Historic Structures

Chicago, Burlington and Quincy -CBQ- Railroad Roundhouse and Shops, Aurora Illinois

The Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Railroad Roundhouse and attached backshop complex located in Aurora, Illinois, are a group of intricately-connected structures built between 1855 and 1954. The complex is all that remains of an extensive railroad shop facility that once filled the 60-acre industrial site on the east side of the Fox River. Extant structures, include a roundhouse, 3 attached machine shops, a rod shop, a blacksmith shop, boiler room, tool room, and wheel corridor and bay. They are an important part of America's engineering heritage not only because of their age and architectural features but because of their contribution to the development of midwestern railroads in general and the CB&Q in particular. Portions of the complex are among the oldest railroad shop buildings in the United States. The roundhouse is the oldest full roundhouse still standing, pre-dating by some 10 years the Baltimore & Ohio West and East Roundhouses (1866 and 1870-72) in Martinsburg, West Virginia. It may also be the only stone roundhouse still standing. The stone machine shop (1856) ranks with the B&O Machine Shop in Grafton, West Virginia (1853-54), and the Central of Georgia Savannah Repair Shops (1850's) as the oldest railroad structures of that type. The Aurora boiler/engine room (1856), machine/erecting shop (1863), and the combination blacksmith and boiler shop (1873) are also noteworthy because of their age.

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The Wallach Building, Trenton New Jersey

The Wallach Building is a commercial building erected on the corner of State and Broad Streets, the heart of downtown Trenton. The modern steel frame building with greatly simplified classical detailing replaced nine individual 19th century buildings which had crowded together on this site. Planned in the Roaring Twenties, but completed during the Depression, the Wallach Building was the most modern building in this block of downtown. The building was most popularly known as part of the Dunham's Department Store in the 1950s and '60s, and it carried a lighted sign for Dunhams on the corner overlooking State and Broad Streets. The Wallach Building site has been a bustling corner 1n the heart of downtown Trenton's commercial area since the early 19th century. In the 1920's The First National Bank of Trenton began to consolidate ownership of the nine existing buildings on the corner of East State and Broad Streets, so that by 1928, the entire site could be sold for development. The existing buildings were razed, and construction on the new four story block began in 1929.

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Trenton House Hotel, Trenton New Jersey

The Trenton House was one of Trenton's most famous and prestigious hotels in the 19th century, serving politicians in town for the work of the state legislature and travelers who arrived at the nearby railroad station. Transformed to a hotel from a Georgian-style residence in 1824, the Marquis de Lafayette stayed here duing his American tour of that year. In 1861 President-elect Abraham Lincoln was a guest at the Trenton House while traveling to his first inauguration. Lincoln was given a reception here, and he addressed crowds of citizens from the hotel balcony. The hotel was a gathering place for many other politicians during the 19th century, and the legend grew of the Trenton House's Room 100, where deals were made and political careers won 6r lost. The hotel was noted for the high quality of its rooms, service, and food. Additions and alterations to the hotel were made every few years in the latter 19th century to keep it up-to-date. The dining rooms and restaurants on the first floor continued to attract customers at the turn of the century, even as the hotel itself began to decline in the face of competition from newer establishments. The Trenton House kept its name for little over a century, but a 1927 change of ownership made it the Milner Hotel. The Depression years were hard on the business, and in 1941, the once-grand ground-floor spaces - the lobby, the billiard hall, and dining rooms were destroyed as the interior was carved up into fourteen small shops. Gradually, the upper floors of the building were abandoned, and by the 1970s, the old hotel was derelict.

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Kenworthy Hall - Carlisle-Martin House, Marion Alabama

In February of 1858, Edward Kenworthy Carlisle acquired 200 acres, encompassing the gentle rise between two small creeks, with a fresh natural spring at the base of the hill. Many of his relatives owned land and lived in plantation houses in the area, and since 1843 Carlisle had lived in a one-story brick dwelling on land that he purchased, located in the neighboring section of the township. After that date he slowly began to acquire lands around the present site of Kenworthy Hall, eventually amassing approximately 440 acres by the time he deeded the property to his wife in 1867. Carlisle wrote his first letter to Richard Upjohn on May 4th, 1858, inquiring about ideas and terms for designing a country house. Carlisle saw an image of his future house, however, in mid-March of the same year, when his brother-in-law, Leonidas N. Walthall, shared the Richard Upjohn design he chose not to build and suggested it as a possible design for Carlisle. Walthall was so well pleased with Upjohn's services and gentlemanly manner that he apparently tried to encourage many of his neighbors to engage R. Upjohn & Co. as their architect. I have a friend who is preparing to build a house, Walthall wrote in March, 1858. I think the design No. 2 which you sent me would suit him exactly. The correspondence shows that the official planning stages for the house took place from May, 1858 until into early 1859, when letters continued to discuss details about the villa's design even as supplies began to arrive the long route from New York to Carlisle's building site near Marion. On September 1st, 1858, Carlisle expressed his concern at not yet finding a builder for his house so late in the year and estimated when each stage might be completed. But now late in the season and not more than the foundations can be done before the fall and winter rains commence, he wrote. So the brick work will be mostly put up next spring and the early part of the summer, he calculated, but all this depends on the contract when one [is] made. By November 4th he had engaged a builder and wrote to Upjohn that the foundation now laid off and work to commence, marking the official beginning of Kenworthy Hall's construction. The available Carlisle to Upjohn correspondence ends abruptly in December, 1859, but letters exchanged between Robert Jemison, building an Italianate villa in Tuscaloosa designed by John Stewart, formerly of the Philadelphia architectural firm of Sloan and Stewart, and Philip Bond, a master brick mason who supervised the brickwork for Kenworthy Hall, shows that Bond expected to complete his work in Marion by early June, 1860. The house's design, construction, and convenience characteristics also reflect the era in which it was built, including gas lighting, massive newel posts, and circular sawn exposed timbers in the attic.

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Longacres Park Horse Track, Renton Washington

The development of Longacres began June 23, 1933, when successful Seattle real estate investor Vinson Joseph Gottstein signed a ten-year lease option for 101 acres of the James Nelson dairy farm in the Green River Valley. In anticipation of the project, Gottstein had organized the Washington Jockey Club earlier that spring. From the newly-formed Washington Horse Racing Commission, he secured a 40-day racing season to commence on August 3rd, and hired architect B. Marcus Priteca to begin preliminary design work. Priteca's earliest extant drawing for the project is a site plan of the Nelson farm parcel, dated June 21, 1933. Subsequent drawings for the initial phase of development date from June 30 through July 18, overlapping several weeks of actual construction work in July. To meet the August 3rd deadline, construction proceeded at a pace remarkable even by the standards of that era. Twentyeight days from the first shipment of lumber to the site, the track was completed. A plentiful force of willing labor, made possible by widespread Depression unemployment, allowed work to continue into the night. Despite one serious downpour, construction remained on schedule.3 On opening day, August 3, 1933, Longacres boasted a freshly painted red and silver grandstand, a two-story clubhouse with open verandas, a paddock, a jockey's building, and various smaller structures. Across the sandy racing oval and its undeveloped infield was an orderly backstretch complex of some 40 stables.

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