Friday, July 17, 2009

Art Deco in Newtown

Today's post concerns a local building. Anyone from this area will be familiar with the Newtown Historic District in Staunton, Virginia. Most of the time when Newtown is mentioned in the local press or by the public in general, it is its "victorian architecture" that is mentioned. Well, Newtown actually has a lot more than victorian homes.

This is a house on West Frederick Street. This first picture came from the archives of the Historic Staunton Foundation. The house could be called Art-Deco or Art Moderne. It isn't known exactly when it was built, but I would guess around 1937. Art Moderne architecture is not directly organic, but it does contain a lot of interesting features, many of which have influenced organic architects, including Frank Lloyd Wright. Some of these features can be seen here in this old black and white photo. Note the streamlined look, the round corner with the large view windows, the eyebrows over the windows, and the porthole window above the exterior stairs on the right. Also interesting are the triple tile pipe vents.

Here is a new picture showing some of the same area:

Unfortunately the house has not been maintained well and it looks like it is split into two apartments at this time.

The side patio has been turned into a screened porch. The installation is totally incompatible with the existing house.

The rear patio.

There is a lot more to Newtown than meets the eye, and that goes for Staunton, too. I plan to document more examples of this in the future.

I was on vacation last week and had hoped to get by Frank Lloyd Wright's Cook Residence in Virginia Beach, but due to circumstances beyond my control, I didn't get it done.