Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Two Exceptional Houses on Park Blvd.

From across Park Blvd. (once Goldenrod) just S. of Wisteria
614 Park Blvd
614 Park Blvd
614 Park Blvd
614 Park Blvd

(1) The Boehringer House.  614 Park Boulevard.  Substantially finished by summer, 1912.  No turret, but character is, as Mr. Cazadessus said, in this case the restrained "Queen Anne" of the early 20th century.  Every detail of the original porch balustrade, as well as the brick foundation, and the occuli and the stained glass and, for the moment, even the original layout of the kitchen, are preserved.  If the exterior weren't distinctive and well made enough, the semi-partition dividing the dining room space from the living room space is done with a reduced-scale Ionic order matching that of the front.  The major doors and windows all have transoms.  The siding also is plainly original (where storm damage did not require replacement).  The upper balustrade is waiting to be replaced (the mortices are there, too).  It also has a full-height, finished basement in the rear (and now I must ask whether some of the other large houses that sit high enough have a basement, too).  I can't imagine a finer house in what was then a town of about 20,000, when the old Capitol was the only one, when LSU was still downtown, and just look at the desolate looking field in the c. 1912 photos of what is now Roseland Terrace.

The Cazadessus collection photos labeled c. 1912 in the East Baton Rouge Library prove that it is indeed less than a year younger than the Reiley-Reeves house.  Only, the Boehringer house is perfectly up to date and handsome and normal for a Revival house with what came to be called Queen Anne elements, and the Reiley-Reeves is a truly idiosyncratic creation.
--ccc 030 is the best photo of the Reiley-Reese house (no one knows whom the label refers to)
--cc 031 shows the foundations of the Boehringer house in progress and the newly built Reiley-Reeves house two blocks to the south
--cc 049 was taken from Governmemt Street to S
--cc 048 was taken from "back line" (probably Olive Street) to N; it shows the Reiley-Reeves house but no evidence of foundations of the Boehringer.
--ccc051 shows the Boehringer house, much as it is today
--ccc038 shows the Reiley-Reeves, barely finished, not yet tidied up
These all are labeled 1912, and I judge that the one with the B. family on the porch in summer clothes is only months later than the laying of the house's foundations.

General as that "1912" for almost all the photos may be, the relative dating of the two houses seems sure, and the clothes are just right for the children and their mother, like those of early autochrome photos taken about five years earlier.
Would that we had such good dating for the next.


The front of the house, showing the importance of that anta defining the pedimented forefront and making the transition to the semi-hexagonal entrance.  And I guess those are real cypresses.

The front to the house partly shaded
The front entrance on the corner
The side entrance
(2) The really "Queen Anne"-like, superb house at 1103 Park Boulevard, at the corner of Myrtle, so probably to be accounted in the third part of the Garden District, though it is on Park and at least the north side of Myrtle is in Roseland Terrace.
Placing the entrance at 45° and so making a transition from the front block to the rest of the house, and placing a balustrade above it, continuous with that in front of the upper windows, while the plain, solid corner of the gabled front element of the house, given an anta capital makes a subtle but unmistakable colossal order, and the transoms of the front windows are aligned with the round pediment over the door make this the most enchanting and elegant house in the whole Garden District.  I like it even better than 717 Camellia, even perhaps better than the Boehringer at 810 Park.
Another note of interest is the side entrance, not an add-on but designed to go with the fa├žade on Park Blvd., it is an independent entrance on 1912 and 1910 Myrtle.  I suppose it may be rented today, but it LOOKS like something rather rare here: it would lead to the kitchen (thence to the dining room) and to the kitchen stairs and up to rooms or small apartments for a cook and general servant.  Of course, it might be for an unmarried child or a maiden aunt—anyone who might want a private entrance, and in that case not necessarily limited in access to the rest of the house.
I really want to find a house with this plan!  The side entrance to the kitchen and servants above is seen on some pre-World War I house plans, but I don't know what the expectations were here.  Here, after all, persons who could help with the house and garden lived within a few blocks and could walk over to any house that needed 'help'.  Why, in my modest block one of my neighbors, who was about 80, was helped by Lucy, who came twice a week.  But Lucy had helped her since she was married...  I don't really know very much about Baton Rouge.  I do know about the laundresses coming up the alley; it was explained to me as the reason for having the stationary tubs in the garage before the days of Bendix washers and dryers.
Anyway, this house is itself discreet and almost severe, but that brilliant unification of the entrance and the gabled front and the continuous balustrade is, to me, more breathtaking than all they geegaws on the elaborate houses of the 1880s and 1890s.