhang. It shows a maximum facade by incorporating the garage, a new feature for "modern" homes. Another new idea in these homes was private outdoor living spaces in the rear, as opposed to front porches of earlier styles.
1923 Eclectic, First Baptist Church, 434 Baltimore St. The unusual style of this beautiful brick church is readily apparent by its hexagonal shape. Corinthian capitals on round columns show Greek Revival influence. The brick facade with accentuated cornices and decorative inserts of stone show Beaux Arts detailing, a style common through the 1920s. Open from 1 to 3 p.m. Saturday only.
1900 Adaptive Reuse Structure, UNI Center for Urban Education, 800 Sycamore St. This building began as a railroad warehouse when railroads ran through the center of Waterloo. Built of cut-stone blocks, there are decorative stone arches over large windows and doors with a stone course running horizontally to draw attention to the arches. These windows were originally freight loading docks.
This event is presented by the Rensselaer Russell House Society, Friends of the Snowden House, and the Waterloo Historic Preservation Commission and is sponsored by Koch Construction.
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