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Vernacular architecture of southern Indiana, part 2

August 24, 2011

I’m fascinated by vernacular house forms (see my previous blog, The following are more photos from my files; click on each to enlarge for more detail.

Ketchum House during rehab. Note the shadows of former shutters and the old porch. Photo by Sophia Travis.

To recap from the last blog: an I-house has a plain rectangular floor plan with two rooms on the ground level and two upstairs, with a central hall and stair. Seen from the side, this kind of house appears tall and narrow; there are usually no side windows.

The 1870 Fullerton House after rehabbing.

When the I-house plan is doubled in depth to have four rooms on the ground floor, it’s called a massed-plan home. Although this might look at first like a massed-plan, it’s an I-house with a later addition on the back. See the blank original side wall?

The oldest house in Monroe County, built 1828.

The Stout Home was built in 1828 from shaped creek-stone found on the property. Although it looks like a diminutive I-house, it’s actually a very antique form called a hall-and-parlor, deriving from old England. Like an I-house, there are two rooms on the ground level and two upstairs; but it’s not symmetrical inside. The front door opens into the larger of the two rooms (the hall, as in a medieval banqueting hall) and the smaller room to the side is the parlor. This house originally had an exterior staircase because the cramped form did not have space for an interior stair! Hall-and-parlor homes can be either one story or two.

A disguised log cabin.

Log cabins were the original form in this area of Indiana. Uncomfortable and dark, most people replaced log cabins as soon as practicable with frame houses made of sawn timber. It may surprise many people that in Indiana, most log buildings were covered with clapboards or shingles in order to protect the timbers from the weather. The only clue that this is indeed a cabin is the small size and the tiny windows.

The gable-ell: the great Hoosier house style.

The gable-ell has an L-shaped floor plan, with one roof gable running left-right and another gable set at right angles to it, projecting toward the front. It generally has four rooms on the ground floor although most have gained a number of additions on the back through the years. They can be plain, like this one in Stinesville, or ornate, with Queen Anne spindled porches and fancy shingling. I am going to devote a future blog to this great style.

The smallest house in Stinesville.

And finally, here’s another example of a one-story shotgun cottage, with two rooms front to back. This is hard to shoehorn into a style because it’s completely unique; this used to be the doctor’s office in turn-of-the-century Stinesville, a booming quarry town of a thousand people that later went bust. Only a few hundred residents remain and there are many rundown houses that can be purchased inexpensively.

Side view of the same house.

[Same house, continued…] Bloomington Restorations, Inc. rehabbed the decrepit structure and converted it into a little jewelbox of a residence.

From → Houses

  1. Absolutely LOVE the Stout House with it’s shaped creek stones. It looks so charming from the outside I would love to see the interior.
    Back in the mid 70s I lived in an old Carriage House on a farm near Kokomo, IN. Unfortunately I have no photos, but the main part of the structure (where the carriage to the estate was parked overnight) was made from beautiful shaped field stones that were of various size, color, and texture. The hayloft for the carriage horses had been remodeled into a beautiful upstairs bedroom with a tiny spiral staircase coming up from one end of the main room, and a kitchen and bath were added to the other end. It still ranks as one of my favorite places of all the many homes I have lived in over the years!
    Can’t wait to see your next installment on this topic….

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. Architectural styles of southern Indiana: Second Empire « housesandbooks
  2. A look at the 1869 Farmer House « housesandbooks
  3. Architecture of southern Indiana: the gable-ell « housesandbooks
  4. Vernacular architecture of southern Indiana, part 1 « housesandbooks
  5. Close up: an 1850s Bloomington double pen cottage | housesandbooks

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