Historic Structures

Missouri Pacific Railway Depot, Wisner Louisiana

Economic development and a link to the outside world were the two main notions rural people associated with the railway at the end of the nineteenth century. Poor roads and the lack of navigable waterways had kept many small farmers, particularly in the ante-helium south, from reaching their full economic potential. This was especially the case in Louisiana where vast tracts of timber remained uncut and crops were primarily produced for local use. After the Civil War, however, the railroad made its way through the Louisiana countryside. Between about 1880 and 1910, some five thousand miles of mainline track were laid, opening sparsely populated areas to settlement. Small communities now had hope that if the railway came to their town, they would have economic prosperity and not just merely survival. This was likely the case for the present town of Wisner, Franklin Parish, Louisiana. The area embracing the railway at Wisner was first settled in about 1830 by a man named William Blunt. He purchased roughly 3,900 acres which became known as the Hope Estate Plantation. The land in time passed to heirs residing in Maryland who controlled the property via a local business manager. Unfortunately for Blunts' descendants, mismanagement resulted in the property's acquisition in 1876 by a New Orleans creditor. The Hope Estate Plantation eventually became known as Bryan City after it was sold at sheriffs sale in 1877 to a Mr. Bryan.

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Abraham Curry House, Carson City Nevada

This house vas built and lived in by the founder of Carson City, who was also the first Superintendent of the U.S. Mint at Carson. The house resembles much earlier prototypes and is largely in its original state. Abraham, Abram, or Abe, Curry was born in Ithaca, New York in 1815. Little is known of his early career, but by 1858 he was in Western Utah. In company with three other men, he came to Genoa in that year from California, intending to establish a general store there. Finding the price of land in Genoa too high, the four men - A. Curry, B.F. Green, Frank M. Procotr and J.J. Musser - rode a few miles north to Eagle Valley, then owned by John Mankin, who operated the Eagle Ranch. They asked Mankin the price, which was the same as a small lot in Genoa, and bought it from him for even less than his first asking.

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Henry Marvin Yerington House, Carson City Nevada

Henry Marvin Yerington was born in Colburne, Ontario, Canada on September 5th 1829. In 1858 he married Susan Mary Hume, and in 1863 with his wife and two sons came to Carson City. At this time Yerington was- associated primarily with milling operations. He is listed in the 1868-69 Directory as Yerington, H.M., millman. He constructed the first flume for sending timber down from Lake Tahoe to the Carson Valley. By 1868 he was associated with the Virginia and Truckee Railroad, which was organized in March of that year, and drove the first and the last spikes for the V. and T, tracks from Virginia City to Carson City. In 1872, he was appointed General Superintendent of the V. & T. There were three sons and a daughter of this first marriage. The first Mrs. Yerington died in May 1874, and in 1887 Mr. Yerington married Clara Bender. There was one child, Henry Herbert, of this marriage. In 1876 Yerington became Vicepresident, as well as continuing to be General Superintendent, of the railroad. He was also largely responsible for the Carson and Colorado Railroad, which was completed in 1882 and sold to The Southern Pacific Company in 1900.

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United States Post Office, Carson City Nevada

On January 5S 1885, the United States Senate passed a bill appropriating $100,000 for a public building in Carson City. Nevada Senators Stewart and Nye were largely responsible for the appropriation, and on page 278 of his Reminiscences, Stewart notes that he prevented the conversion of the Mint into a public building and secured mandatory legislation with an appropriation for the construction of the present Government Building at the capital. Several citizens of Carson City were then appointed as a commission to select an- appropriate site for the building. A protracted search, ensued, during which, time the not too distant city of Reno offered a Block appraised at $30,000 if the Building would be located there. Some three years after the original appropriation, work vas begun. Upon completion, the building was occupied by the Post Office, land office, United States Courts, and the Weather Bureau. In all, sixteen rooms were assigned to various agencies. As might be expected, the occupant most involved with affairs of a historic nature was the United States Court. Perhaps the most noted events the building witnessed were the trials relating to shortages in the refinery at the United States Mint: U.S. vs. Heney, James, December 1895, U.S. vs. Jones, John T., May I896, and U.S. vs. Piper, Henry,, March, 1896. The details of the trials are dealt with in the book Mint Mark CC. Suffice it to say here that the trials were conducted in the U.S. Federal Court presided over by Judge Thomas P. Hawley, and that all three men, former Mint employees, were found guilty. In all, some $75,000 had been taken from the Mint vaults.

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Blenheim Hotel, Atlantic City New Jersey

Four years after the Marlborough was completed, the Children's Seashore Home property across Ohio Avenue came up for sale. Popular tales recount that the owners offered the land to Josiah White and, when he was not interested, suggested that an amusement company would be glad to take the property. At that point, of course, White reappraised the situation and bought the property. In fact, the Marlborough Annex Company acquired the land, and in the summer, William Price, working as Price and McLanahan, Architects, was asked to make the plans for a new building. In the four years since the completion of the Marlborough, a number of significant events had occurred that shaped the new building. First, was the success of the Marl borough, demonstrating that the public's appetite for luxury was not diminished, and forcing White to demand a mode of construction that would have minimum impact on his clientele. Second, in 1902, a portion of Atlantic City was destroyed by a fire that wrecked White's own Luray Hotel and many others east of Kentucky Avenue. The danger of fire had been a serious concern of the resort industry for half a century, with three memorable fires in nearby Cape May to serve as reminder to the public. It could be anticipated that the new hotel would be of fireproof construction. The choice between steel and the new technology of reinforced concrete was resolved for the Blenheim by the danger of a steel strike in the Fall of 1905, and by Price's experience with reinforced concrete in the Jacob Reed's Sons' store of 1903-04 in Philadelphia. There, Price had demonstrated the material's appropriateness for public buildings—instead of restricting it to industrial design—and had found it to be a relatively quiet mode of construction, certainly less noisy than the riveted steel of contemporary practice.

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Marlborough Hotel, Atlantic City New Jersey

In 1900, nearly a half century after the Dennis was established, Josiah White, owner of the Luray Hotel and a Quaker, acquired the property of the school and the Convent of the Sacred Heart for a new hotel. That year, he retained Philadelphia Quaker William L. Price (1861 - 1916), previously designer of additions to the Luray as well as architect of the new dining room for White's cousin Daniel White's neighboring Traymore Hotel. Price had already established a reputation as a hotel architect with the chateau style Kennilworth Inn of 1890 at Asheville, North Carolina, which received much attention in the architectural press. During the last decade of the nineteenth century, Price's various firms provided plans for the additions to several Atlantic City hotels as well as another in Asbury Park, New Jersey in 1897. Price's decision to design a shingled chateau style hotel on the beach may seem something of an anomaly, particularly in light of his theories about the Kennilworth Inn, whose similar style was influenced by the mountainous site. The obvious conclusion is that the hotel's style was determined more by the now conventionalized use of the chateau style, which had spread from the Kennilworth to the 1892 wing of the Dennis, and beyond to Bruce Price's great Chateau Frontenac in Quebec. Moreover, the style had a significant advantage for the hotel's operation, for the variety of spaces and porches, and the hierarchy of spaces rising up into the great roof all made for a visual representation of status, emphasizing the social eminence of the guest as clearly as the various classes of accommodation on an ocean liner.

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Dennis Hotel, Atlantic City New Jersey

Of the three hotels the Dennis is the oldest by virtue of its succession to the buildings constructed on the property acquired by William Dennis just prior to the outbreak of the Civil War. After the war ended, the cottage was acquired by Joseph H. Borton, who extended it along Michigan Avenue. Although nothing of the original cottage survives, the early building had long lasting effects on the eventual hotel, determining by the location of its public rooms, the future development of the site. That first hotel was pictured in an engraving in Heston's Handbook of Atlantic City, 1892. It showed a threestory, L-shaped, frame structure with porches surrounding the Michigan Avenue front. The ell extended across the property and fronted on the lawn. The porches caused the volume of the hotel to be set back from the street, with the consequence that the later porchless Michigan Avenue extension did not line up with the earlier parts. A part of this 1870's building still remained in 1978, attached to the hotel by a short spur wing, its set back'from the demolished porches. Although the chamber partitions had been removed when the rear wing was converted to storage spaces leaving only the corridor walls and the original doorways, enough survives to give a sense of the accommodations. Rooms were a generous fifteen feet deep, but varied in width from seven to fifteen feet, in accordance with late nineteenth century standards. The contemporary Congress Hotel in Cape May, New Jersey, for example, had bedrooms that averaged nine by twelve feet, a far cry from current casino hotel requirements. Finishes were simple — sawed pine floors, plaster walls and ceilings, accented by broad, deeply shaped moldings around doors and windows.

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Stanford-Lathrop Mansion, Sacramento California

The original owner and builder of the house was Shelton C, Fogus, a pioneer merchant of Sacramento. Fogus was born in Richmond, Virginia in 1817; he was a veteran of the Mexican war and painted a large scene of the fall of Col. John Hardin at the Battle of Buena Vista (1847), which he later took about the country. In 1856, Fogus bought two lots at the southeast corner of 8th and N streets, in Sacramento, from William Dodd; Fogus then built a small structure on the property at an estimated cost of $2,000. In 1857, Seth Babson (born 1828 in Maine, died 1907 in California) was commissioned to design a fine house of brick and plaster. This house and property were deeded to Leland Stanford for $8,000 cash in 1861. (The sale was executed on July 10, but recorded on July 11. The assessor's records indicate the sale of lots 1 and 2; see Book 31, p. 78. $8,000.00 was less than the 1858 assessed valuation of the property. Shelton Fogus left Sacramento in 1862 to seek his fortune in the Comstock; he became a founder of Reno, Nevada, and made and lost two small fortunes in that area.) On September 4 1861, Leland Stanford became Governor of California, after having once failed in the effort. His inauguration took place on January 10, 1862. Returning from the inaugural ceremonies in a row boat (the winter of 1861-62 saw severe flooding of Sacramento), the Governor found his new house inundated to the level of the parlor windows; some of the furniture was floating in the first floor rooms of the two-story house. (The Stanfords had previously occupied a modest house on 2nd Street, between 0 and P; Leland had been trained as a lawyer in New York state, but came to California in 1852 and opened a general merchandise store at Gold Springs, near Placerville. He moved to Michigan City, California, until 1855, when he went to Albany to get his wife, Jane Eliza Lathrop.)

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