Historic Structures

Fairview Mansion - Isaac Franklin Plantation, Gallatin Tennessee

On turning off the main road into the approach to Fairview one is introduced to the grandeur of this magnificant estate by an inspiring avenue of walnut trees, and following this for a pout one half mile to the mansion he passes the family mausoleum, the granary and many lesser important buildings. Terminating this avenue is a grand vista of the mansion house composing itself beautifully on a slightly higher bit of ground, and giving it a commanding view of thousands of acres in all directions. It is this imposing position of the house that prompted the appropriate name Fairview. Standing back in order to take in the gigantic facade, made up of two distinct sections, as before mentioned in this survey, one is impressed by the graceful silhouette brought about by combining two entirely different, but masterfully joined, types of architecture. The original, or main section, is typical of that dignified form so prevalent in middle Tennessee farm houses. The entrance feature conventionally follows its contemporaries in that it forms a white panel extending from ground to roof in the center of the house made up of first and second floor porches between two sets of simple white columns and terminating in a delicate pediment. Its whiteness is exaggerated, especially in the late afternoon,when the setting sun illuminates the columns, pediment and ballustrade bringing them out in sharp contrast with the soft salmon and red brick of the walls. To the right of the main section is the before mentioned addition consisting of a long wing, stepping down in height as it descends in social importance and as it follows the slope of the ground away from the center feature and thus creating this most delightful silhouette. This wing to the right joins and composes with the original section with such striking harmony that the radical change in architectural detail is at first overlooked, however, it is gradually perceptible that this whole wing is done in a definitely Spanish charactr as existed in the FELIC1ANAS OF LOUISIANA.

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Dousman Hotel and Railroad Station, Prairie du Chien Wisconsin

When its builder, The Milwaukee & Mississippi Railroad, extended a line to Prairie du Chien's Lower Town in 1857, it marked the beginning of a prosperous relationship with steamboat, barge and packet companies that plied the river from St. Louis to St. Paul. In the mid-1860's, the railroad and river lines effected a major relocation of their activities north to Prairie du Chien's St. Feriole Island; the program included not only construction of railroads, shipping facilities, a warehouse and a grain elevator, but also construction of the Dousman Hotel. The hotel was strategically located on tracts near the steamboat landings, in order to serve both rail and river passengers. By including a depot, waiting room and ticket office on the hotel's first floor, the Milwaukee & Mississippi Railroad ensured itself a steady clientele of travelers, as persons entering to make travel arrangements were thereby encouraged to patronize the establishment's well-appointed dining and sleeping accommodations. Not least among the Dousman's patrons were emigrants on their way to seek land in the trans-Mississippi West, principally Northern Iowa and Minnesota. They appear to have come to Prairie du Chien in such numbers that an emigrant depot was built nearby to augment the hotel's own waiting rooms. With the extension of rail lines north from Prairie du Chien and other river communities in the mid-1880's, the town's importance as a transshipment point declined. The Dousman Hotel, however, remained a popular establishment until after the turn of the century. Today it shares St. Feriole Island with other structural artifacts of Prairie du Chien's history, among them an American Fur Company warehouse and the Italianate-style mansion built for Jane Dousman, widow of Hercules Dousman.

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Great Captain Island Lighthouse, Greenwich Connecticut

In the years just before and after the Civil War, the Lighthouse Board, the agency established in 1852 to oversee the nation's navigational aids, undertook a program to modernize the lighthouse system. Many of the existing lighthouses were in poor structural condition, with inadequate lights and poorly trained keepers. The Board replaced the mirrored lamps found in nearly all its lighthouses with modern Fresnel lenses, issued detailed standards for operating the lights, and began replacing the worst structures with substantial new buildings. The first light at Great Captain Island, which had been built in 1830, was plagued by deteriorating mortar and cracked walls almost from the start, so it was a priority for replacement by the late 1860s. Because several other lights were being rebuilt at the same time, the Board turned to a single standardized design for six lighthouses in the Long Island Sound area. Such standardization itself became one of the central practices of the lighthouse service in the late nineteenth century. By designing nearly identical structures, the Board saved time and money at the design stage and achieved some economies of scale in the use ofmaterials. Equally important, the Board's standardized design made it more likely that the new lights would perform better than the old. This lighthouse design incorporated many significant new features. Like earlier lighthouses, it used substantial masonry construction to provide a bulwark against the ravages ofwind and sea, but in combining the dwelling with the tower, it not only saved material but also made it easier for the keeper to attend the light. This had been a problem with earlier lighthouses, most of which had a separate keeper's house: it was hardest to reach the light in stormy weather, just when the light was needed the most. The new design also made use of iron-plate construction for the tower. In this way it prefigured in a partial way the lights ofthe 1880s, which were entirely prefabricated from iron at a great savings in design, fabrication, and erection. The orb finial on the tower provided ventilation for moisture, combustion products from the lamp, and mercury vapors emitted by some rotation mechanisms. Ventilation was important not only for the keeper's health but also to avoid damage to the optics and structural deterioration caused by fumes and moisture. Finally, the architectural elaboration of the structure ~ the quoins, cornice moldings, and portico ~ while not of any particular architectural style, convey a well-built, carefully designed, substantial appearance intended to present a contrast to the deficient earlier lighthouse structures. Although it no longer has its original optics, Great Captain Island Light retains all ofits historical form, materials, and architectural details and thus stands as a well-preserved example of the standard lighthouse construction of the 1860s. Other lighthouses of this design, all in this area and built in 1867 and 1868, include Norwalk Island and Morgan Point, Connecticut; Old Field Point and Plum Island, New York; and Block Island North, Rhode Island. The lighthouses differ only in minor details, such as the placement ofthe rear ell and the height ofthe basement story.

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B&O Railroad Repair Shops, Martinsburg West Virginia

Since the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad Company felt that the facilities at Sandy Hook, Maryland, were inadequate, in 1849, $35,000 was spent for construction of various structures at Martinsburg to replace Sandy Hook. Besides the central engine station, a brick engine house with a turntable in front and 11 stalls for locomotives, a brick engine shop with a smithy and stationary engine shed attached, and two coal sheds with depositories for wood, were built at this time. In 1852, large expenditures were deemed necessary for the acquisition of additional grounds to construct shops which the company required for its prospective wants. In 1856, $11,555.69 was spent to widen the depot grounds and to construct the foundation for a new engine house. However, the Civil War interrupted plans to improve the facilities at Martinsburg. The city of Martinsburg was in a key location and strategically important to the armies of both the North and South. Since it served as one of the main depots for the B & O, it became the target for severe destruction by the Confederates in an attempt to cut off an important artery of Federal supply and communication. Federal forces occupied Martinsburg to keep Southern forces from the Shenandoah Valley. They also had to deal with citizens who sympathized with the South. In 1861, Confederate troops removed all stationary machinery, tools and materials, and the following year, it was necessary to replace a 50-foot turntable which the troops carried off. The greatest destruction occurred on October 19-20, 1862, and included the polygonal engine house, a half-roundhouse, large machine shops, a warehouse, ticket and telegraph offices, the company hotel and dining house, coal bins, sandhouses, a blacksmith shop, master mechanic house, tool houses, and the pumping engine for a water station.

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