Monday, June 20, 2011

Mystery Photos: A Follow Up

Last week, I asked about the location of four buildings photographed by I.T. Frary.

2611 - House
Photograph by I.T. Frary. 1926. Courtesy of the Ohio Historical Society.

One, I noted, was located east of Shalersville. On Father's Day, I went with my wife, son, and daughter on a drive, exploring some of the areas that Frary photographed. I succeeded in locating this house.

IMGP5309

Here's the house as it stands today, at 6423 State Route 303, Drakesburg, Ohio. The basic form remains the same, but many of the details have been lost.

The wood siding has been covered with cement shingles. The wood shingles of the roof have been replaced with asphalt ones. The chimney, on the left, is gone, and the porch, to the right, has been enclosed. The fretwork - the wood covering the three small attic windows, the detail for which Frary chose to photograph the house - has been removed.

The front door remains unchanged, along with most of its trim - note that the columns flanking the door are mirrored at the edge of the porch. It was this detail that allowed me to be certain I had found the house in question.

The big surprise of the drive was at how few of the houses that Frary documented remained. Of those that remain, on many of them, the detail he chose to document has been lost. This is often the case even on houses that appear to have been restored and well cared for.


The exhibition Designing History: I.T. Frary; Interior Design and the Beginnings of Historic Preservation in Ohio runs through July 16. I encourage you to take a look. The Cleveland Artists Foundation is located at 17801 Detroit Avenue, in Lakewood, Ohio.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Mystery Photos - Now With More Detail!

Fret, near Shalersville Fret, Circleville
Fret, near Bellvue Fret, Wooster.
Photos of fretwork at Shalersville, Circleville, Bellevue, and Wooster. By I.T. Frary, from Early Homes of Ohio.

As part of the Cleveland Artists Foundation's exhibit, Designing History: I.T. Frary; Interior Design and the Beginnings of Historic Preservation in Ohio I'm taking an in-depth look at Frary's published works. Chief among these is Early Homes of Ohio, which is now 75 years old. This landmark title was the first to deal with the architectural heritage of this state, and remains an unequaled standard in the field.

I've been trying to locate all of the structures pictured in Early Homes of Ohio, so that I might document their present condition, and so that others might view them in person. I've located most of them, but some still present difficulties - mostly because, in Early Homes they were only shown in detail. I've scanned photocopies of the images from the collections of the Ohio Historical Society, some of which are presented here.



2611 - House
Courtesy of the Ohio Historical Society.

This house, located "East of Shalersville, Ohio", was photographed by I.T. Frary in 1926. Given the angle of the shadows, and that Frary tended to stay on the main roads, it's probable that the house is on the north side of the road.

House, Circleville, Ohio.  1924.
Courtesy of the Ohio Historical Society.

Frary photographed House, Circleville, Ohio, in 1924. It appears to be the sort of structure that would be in the center of the city.

Wooster, Ohio.  1924.
Courtesy of the Ohio Historical Society.

This brick structure, in Wooster, Ohio, appears to have been built as a commercial structure - thus the two front doors, for better traffic flow. At the time Frary photographed it, in 1924, it housed a gas station, and Church of Christ, Scientist. I've been unable to determine location for said church that corresponds with the evidence suggested here - the building should be close to the street.

House, West of Bellvue, Ohio - 1923 or 1924.
Courtesy of the Ohio Historical Society.

This House, West of Bellvue, Ohio was photographed by I.T. Frary in either 1923 or 1924. This is a scan of an actual photograph, so there's plenty of resolution there, if you need to look at it in more detail. While the house appears square, I suspect, based on the roof line, that it might be L-shaped.



This is just the first group - I'll be sharing more in the coming days. If you know where these houses are, or were, either by address or approximate location, please either comment here or send an email to clevelandareahistory@gmail.com. Thanks!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Interior Design and the Illuminating Company: A Group of Paintings by I.T. Frary

A Living Room in the Style of the Modern English School
Living Room in the Style of the Modern English School, a painting by I.T. Frary, reproduced in The Illuminator, June, 1909. Collection of Western Reserve Historical Society, Cleveland, Ohio.

I'm curating an exhibit for the Cleveland Artists Foundation, Designing History: I.T. Frary; Interior Design and the Beginnings of Historic Preservation in Ohio. Frary is best known as the author of Early Homes of Ohio, the first book to address this state's architectural heritage. His first career was as a designer of furniture and interiors for the Brooks Household Art Co. Brooks became one half of the famed Rorimer-Brooks.

As I mentioned before, one of the challenges is finding strong imagery other than his photographs - especially color imagery. (I'm still looking, by the way, if the signature seems familar.)

[Living Room]
[Living Room] a painting by I.T. Frary, reproduced in The Illuminator, June, 1909. Collection of Western Reserve Historical Society, Cleveland, Ohio.

I was pleasantly surprised to find, in the I.T. Frary Papers at the Western Reserve Historical Society, a copy of The Illuminator, dated June, 1909. The magazine was published for the employees of the illuminating company, and used several of Frary's paintings for the Brooks Household Art Co. to illustrate a piece on various interior design ideas.

[Colonial Style Hallway] [Hallway]
[Colonial Style Hallway] and [Hallway], paintings by I.T. Frary, reproduced in The Illuminator, June, 1909. Collection of Western Reserve Historical Society, Cleveland, Ohio.

This pair illustrate two very different ways that one might treat an entrance hall. The Colonial Style one, on the left, is far more formal, while the one on the right is more casual.

A Living Room in the Style of the Greek Revival
Living Room in the Style of the Greek Revival, a painting by I.T. Frary, reproduced in The Illuminator, June, 1909. Collection of Western Reserve Historical Society, Cleveland, Ohio.

This view, Living Room in the Style of the Greek Revival, like the lead image, Living Room in the Style of the Modern English School, illustrates the level of detail that Frary, as a designer, might put into a room. Some of the furniture would have been his designs, while other elements would be carefully selected antiques.


It's not clear where the houses in these renderings were located, or even if they were built. Given the number, I would guess that at least one had been executed. However, the firm's commissions in Cleveland were almost entirely on Euclid Avenue, and so are likely lost. I'll delve further into the Brooks Household Art Co.'s commissions in a future post.

Edwin Tillotson residence

The Edwin Tillotson residence is a Tudor Revival structure at 1867 East 82nd Street, in Cleveland, Ohio. It was built in 1902-3. Meade and Garfield were the architects.

The Tillotson residence is one of the few remaining local structures for which the Brooks Household Art Co. did work. Perhaps Living Room in the Style of the Modern English School was for this house - or perhaps it was for one in Chicago or St. Louis. I haven't had a chance to look inside yet - but I suspect that it has been significantly modified over the years. Still, it's worth further investigation.

Do any of these look familar to you?


The exhibition Designing History: I.T. Frary; Interior Design and the Beginnings of Historic Preservation in Ohio runs through July 16. I encourage you to take a look. The Cleveland Artists Foundation is located at 17801 Detroit Avenue, in Lakewood, Ohio.
 
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