I thought we would digress this week from the treasures of old and focus on a few treasures of Salt Lake. For all of you east coasters, hopefully this will broaden your view of Utah (as it did mine). For the locals, hopefully this will open your eyes to some beauties you are privileged enough to have in your own back yard. We will return to more of my favorite things next week.
Let us explore a few of the fabulous historic properties in central Salt Lake….and just enjoy. (And maybe learn a bit about the facades at the same time.) Hey, I teach now, I can no longer just have fun, I must always inform as well.
I must also apologize for all the electrical wiring (please consider burying these SLC) and trees (I should have taken pictures in the winter) and the cars and the no-parking signs (not sure which is worse).
Contestant # 1: The New Englander
Really, how can one reconcile this lovely rambler with the rough and tumble pioneer state of Utah? It even has a widow’s walk! Wasn’t the whole point of the widow’s walk to look out to sea for your mariner-husband’s eminent return to Marblehead or Portsmouth? Not much sea to see here.
In fact, the widow’s walk developed from Italianate revival architecture. During the Victorian era and the Victorian’s never-ending infatuation with ever more elaborate and exotic styles, the Italianate (an over-the-top revival of the Renaissance) took off in the 1830s and lasted well into the 1870s. What does the widow’s walk have to do with Italy, you may ask? The widow’s walk form is essentially a bad version of a cupola or balustrade. Here is what the great architects of the day were looking at:
And here is how they interpreted it:
Contestants # 2 &3: The Federal Ladies
Here is a neighbor, which is a pretty good overall representation of the Federal, but lacking the door of perfection. Of course, these are all later revivals, as the Federal architecture style flourished from about 1780 to the 1820s. No SLC in those days.
The Otis Gray House in Boston.
Contestant # 4: Are We in Charleston Yet?
Charleston, SC has some of the most stunning architecture on earth. One can just feel the southern hospitality seeping in…. and this Greek Revival style property of Salt Lake certainly gives a feel of the old South. You can’t beat lots of really, really large columns.
But if you want really, really, really big columns, take a look at the Milford Plantation. I was privileged enough to visit the Milford Plantation while studying at Sotheby’s. This is a private residence owned by financier turned historic restorer, Richard Hampton Jenrette. It was built in 1839 and almost destroyed by Union troops in 1865. The Union commander was so taken by the property it was spared. THANK GOD! Well done Commander! Since it is privately owned, there are very few photos online of this property , but there is a fabulous book (Adventures With Old Houses by Jenrette) which everyone should go find!
Contestant # 5: Ms. Queen Anne
The Queen Anne revival is probably one of the most recognizably Victorian type of home. Many of these gems have fallen into disrepair as they often require a lot of maintenance. However, this beauty has been very well preserved. Enough said here, I think.
Contestant # 6: The Little Cutie