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An Interpretive Revieu' of the lfineteenth lenilry


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Evansville Museum of

trrU and

Evansville, lndiana



TABLE OF CONTENTS l,'ort:word ( llurpter



Introduction: The Background

of Evansville


( llr:rpter

II -

First Decades of Bui1ding............ 1l





Postscript: Victorian Panorama.... 64


( ilr;rlrtcr


of Nineteenth Styles 2l


Copyright 1962 by the Evansville Museum of Arts and Science



i\lany communities have placed in their lrr,rtsrrres of various nature, natural, historical,

care aes-

llrctic. Each current generation is this treasure's cust,r liun for itself and the generations to follow. But in rts tirnc each generation may add to this treasure, or rrr.(lt'ct and destroy it. This last is usually through u',r()r'iu)ce, the lack of knowledge of that which is ,,gr,,r'itl in its midst.

lloward Wooden, chairman of Evansville Muse,,1' Arts & Science History Department, is sin"rrr ri,rlrrr'lv cquipped to aid us in Evansville to find and ,'r;rlrrirte this architectural heritage in our midst, and l,,r rvlrich we are now the special custodians. Mr. \\',rorlt'n combines most happily the scholar's love ,,1 lris l'ucts and endless patience for their pursuit rr rtlr l lucidity of telling these facts to his fellowrrr,.rr. Nliry we hope that through his help we will | ,,' 111, i<lt'd to cherish more fully that which has been ;,1,r,',,r1 in our hands by the past and that which is lr.rrr( rukled by enlightened leadership in our day.

\\'r. rtcknowledge with thanks those who

have aided in this work and hope that through ,,r.rsirtlrt none are neglected. Beside those photorr,,1,lrs, rlrawings, and documents in Miss Florita I'r, lr,.l's c'ure at the museum, the photographic coll, , trrr ol' Mr. Thomas Mueller's father proved val,r,rl,l,'.'l'hc sympathetically rendered photographs , ,,1,,'.'i:rllv


been of assistance to Mr' Wooden, we express our gratitude.

Siegfriecl Weng, Director March, 1962

'l (lsr':rlti:jJn. )rr tlrt: other hand, to the critical observer whose r rrr'tr,r,rrl life is more fully sustained by the livine plr'..r.r11 :rrrcl who thus is far less enmeshed in purE ,


,l,,.<l :rn incliviclual rnatt ||


r, '',(,1 l.t\l(,s

sent. He is more objective, and his method is the analysis of monuments themselves - monuments that he uses as tools with which to diagnose the char-


scientist whose focus is human cultural behavior as revealed in the aesthetic obiect.

Bv its nature. architecture is close to human life and human societv; it is always a characteristic func-

tion of the outlook of each society. This is particularlv evident from three standpoints. First, ntan simpll'builds; he builds in order to meet the explicit needs for shelter and to carrv-ottt certain clefined and established social customs. He lruilds hotrses for dwelling, churches for worship, schools for education, hospitals for the care of the sick, etc. Secotrcl, the particular constructional nrethocls and clesigr-rs which he employs depend both upon the materials available to him and upon the technical knorvledge arrd skills which he can or will apply in his rational act of constmction. Third, man seems inevitablv driven to satisfv certain peculiarlv human psl'chological neecls. That

personality state, which exists at anv particular moment in time and which deterrnines the direction that his innermost drives take, might for sake of convenience be called taste. While taste is often in-


t, tnt l(tste of the times w 1,,, ;,,'r.iorl in historv. Ancl ,r r.(l.x.f social trnity nrrJ,rrr" clime'siou.f the "lt''rr st'r'i'us conflict betwee. man's .r"fr"r"r..,, ,|' r\ rr'l l'r persclrrtrl arest'etic fulfillnre;;i-;,,J'il; ,rrrr'rlL' to rvin group zrcceptance b) ;.I;.;'ti,rg'i; ,.,,,rt) strr,cllruls. S.ciety gener,rlly ll"fi;r;;';;:rJ

I r,,lr' rl(,, l)l' :

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ttt rr1// This is so whet ,l,.rrrrrrstrtl.ted by_an inclividual

bv another r'r",r) r'ith qtrite difierent sta'darclsor of tnst*'-'---'

I lrrrs rrrirn. reqtrires that his man_made phr.sical ' r,\ ,,rrrrrr'rt be more than a mere colle"ti,"llrTi,,lr"_ t',,r, rl l,rril<lirrgs. That e'virnrl-"nt m,st also em_ r,',,tr qoo<t taste character, orrtwarcllv dis_ -and_ ; I r r r.r I rr r s<lrrc' familiar form of .1."r, ,hi"ii ;;; ;;; ' , ll ,, r r l,' - u kind of .rchitect.r"i p"rrorr'nti{fitti,r; l,,, rlr,. pr,,r'iriling taste of the aee. llr, iy111;lyytance of these thoirghts will become rrr "'"rr '.trr applt, them speciffcallv r" r ural heritag" ^of Errans_ ,ll, ll, furt-her some at_ r, 111 1r r1, "eding sach of trvo other com_ r''r,' rrr,, influential in the evolu_ ,


of that heritage. The first concerns the irnpact of r rirtrrritl envirolunellt on the tcltal cconomic r,,r,,rr'lll of the area chrring the lgth centur,v. The '.,,,,rr,I has to do with the influence of certnin inter,, l:rt.rl cultural forces on the developmelit of archil, , l rr nrl stvle. \\'itlr regard to the natural environment, it is clear tlr.rt rit'h sub-soil, an abundance of rrrinfall, and a l,'r'lr rrrcurr temperrrture with a correspondingly long r.r'r\ in( soason were factors clirectly rersponsible for tlr, ,'rtr.rrsive forests of southern Liditrrrtr and the lrr'lr (r'rrrl€ of timber available throughout the re,.,,,' \rrrl of course it was the forests which fur,,r',1r,', I llrc timber for building. Oak, walnut, maple, 1,,',, ,rslr rrnd gum were among the rnrur\/ indigeuous ' r r rr t ics f,rrrnd. In addition, there was arl abtrndance ,,1 ',t,,r,,'rurcl sancl nearbv, and of fine clay for brick. ll,, l,x'rrtion of the town on the Ohio River and the r',,'\rrrritv of a network of smaller rivers and tribut,rr,., rrr:r(lt'it convetrient to foat logs into the city ,,, r.,lts or to import sand, clav and stone from rr, rrlr\ rlrrrrries. This potential rrvas increased still l',r rlr,.r l,r tlre opening of the canal in 1853 and later |, tlr,. r',rrstmction of railroads. In aclclition, the , ,,l,l,rlitr of rich natural deposits of coal and iron ' r r,lr 1r, rssilrk' the earlv establishment of porver driv, ,, r\\ ,'rills ancl the relativelv inerpetlii*r" np"r^r ,11 ,,1 l,r ir,k kilns and cast iron foundries. | 1,,. ,,r(.ruu-operatecl sarv mill established by Silas r, t,1,, ,r,, irr I837 was the first of its ty,pe in the area. | 1,, \\.rs rluickly' follorved by others. In 1845, r' 1,1' r,,, l,,r'rnecl a partnership with ]ohn A. Reitz, ,,,' | '' lr rt soorr thereafter became the Reitz Lumber | ,r,r1, 1111 ll,rrrrished clown to the encl of the lgth | , rrrrrr \ rr irrrrirrg for Reitz the rcputation of "Lumt r, I






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lrslr.,\Iediaeval, the Italian, the Byzantine, and some cultural forntifound in Nloorish, I rrrkish, and Far Asiatic lands. Btrsed on the

,,1 tlrt: nrore exotic

trrr:rtr. ucrluaintance with the almost inexhaustible k ol' architectural,styles from the past. \ lirral factor which influenced thJcharacter of l'ttlr (ir,ntury architecture was travel, particularlv rrr tlrr, pcriod immediately before and after the Civil \\.u \Vith the growth of fortunes which accorn_ l,,rr(,(l inclustrial development, successful entert,r,,,.rs uncl their families could afiord to travel ex_ ',t,,,




llrt' early 19th Century


pioneer settlements

llrr,rrr.tlruut southern Indirrna were carved frorn the l,rlstS, lvith the result that the first homes, churches, .,r'l t'ivil buildings zrre in what we rnight call the l,ri f il[rilr" style. In the beginning, little or no .rll.'rrtion was given to the artistic adomment of any l,rrrlrlirrg, for the early pioneer was also the early l,'rrl,lt,r' and any concern for art was necessarily ,,,;,,',.','rlcd by tirgencies of strrvival ancl utility. \, t'orrling to tradition, the first permanent build,,r, rr l,lvansville was a two-room log cabin built in lril I lrr llugh N{cGary on Water Street just south, r',t ,,1 Nlain. Although originally planned as an ,1,,,,1,., tlris rtllegedlv crrme to serve during its short l,l, trrrrt, il.s warehouse, grocery store, post office, , , 'l r I l,,,ustr itnd even church. L,rrr lr,'il.1ings in Evtuisville were typical in that I lr, 1 11 ('r'(. rectrlngular in plan, one or one-and-a-half t,,111 ,, lrigh, and were made of hewn logs laid l,,,,, ,,rrtrrllv and fitted together at the corners by a ,,1 crude but quite adequately secure dove| ',,,1 I rrlrrrr', 'l'lrc walls were sealed by chinking and the rr,t, ',,r \\rrs heated by means of a hearth with the , 1,,,,r,\ sittrrrted at the narrow end of the strucr,rr, \\ lrilc this rnode of building lingered on well 1,, .,,,,,1 tlrr. rnicldle of the lgth Centurv. it was soon ',,, , ,lr.rl,u'r'rl by frame, clapboard aird brick contrrr, tnrr rylriclt calne into comrnon use during the lrr I l, \\ \(,:u's following the founcling of the city. I rr' r lir rrrlv rooted, the early pioneer settlernent | | ,, rr,,,rillt. began to grow. With growth came

tl IO

'i'\,'runrelrt, sonre clegre of prosperity, and con'rAlter the house, the generrrl store, rlr, l,lrrcksntith shop, the grist rnill and the tavern ' rr( lo lte, anor-rg the eirrliest t1'pes constructe(l to ,r, , I llrt' cliversifiecl needs <tf crnnmunitv life, Therse Irrr, Iru('s were concentltrted principirlly in the in-rr',,,lr.rlr, l,icinity, of N.Iain Street ltetrveen Watcr ',rrr, | (now Riverside Drive) and First Street. And rr rr,rs llris saure block which thus came to be the , rrlr, .,t ('onrnercial district of the citr'. Bt, 1818. a ;, u,rlir (' securitv.

al*:? \;;

rt Thircl ancl Nlain ,,l', l'lrt'fir'st conrthouse rvirs ltuilt in that vcar ',,, I I ,llcgt'cl to have been also the first brick builcli,,' ,, l'lrrrrrsville. A brick jail was built nearb)'and | , , \,:rrs ltter. in 1820. a brick school house was ;,,,1,1r, \(luirre had been cleared


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inpression of the size and setting of l8t9 is furnishecl bv the rrrrr rr ,,trr{ l)iril}fing show. i, figure 2. This wor.k ., ' \,'('ult'rl in l88l bv E. N. Bott, an eastern t,rr rtr r :rl llre request of one of Evansville's early r, r,l,rrt,,, folnr Siuart Flopkins. It was in hil | ,r, , r r ., I Irirt \Ir. Hopkil-rs commissioned this paintr,,,,,,,,,r,1,'r' thirt he might leave behind a permanent ,, , ,,,,1 ,,1 lris ctrliest recollections of Evansville as it ,r'r" ,r,,1 irr l8l9 tvhen as a vouth he first arrived rr, t,,.r', \lthough extremelv important in that it i,r ,,r,lr r.r.presentation of Evansville as a pioneer ll , ,,, t lr, . lrrtc date of execntion prohibits its being , ' ,,'1, ,l ;rs ,ur archaelogicallv valid documentary I r l,' t, '\\ u. Nonetheless, it commands our attention 1,,,r'l1r' portraval of primitive simplicity and r,", I lrrrrr.liorral architectural constnlction. | ,, r 1,, r ,,;rrs inlmediatell, following 1820, Evans'll, ,lrlr,,rrglr stnrggling courageously against the


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lfigure 5. Early Republican l\t)e House with semi-circular

l:rn light transom. 3I3-315 S E. First Street. tl'lurto bV H. E. Wooden)

,r)r tt the corner of the

frrcrrcle rather tlian in the It is entileh/ rrnpleter]tious ercept for the fan:,lrl tlirrrsoln set into rr round structulirl irlch over 1,, ,l, rorlav. , r l('r'.

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llr, \lorton House, 2 mi. East of Ncs'hurgh c 1832-1836. This tt,l',,1'licln t1-pc with the sy[rmetricrlly ballnccd facacle plirn. r / \,rr Iltntbucclten)


\lrlr,rrr{h located outside of Evansville, tlie most

threat of pioneer hardships as well as a serious econclmic depression, showed significant potential for continued growth. It was at this time that there began to appear a growing taste for refinement in living. The earliest hotels sprang up in the late 1830's and early 1840's. In 1832, the first church structure "Little Church on the Hill"-was built near the -the conrer of Main and Second streets. The Old State Bank Building was completed in 1836. To meet the growing demands for building, both locally and in the surrounding trading areas, a power saw mill rvas founded in 1837, and the Palk Furniture Factorv, Evansville's first industry, was opened in 1836. From a stylistic standpoint, much of the architectrrre btrilt then is generally known as Federal or Etrrly Republican, and is characterized by the frequent use of the arched doorway with a fanlight transom. The rest of the structure usually remained sirnple, and the accent on the doorway may be taken as a symbol of hospitality - a tell-tale expression of growing prosperity and one of the earliest forms irnportecl from the more settled cities along the eastern seaboard. Few examples of Early Republican architecture have been preserved in the region about Evansville, although the style itself prevailed throughout the frontier during the first two or three decacles of the 19th Century. The srnall house (since enlarged ) located at 315 S. E, First street is perhaps the sole surviving example in Evansville (fig. 5). Although presumably built in the 1840's - which is admittedly somewhat late for the Earlv Republican style - the structure is compositionallv tvpical of the town house type then found in seaboard cities. Characteristic is its narrow street frontage and the location of the front 16

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tlr,' ltt'volutionary War and of the

t t1ffif I r


Hottsc' Figure 7. Balanced flcade of Cieorgitn-t1'pc-

also known as the Old Stone House' built.l!:ll t-1?9 ;i.;;''il'h'g"';-b. ihit l'u"t" rvasclassic f acade plan ih""'";;; tvl'i""llv and ^with' a central doorrvay n"r,"t']ic, with n"tiv.. Republic,

il \"*ltl:*




tta"-Ly two windo*t: Tl" J1ll ""'"u"ft-- t-it i"plut"d. on the t":?l:l:lT:

"i'".f{""i-tfi"-i"ttv fr"f^"i"a

:Iffi. ffi .rh';;; ;f ;

i** t'" "Y 1".I1^:"^ :"Tl: stvrr'ir"'.llvJ it is,a.gai' ce'Lrdr (r('ur' sr/"il;;;;tG Ili;i;l';;"'. a

capped by a fanlig Euiiy Republicau feature'

ll" !:::l^"f *}tiZtt is the pri'cipal

lrr l',,rlsrrrotrth, New Hampshire, Mt, Pleasant in 'l,rl,,l,.l1rlria utd Westooer in James City County, \ rrr,rrrr:r. ure but a few of the many celebrated


,l,,r,r, ,Ir(. (,\irmples of the Georgian period.

-1if8' Balanced -floor plan o[-Gcorgian-type ItiE-tia" io.*t which are reflccted in the facade Fieure


house' with the central hallway plan'



,.t,rrrrlurclized throughout the Georgian peri19

od. The only significantly common variation to the rule was the town house plan where, because of the narlow street frontage, the doorway was placed near the corner of the facade with the interior hallway behind running along the lateral wall of the house. Evansville was of course not yet settled during the pre-Revolutionary or immediate post-Revolutionary period and hence there are properly speaking no Georgian buildings in the area, However, the traditional Georgian plan did pass directly into the Early Republican, two examples of which we have already seen, viz,, the Morton flouse in Newburgh and the little town house at 315 S. E. First Street in Evansville. And from Early Republican times, the plan chronologically continued on, characterizing the overall treatment of a number of subsequent architectural movements, and always following either the central door - central hall type or, its alternate, the corner door - lateral hall type.




Parthenon, Athens

Perhaps the forernost of these movements was the Greek Revival which dominated the architectural scene during the period from about 1830 down to the Civil War.

as the plastic embodiment llcek precepts of beauty r,rlues thought to have b irr the days of Pericles an r ic'r,ved



of the eternal

courageous modern Greeks in their revolt against the

Turks. What is rnore, Americans of the early lgth Century were more thetn a little conscious of their own experience of iudependence which was ildeed too recent for them to rernirin persolally disinterested. As pro-Greek sentirnent ran high, so did respectful subrnission to Greek artistic forms which symbolically carne to be identified with American democratic philosophy, both for the Eastem businessman as well as for the rising rniddle class frontiersman. Through its glorification of the individual and its nationalistic appeal, the symbol became deeply entrenched in the program of Jacksonian democracy and hence contributed to American cultural and political unification. In the form of handbooks and carpentry manuals, knowledge of Greek architecture, generally diluted in content, was transmitted to the American frontier and from an architectural stanclpoint led to the production of a myriad of Greek Revival communities. With the Greek Revival came architectural science and technology, widespread dernands for new

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of buildings (including clubs, libraries, theaters, hospitals, etc. ) and the resultant rise of professionally trained architects to meet the new and ever-increasing demands for building. The specific forms used were copied, often with methodical precision, from Greek originals. These included the triangular pediment of the Greek temple, ornamental mouldings, entablatures, metopes and triglyphs, the shallow cornice, and colonnades and pilasters in each of the three orders, i.e., doric, ionic, and corinthian. More often than not however the builder-architect took unparalleled liberties in the interpretation and application of Greek models, and

llcvival public architecture was the^old Vanderl,rrrgh County Court House (fig. g) which stood on llrtr corner of Third and N{ain streets at the edge ,,1' the old public square. This was a two story




Iirgrrre 9. The Vanderburgh County Corrrt Hotrse, comer Tbird and Main -ii"f,it.ii rtr.r.ts. This^w_as,-deslg1qd in the Grek Revival style-Lv tf," James l(,,,ruct in f852-55. While still unfinished the structirii birmed but waJ rebuilt ,,, 1857 according to the same desien. r t ,'llectin, Eoarcpille Museuml

Evansville's most prominent example



rectangular building with an attic and gable roof. Jutting _out at a right angle from the ""it", of the long sides (both iront a-

ar pediment motif at each re two 1>rojecting paviliorrs here was placed orr the roof


wh ich s erve d to illu m i' a.:?i"'l,g J,i'J:J"lt"i", the order of the column chosen, the dome itself was certainly not Greek but rather Rornan, and its appearance here represents misinterpretation of Greel Closer insrrection of th -balanced discloses a w which is quite similar to and Earlv Republican buildi Slender pilasiers were placed in the intervals between each vertical set of windows. These were meant to convey the impression indeed a false - the entablature impression of structural support of abo here, as in most such buildings of the trimmed with a projecting sf,eHlike mbling an entablituie on "a small scal t the narrorv end was crowned bv a triangular pediment which echoed the Iarger roof gable above. This building was designed by James Roquet and constructed in 1852-1855. While yet unffnisired, the structure burned, but was rebuilt in 1857 accord-


irrg to the original design. That design was aplrtrcntly pleasing for the period and, even before tlrc building was near completion, carncd Roquet srrlHcient renown for hirn to be arvardecl tr contract l,r' the Federal goverl]rnent for the construction of tlrt: U.S. N'Iarine Ilospital in 1853 (frg.22). Although to the perfectionist the Court House .orrld hardly be thought to embody an adecluately :rt'curate portrayal of a Greek original, domestic ,'rurnples of the period generally cane even less , lose to authenticity. Two principal type-plans were , rrrployed: the block house and the tenple house. 'fhe temple type is well exemplified bv the 'l'lromas Garvin mansion at 214 S. E. First Street, ,,,rnpleted in 1860 (fig. f0). This is of course the lnxlitional town house. with comer door and lateral lrrrll, which we have already seen. Window and door ,'rrframements are made of cast iron, as are the exlrrisite regency balconies projecting from the second story. These are rerniniscent of Gulf coast archir

Figrrre 10, Thomas Garuin

llouse, 214 S. E. First Street. lli58-60. Tbis represents the 'l'r'nrple type Greek Rcvival I louse. The cast-iron <loor enfrrmement and delictte reut,ncy balcony are shown at thc rieht. (Photo bu H. E. Wooden)

tecture and might very well have been imported from foundries of New Orleans.

rrrixed with touches of other contending styles. The

rrt 605 S. E. Riverside Drive.


I1. The Willard

Carpenter House,405 Carpenter Street. 1848-4g. This house. (Collection, Eaansaille Museum)

represents the trlock-type Greek Revival

cording to the Georgian forrnula. The roof is just slightly hipped and supports a low square lantern. The principal Greek motifs consist of the refined dentil moulding beneath the shallow cornice, and the projecting portico with square doric columns and an entablature and cornice. The doorway is interesting and is an American adaptation of the Ancient Greek door opening. This arrangement consists of a rectangular transom and narrow vertical sidelights. The popularity of this combination suggests the earnest attention now shown for the illumination of the central hallway interiorly. There are numerous examples of the block-type Greek Revival House in Evansville, some considerably later than the Carpenter Flouse and thus often 26

lrizure 12. The Dewig-Haag House, 1870 Marshall Avenue' (t'hoto bu H, E. Wooilm)




doorway trim which generally ddheres to the fourpart arrangement ctangular transom, two narrow portal proper. The appearance be taken as a clear-cut sign of when no other tdentifying tags are to be found. An interesting example is the old Dewig-Haag Homestead, now the William J. Strouse House, at 1870 Marshall Avenue (frg. L2). This house was originally the farm house for the Dewig estate and seems Iikely to have been constructed about 1850.

GOTHIC REVIVAL Earlyin the lgth Century both English and American architects began to use forms which were inspired by the later Medieval or Gothic architecture of Europe and principally of England. The wave of religious enthusiasm which accompanied the last stag_e of the Napoleonic period contributed largelv to this movement, for Gothic arches, towers ind spires seemed somehow to be inseparably related to ecclesiastical architecture. Two Englishmen named

tensive studies of both Gothic architecture and ornamentation. The various books by the Pugins were circulated widely and found their way to America where they served to infuence American architecture. Thus the Gothic Revival was one of the movements which contended with the Greek. As we shall see, it was but one of many such movements in 19th Century American architecture. Although Gothic was practiced early in the east, its 28

rrrrlrrct on the architecture of the mid-west came ,rrr<'what late. In Evansville, Gothic fonns were not |,,'l )r rlar until about 1850. l'lre keynote of the Gothic as it was used in \rrrcrica is the emphasis on verticality and silhou, ttr,- on tall towers and spires, etc. In addition, tlrlrc was an interest in ribbed vaulting, refined by g,,,','lv ornamental tracery, and, as this movement lr,rtl its source in the N4iddle Ages, there was much , ,,rrsicleration given to fortress-like features much as tlr,st' used also during the Italian Revival as we ,,1'rll see below. The end result is a feeling for ,trrrcture and the strength of building materials altlr,,rrgh often this was purely superficial. While tl,,tlric forms were strikingly different from the , l,r.;sic forms used in Greek Revival works, the total 1,l,rrr largely remained one of s)rynmetrical balance ,,,,,1 in one sense the American Gothic was thus littl'' rnore than a new dress for the compositionally '.,

Figrre 13. Trinity


Church, 9rd 6. Vine Streets. Built 1850r renodeled 1872.

by Henry Mursina. To the right is view of Trinity

Schml. built 1869. (Cnrtesg, Eoansoille


traditional norms established in the Georgian and perpettrated through the Early Republican and the Greek Revival. The style was applied not only in Church buildrngs but in all types of clomestic and civic architecture as well. The Gothic left its imprint, Even today, more than 150 years since the first Gothic Revival Church was built in America, we still generally think of Gothic when we think of Church architecture, and we usually design our churches accordingly.

Holy Trinity Catholic Church (figure 13) was certainly one of Evansville's proudest examples of Gothic Revival. It stood on Third near Vine and was designed by a French architect, H. Marsil, in 1850. The original structure is portrayed on the lithograph in figure 1. Henry Mursina, a well-known and quite active local architect, remodeled the church in L872. However, in 1950 the tower was struck by lightning and the church burned and was shortly thereafter razed completely. To the south of the church stood Holv Trinitv School. built in 1869 in the Gothic manner. The school was demolished in April 1958. St. Mary's Church (fig. 1a), located at Cherry and Seventh streets, is one of the many surviving examples of ecclesiastical Gothic in the city. It was built between 1866 and 1867 and, although now completely covered with a modern stucco, it is really a brick structure trimmed with stone. The pointed arches used throughout, the stately frontal tower, the slender spires and the use of delicate ornamental

tracery are very much in the tradition of the ffnest American Gothic of the period. In addition, the heavy buttresses give a feeling of structure and 30

the vertical elements (tower,

arry the eye upward, but

er-hanging cornice, increase

Figure 14. St. Mary's Cath-

olic Church, Cherry & enth strets. f868-67.

(Cwrtesy, Hentg A.



First Presbyterian Church, formerly Grace )hgrch, was built by architect Robert Boyd in 1878. Stylistically, this is a modifted Tudor Gothic ( jhurch. Particularly noteworthy are the pointed rrrches - some high, some almost flat - and the twin (

rrse in mediaeval fortress structures from which the crenelation form itself derives. The vaulted ceiling ,rf the Sunday School room simulates in wood the structural functionalism of stone found in original Gothic and thus betrays the very superficial quality of the American version of Gothic. 3l

Figure 15. Trinity Metbodist Church. 216 S. E. Third

Street. 1863-64. Henry Mursina. Architect.

(Cwrtesg, Henry A. Meger)

In addition to the larger and more archaeologicallv precise interpretations of Gothic, there are sever:rl srnaller Gothic churches still standing whose architcctural merit rests purely upon excellence of construction coupled rvith honesty and simplicity of <lesign. Zion Church, built in 1855 and located on ,-rth Street between Ingle and Bond, and the Emrurrel German Lutheran Church (fig. f6), 1854, on the ('orner of First Avenue and Franklin Street, are trvo of the rnost distinguishecl examples in this manI


Trinity Nlethoclist Church, built in f8ffi-64 by Henry N,lursina, is another example in somewhat purer form of the Tudor Gothic (fig. l5).

Figure 16. Emanuel Gerrnirn l-uthcrln Church, First Averrrrr & Frtrrklin Street. IE54.

(Photo hu nobert Wail)

Figtrrc L7. Ct'rrtral Higlr School, Seventh tr Vino streets. 1868. Cockrirn & Grtrnsay, Architccts, (CourtcstJ, IIctvg A. tr!agcr)

Central High School (fig. l7), built in 1868, is also Gothic Revival. It was designed by a ffrm of Ohicago architects, Cockran and Garnsay, although the superintending architect was Levi S. Clarke, rrctive locally. Noteworthy Gothic features here inr:lude the balanced massing of the building, the general emphasis on the vertical, the tall pointed ('upola, the pointed arches, and the heavy roof gables both on the main and side facades. This orig-



inal structure is essentially still stancling but is norv surrounded by later additions to the sch<iol. When Central High School wrrs fir'st completecl, tlre term Byzuntine was sometimes used in clescribing it. Although this telnr is technicallv incorrect, its special application hele suggests thert there is something different about this builcling frorn rvhat we have seen in other extr.mples discussecl so far. This difference is found in the tretrtnrent of winclow decoration where contrasting colored stones itre usecl to accentuate the pointecl wirrdow heircls. Tlie chief source of knowleclgd for this clevice - often called polychromy - came through a publication bv Johu Rtrskin entitled Stones of Venice in which Ruskin popularized forms and colortrtion efiects taken from the original Gothic architercture of Vcnice which he so admirecl. Such userge is chartrcteristic of tr special phase of Gothic Revival known as Victrlrian Gothic which gained ascendencv'in the 1870's and thereafter and which we shall have occasion to cliscuss in more detail below. The Gothic Revival was also applied to country cottages, often in an amusinglv delicate manner. Perhaps the best exarnple in Evansville was the Ecl Harrison House (fig. 18) which rvas built about 1870. Originally this cottage was locatecl at 907 Wtrshington Avenue, but was later moved to its present site at 8ll Madison Avenue. The stnrctlrre appears to be of Swiss Gothic inspiration ancl is noteworthy for many reasons. While the overall sense of svrnmetrical balance has been retained on the facacle. strch balance is clearly and intentionalll'violated bv the introduction of a bay window at one sicle of the house but elirninated from the other sicle. This tendency is new to us, but it is one which, as we 34


see, was coming to typify much American l,rrilding at this time, It is particularly interesting to observe how Gothic feeling is achieved through llrc steep gables, both trt the Jnds of the house a,ld projecting from the main roof at the front. The lacy '<lripping" barge boards which hang from the exIcncling cornices are in sharp contrast with the rtt'sthetic expressed in classic houses as discussed rrlrove. Since such lacy trim was cut from wood and ,' by newly invented power tools, this r rrriant of the Gothic style is often called "Czrrpentt'r's Gothic." It is to be noted also that the silhotiette ,'[[ect commanded the attentions of the desiqner rvho, by means of chimnevs, gables at ser eral lrcights, overhanging comices and tiny vertical spires lising from the gable points, creates a total composition which both blends with and at the same lirne stands out with distinction from the natural Ixrckdrop of scenery arnd sky.


r, ti,

t t j:



Iriquro 18. The E<l Hanison Cottage. c 1870. Originalll, located at 907 Washirrr.{ton Avenrre hut later movcd to its present site at 811 Madison Avenue. (C ollection, Etarcaille Musum) A'


The superficial aspect of such decoration is obvious, especitrlll' rvheu we recognize that often houses built rnanl' )/er1rs earlier were brought up to date simpl1'by adding 11 new Gothic facade. An interesting exarnple is to be found in the very charming Dr. Tilhnan house in Newbulgh, built in 1859. Foliou'ing a clestructive file about 1870, this house tuur ."noo'ated and a "Keyhole" Gothic porch was added to the facade.


lrrrlaces ;tttl'azzo

or "palazzi," as they wer() callecl. The in Siena, pictured above, is rr good ex-

of what captivated Arnelicans. At the same time, the sets of little torn'er rvindows, fortless-like cr)rnices, the heav;'dripping window heacls aucl the lound as well as pointed arches - all of which rvere lound in Italian originals - excited the imtrgination of American travellers and architects r,vho. rvith the rroetic licer-rse of the rornantic. translated them into tlomestic and civil rvorks of the micl-19th Centurv. rurnple

Palazzo Pubblico, Sienl

Figure 19. Evansville City Hall. 1887. View before the tower w6 removed.

(Co.llectim, Etsrcoille Muse-


One of the lgth Century revival movements which exerted polverful and long-range influence on the character of American architecture is rvhat is often referred to as the Italianate. This rnovement took on a variety of appearances, each in one way or another reflecting the grandeur of the architectural past of the Italian N,{iddle Ages and Renaissance.

The particular idiom which experienced the most widespread acceptance is knor,vn as the Tuscan Revival because it derived from works of the Tuscan region of Italy around Florence and Siena. A special mark of this movement is the fondness for the tall b:rttlemented towers found on mediaeval Italian

Arnong the most widespread and significant of Italianate architecture in America is its lrccluent disregard of symmetry and its interesting nlrrnner of composing horizontal and vertical memlrcrs. In general, the Italianate tended to place em-


phasis on horizontal elements - short and roundlretrded windows, string colrrse mouldings, arcades, 1lat or low-pitched roofs, and overhanging cornices srrpported by elaborate brackets carefully arranged in evenly and closely spaced intervals. To break the 37

llrolrotolrv of horizontal lines ancl urasses, a tall verticzrl in,,,"t. \\/rls generallr. insertecl at some offcernter point of thc tot,rl cirrnplex. -l-he structurrtl lnitssc's to either sicle of tlie towel rvere often not exrrctlv the srune hciglit; nur rlicl thev stancl pleciselv in the s,r,rie f.,uittil plane. Tliis ireed,nll'.lirruptecl ernv senrbliurce of svnrmetrical balance but producecl l more infonnirl irncl imrtgintrtive combination of fomrs rrncl rlasses. Iiurthermore., the stvle rvas oftel nrixecl rvith other rontnntic elenrents Greek, Gothic ur French. But whether in ltule or hvlrrid fornr, Leurnnnts of the Tuscirn Revival cirn be founcl in most Arlerica.n cities. Evansville incleecl hacl its share. The Evansville Cit)/ Hrrll, built in 1887, eremplifies an American version of the style as appliecl to the public lxrilding ancl is of particultrr interest because of tlie battlernented Italianate tower. Alt]roueh for reasons of safety tliis torver was relno)'ecl in cbrnparativelv recent vears, it is indeed a conspicuolrs feature of the original building as shown in figure 19.

Figtrre 20. The Sonntag-Bayard House, 726 S. E. First Street. 1863, (Photo bs Robert WciI)


When appliccl to clorncstic works, thc tcrnr Italian is appropriirte for this str,lc. No ckrulrt the trtrlv srrperb exanrple of the Italiiur Villa in Evlrrsville is the Sonrttuc-lJuvard House at 726 S. Fl. Firsi Street (Fig, 2il). fhis u'irs built in 1863 iuxl ernl,oclies nn trcctrrirte interpretation tncl it prlre usrrge of the Tnscirn as herein described.


ALI Al{ AT E IlLr I LDliv-C /i O-REl/.\1S Sz\lV CE

I' l' ,V


Not all Italianate was so free as that wliich we lrirve desclibecl. On the contrar\' one phrrse of this srrnle lrovement is entirell' conservrrtive sirce rvliile it nrakes use of Itirlian forms, it orgiurizers thern accorcling to the tlirclitional norrlls of cltrssictrl brrlance rrrrcl svmr-rletrv. This orientt-rtion is of corlrse in part rnerelv il continurrtion of the esttrblishecl trend torvrrrd formal balance as found in the Greek Revival. The rnore irnmeclitrte trppeal seems to have cor-ne clirectly from the Italian Renaissrnce which itself was alchitecturallv explessecl in terms of classical berlance. For this reason, this phase of Italianate might appropritrtely be callecl the Neo-Renaissance. Btrilclings designed in the Neo-RenrrissAllce manner show a formal fircade with a door centrallv located and with winclows and surface clecor evenlv balirnced on either sicle of a centrrrl velticirl arii. One frequently fincls srnall tritrngular peclir-nents above the windorv and door openings irs rvell as on the cornice edge irnmediatelv over the centel of the structure. Oft"n the edgei of the facacle are clearly clefined by heavy corner blocks knorvn as quoins. Though such buildings are custourarilv constructed of brick, the n-rain factrcle is often covered with a 39

stone verleer in imitation of the qreett Renaissance palaces of the l5tli tnd 16th centulies. Incidentallv. the err-rphasis on soliditl,ancl strength in the Renaissrrllce exitrnples rellectecl the power consciousness of the irge, trncl it wirs just this psychology with

which the gretrt Incltrstrial Baxrns of 19th eentury America nriw tenclecl to identifv. To nccent the sv# nretn' still frrrtlier. er c.upoli, *i,, often centrallv Iocated on the roof nncl ierved both for clecorative bulernce as well as to adrnit Iieht into the attic foor and the central sta.irwav. This"style was readily applied to various architectural types, uiz. the housi,

lrracketed cornice. the shelf window heads, the ,rrched doorway, the shallow pedirnent over the nrain door, and ffnally the corner quoins. The old U. S. Marine Hospital (fr'g. 22), 18531855, was another exarnple of special interest and

the comrnelcinl stnrcture, the hospital, etc.

pleted on First Avenue.

Figuro 21. Thc William Ileilman Horrse,6ll First Avcnrre. 1869 This structore is lrow occupic<l b] St. Vinccnt's Day'Nurst,r1,. (Photo l\J Robert \Veil)

The William Heilman House (fig. 2I), built in f 869 and designed by Henry Mursina, is perhaps the best example in Evansville. This house is now the St. Vincent's Day Nursery and is located at 611 First Avenue. It was constructed of brick and faced with stone on the main facade only. Of particular irnportance nre the projecting cential pavilion, the 40

U. S. Marine Hospital. 1853-55. Ammi t 872 this structure hecame ihe ffrst St' Mary's Hospital. (Cotilesg, St. Marg's Howital) Fizure 22.


B. Young,


ITALIANATE BUILDD]G: THE LOINBARD RO;IIANESQUE STYLE Another wave of Italianiite carne from the Lombard region in the norJh of Italy'rvhere the Romanesque tradition (a necliaeval expression of the tOth and 1lth centuries ancl therefore earlier than the

structure was remodelled, covered with a veneer of stone and is now used as the Court House Annex.

:l I


The Round Stvle was limited ahnost exclusively to public builclings of the 1850's and 1860's and in no small measure owes its popularity to the publication irr 1849 of a book entitled Hints ott Pulilic Architecture bv Robert Dale Owen. The fact that Owen wAS rr resident of Nerv Hrrrrnonv. Incliana mav account in part for the poptrlalitr'-of the stvle iri Evarrsville. Buildings irr llri Rorrrr<l Stvle rvcre either

svmmetricallv orrasvnrnretricirlh' plirirned. Although never ornate, strch btrilclings expiessecl sorne of tiie more tvpical Italiariate fezrtures which we have alreach' cliscussed. Rouncl arches rvere characteristicalIv usecl for vi'indorv heacls :rncl arcacles, and low square torvers rvith lrroacl overhanging eaves were likervise conmron. An identifvine nrotif was the corbel table. This is a purelr,' clJcorative horizontal moulcling consisting of a cor-rtinuous string of small trrches generallv inserted beneath the cornice of botl-r the nrain stnrcture and the torvers. St. John's Scliool Hall built in 1867 at N,Iarket and Ingle Streets is a goocl example (fig. 23 ). The First Cermtrn Nlethodist Episcopal Church, 1867, at Fourth ancl Vine streets is another. In 1g38. this 42

Fiqtrre 23. St. John's Schml Hnll, trlarket tPhoto by H. E. Wooden)

& Ingle

streets, 1867.

Perhaps the best example in Evansville was the old Canarl Street Public School, now demolished (fig. 2-1). This s'as built in 1855 on the present site of \Vheeler Scliool on Nlulberrv Street between Third and Fourth. The building was a three storv rec-

tangular structure rvith a" low hipped roof,'overhrurging eirves and tu'o balancing frontal towers. The frrcirde rvas svnrmetricallv planned and includecl rr loggia, one ston' high, inserted between the protnrding square torvers. The surface consisted of rrn tuxrstentatious but ctrrefullv integrated design. .tll s'indorvs \\'ere round herrdecl erc-ept for th6sc on the first floor and u,ere effectivelv tied together in verticnl sets b1- long recessed arches mnniig the ftrll hei.'ht of the building. The effect of back-andforth movement is created ll' the multiplicitv of surface planes furnished lx' the projecting towers, 43

Although when built in 1864-1866 the B'nai Israel Temple (fig. 25) was stylistically classified as \Ioorish-Saracenic, this tag is hardly appropriate.

:\#g:"'iH;l?:ri.]:"fl ,[r]!;Xstreetbetlre loggia and the r.ecessed arches which encom-


A.ctually this structure is clearly another example of the "Round" style. It still stands at Sixth and Court stleets but in 1903 it was remodelled and has since lreen used as the Industrial Arts building of Central I{igh School. The projecting central pavilion, .'apped by the triangular cornice and containing the liu'ge rose window, accentuates the symmetrical plan in the massing, The corbel table molding which mns parallel to the cornice line is a device c-haracteristic ,rf the Lombard Romanesque tradition, as we have llreadv seen. Another notervorthv stvlistic feafure ('ornmonlv found in Lombard worki is the comnound windorv which comprises two narrow roundlieaded rvindorvs placed side by side and encased rvithin one large round arch.

Figrrre 95. B'nai Isra<,I TemCourt

plo, comet Sixth &

strects. 1864-66. This structure s'rs remodelled lnd convcrtcd into the Industrial Arts Building of Central Hish School in 1903. (C ollcclion, Etonscillc -llrrscrtrn )

":***fiis 248:a

"i-u*^a, lrigrrre 26. Assnmption Crrthedral


& \'inc


Ilenrl' NIursinn, Architects. 1872. (Photo bv Aobert WeiI)


D. A. Boblen


Fiqrrrr' 27 Drrplor. l lO- l l9 -fhircl .{r<nrrr'. c Ili6o

tures such as the color contrast produced by the use of white stone and red brick - a device cLaracteristic of the Victolian Gothic which by this date had gained much popularity, as we shall see below.


t I f

e keynote


the tgth C

founcl anvw alian influen architecture was strong. By the time the Greek Revival had reached its height, Italian motifs had steadily been creeping in, changing the entire complexion of classically inspired ornamentation. One of the first signs of this transition is the cornice, for often although a building may otherwise manifest the essence of the formal Greek Revival idiom. it will at the same time possess a heavy, overhanging bracketed cornice. The M. W. Foster House and

times the mixture led to a blend of Italian and the French New Orleans varietv of classic in which case a lacy dress of wrought or cast iron trim was placed across the facade. Among the better ex46






tmples in Evansville are the Grammar-Rudd House, the Alva Johnson House and the Newman-GillettLorvry House. There is another interesting series of houses of the 1860's rvhich should be mentioned at this time. Although these do not neatl,v fall into anv one stylistic certegorl', thev nevertheless do express the strong Italianate influence which was predominantly popular in the mid-r,vest cluring the third quarter of the 19th Centun'. These houses are broad and deep,

frequentlv rvitlr low pitched roofs (norrnally 306 or less ) ancl a svmmetricallv balanced facade, and are orientecl rvith the cable encl facins the street. \[irnv are loc'irtecl in the Laurasco distiict and one

of the most unusual exarnples is the old Kerth House at 410-412 Third Avenne (fig.27 ), built about 1860. Here frontal btlance is fullv achieved, and tlie doors'ln's u'ith rcctrrngul:.rr trrlr.rsorns and sidelights are Greek Revival. Since this structure is a duplex, there are trvo front cloors, one at each end of the facacle. The central facade is thus reserved for a pair of projecting pol.vgonal ba1's each supporting a birlc'on1' r'ntcre<l onto from seconcl story windows. Altliough clecorative aspects, especiallv'the roundheadccl winclorvs and the permanent metal awnings and canopies, are indeed Italianate, the interesting 47

combination of such feahrres as the orientation of the house, the lorv pitch of the roof, the rather extreme overhang of the eaves, ancl the unusually pronounced cornice brackets suggests the character of a Swiss chalet.

the Swiss Gothic tradition.

YlCTORlAi,l GOTHIC A movement rvhich gained ascendencv after the Civil War and which rEached a peak of poptrlarity in the lrte 1880's is often termed the Victrlriun Gothic. \\rhile this must rightly be viewed as one r.ving of the Gothic Revival, its chief differentiating tririt is tlie Italianate component, derived this time fron-r Venice, The Victorian Gothic was mentionecl


/ Fiqrrrc 28 The Brlckct \Iills Horrs<', corncr Ort gon & ( C ourtcslJ, ll/rs. Noc/ C nntltlx:(l )


A far simpler but incleetl worthy example is the Bracket \lills Hotrse (fig. 28), still stanclir-rg at the conler of Oregon ancl Rencl strects. This hotrse was built about 1863 ancl rnust be viewed as a sturdv drvelling in the vemrlculAr trirditior-r trf tl-re frontier. However therer ale featurcs rvhich relate it superficiallv to various lgth Centurv str'listic cttrrents. As u,ith il're Kerth horrsc. the nrrrssiirg hele is heavy, though the pitcli of the roof is noticeablv greater (about 40') lxrt still lou' enough to approximate the Itllianate. The facacle is bal:rrtced srrtrmetrically ancl the segmental witrdou's irncl the overhang of the eaves clearlv point to Itirlian iufttence. However, the dripping "icicle" barge boarcls, like the pointed arch forms in the portico, ale solnewhat more in 48

earlier in connection rvith the polvchrome window trim trsed on Central High School, at which time it rvas also stated that the stvle rvts inspired Iargelv bv the publication of John A'rskin's Stoies of Veiic'e ancl other rvorks of the 1850's. For this reason, the nrovenrent is sonretinres cirllecl "Ruskinian Gothic." Buildings in this ntanner were constmcted often of stoue, thougli more often brick u'as used. Nfassing is heirvv a.nd fonns i.rre generzrllv quite bulky. OnE of the cliief aspects is the interest in coloration-effect achieved bv zrlternating rvhite rusticated stone blocks rvith red brick oir,r'ith brorvn or gray stone corlrses. Color contrast is particularlv noticeable in the massive windorv heads rvhere a textural qualitv wi.r.s apparentlv desired. The oriel or hanging bay u'inclorv is a feature much favored bv the Victorian Gothic architect, as is the use of bulkv supporting columns and deeplv undercut surface ornaments and ornamental band mouldines. N{anv of the surface designs, such as stvlized fioral motifs, basketshaped column capitals, and the like, have an exotic fl,rvor reminiscent of original Venetian and Near Eastern prototlpes, especially the N{oorish and Bvzantine variety. Like the Italianate, the Victorian 49

Gothic usually included the tower placed somewhat ofi-center. Also popular is the^heavy slated mansard roof over both the main structure-and the tower. This is really a French ingredient and will be discussed below.

Figure 29, U. S.


House and Post Offfcc. I lt7679. A. B. Nlullctt, .{rchitt,ct. (Photo bq RobLit \Veil)


Two examples of Victorian or Ruskinian Gothic are St. Paul's Episcopal Church, c, 1888, and the Federal Post Office ancl Cnstoms l{ouse. 1876-79 (ffgure 29). The latter rvas designed b1, A, B. IVullet and constmcted of Bedford limestone at a cost of about $236.000. The notervorthv features here are the frontal arcade and the oriel'window. Evansville's "showcase piece" of the Victorian Gothic, horvever, is the \\'illard Librarv, completed in 1884 (fig. 30). The original designs were drawn by the finn of Boyd & Bricklel' of Evansville in 1877. Construction wa.s internrptecl shrlrtlv after it was begrrn and was not continued until 1882 when the proiect was taken over bv Reid Brothers, prominent Victorian architects in Evansville, who changed the 50

elevation-plans and the sty'le, completing the builcling in 1884. The structure containi almo-st all of the characteristic features of the Victorian Gothic including a tall stately tower, mansard .oof, -itlt heavy dormer windows, comice turrets, window arcades supported by modified N,Ioorish or Byzantine columns, snrface color-contrast, and'st rface ornamentation especially beneath the window arches in the form of large rosettes. The placement of the tower to one side of the building achieved the intencled asvmmetrv so characterist-ic of mtrch of the 19th Century revirral movement. Jusfas the exterior of Victorian Gothic constmction is marked bv the trse of heavy forms, so on the interior one finds considerable aitention given to heauu *oodwork. One panel of the main door illustraies the Victorian lrchitect's concern for heavy wood carving (fig. 30 ).

Figure 30. The Willard Li. t877; Archi_


of the

(Collectio4 Eaarcaille lttu-


THE FRENCH INFLUENCE In 1852, the Second Ernpire of France was found-

ed under Louis Napoleou during whose reign

3I. The North Storms Ilorrsc,304 S. E. First Street. Figrrrc I 8U9.

(Photo by

II. E.


French Renaissance architecture of the l7th Century was revived. Just as other Americans were fincling delight in Italian or Gothic in their trtrvels abroad, so American tourists to Flance becarne enthralled by the French Renaissance and the lew French Imperial st1,le exemplified by the Louvre, the Tuilleries or the Paris Opera House. Nloreover, it was at this tirne that a new seneration of American architects had discovered Fi'ance to be the home

The Victorian Gothic idiom. often in cornbination

nenciirble examples is the North storms House built in 1689 und loc,ated at 304 S.E. First Street (fig. 31 ). Ilere rlecorative refinernent arrd surface mov6rlent ancl c'r;lor contrast trre effectivelv achieved bv the interltltr of rvlijte stone aud red'brick and by tlri' rrse ol tt'rra-cotttr pirnels insertercl into the facade itself. 'l'he is rrot in itself particularly typical of tlie Vic,tolirin (lotliic. It coiisists of a'broad ro'.rncl irrch nracle ol heavv lusticated stone vous-

heieht ol Victorian formal confnsion.

of fashion. and Paris the universal center of architectural design. And it was to the Ecole des Beaux Arts - the School of Fine-Arts in Paris - that they tnrned their professional attention for academic guidance. The architectur:rl idiom thus imported into America is called by various names, including F'rencl't Imperial, the Neo-Boroque, the L[ansardic and, perhaps most descriptively, the Stone Quarrg Style.

The walls of the lalger public works executed

in this stvle are constructed of massive and unot "nrsticated" masonrli blocks and are evenlv ".,i planned with broad pavilions jutting forth, usuallv from the center of the facades, Imposing

stairwavs lead from the sround level to the first floor entrance, and interiorlv essentially the same eltrborate. super-refined bul bulkv manner is expressecl. Frequently, purell, decorative, non-supportirrg classic columns or other sculptured forms large and small alike are superimposed onto the surfaces. The final result is excessive stone ornamentation producing an effect of tension - of 53

nervous ancl vacillltinq rnovernent. somewhat in the clirrrtcter of tlie corrtenrporalteous late Victoritn Gothic. Topping the entire heap is a tall, sculptulallv aclorned clome or a heavl mansard ruof rvith a lacv cast iron cresting. The plesent \/zurclerburgh Countv Court House ( fi,9 32 ) is the c,itr''s exaurple of neo-baroque rrrc'lritecture p(tr excellcnce. It rvas built between I888 arid 1891 bv Henrl,\\'olters of Louisville, This stmcture is svnrmetricallv balrurced in the classic sense rurcl thus is reirllv rl conservative expression i-u'chitecturtrllr'. Although it is a far more complicatecl llrilding thitn the earlier Court House of l8;7 (fig 9). on tnalvsis tl're essential cornpositional ar'r'f-ngcments of the trvo ri,ill be seen to correspond closelr'. In both, the clecoration is spread out in svn-u-netricallv organizecl patterns. The principal difference in the tw'o ljes in the extent to ri'liich clecorirtiol is usc'cl. Like tlie earlier work, the l89l Court IIouse is a lolg rectangular structure with a broad pavilion projecting perpendicularly


\Tanderhrrrgh Corrnlv Court House, Fourth & Corrrt streets.18881891. Henry Wolters, Architect. (Collectim, Etanstille Musurn) 32


frorn each of the long srdes ancl a soaring dome erected on the roof at the crossing point of the pavilions and tlie axis of the main building. But whereas the 1857 building is sirnple, the latcr one is weighted down by heav1, 1'et detailed stonc carvings geared to increase the overall effect of controlled surface plasticity. As the eve passes over the surface, it is forced to move nervous]v in and out amidst a multiplicitv of forns, botir large ancl small. No space is left empty and one tencli to becorne ber.vilderinglv involved in the overpr.rwering and highh' organized complexitv. Some of the forrns found here are quite new to the architecture of Evar-rsville. In particulur, one notes at the thircl storr' Ievel the srnall round windows surrounded by elaborate scroll designs. This feature is knorvn as the caftouclrc. Along the cornice line, a marble balustrade railing encircles the entire lxrilding. thus concealing thJ low mansard roofs behind. This balustrade is interrupted only

Figure 33 St. Gcorge Hotel, Fint & Locust streets (present site of MeCurdy Hotel ) l.874. Josse A. Vrydagh, Architect. (Collectim, Epawtille Musnm)


of applied surface forms. The lgtli centurr' "Nlodeln" French was ahnost 4lwa1's complex and ostentatious, though buildirigs such as the Coult House admittecllv repr.esent tlL extrerne. Less omate but no less foir,rai rvere such structnres as the old St. Geolge Hotel (fig. BB) at First trnd Locust streets, rn here the N{cCurdv Hotel now stands, arrd Colunrbia School (fig, il+), at Colurnbia and Oaklev streets. Both of tliese wor-ks were designed bv Josse A. Vr','dagh and were completed in 1874. Here rve have the essence of lgth Centurv dignit,v zrnd self-conscious fomalitv reflecting the proprietr. of social life on the one hand and the undeviating allegiance to order and discipline in academic training on the other.

Fiqure 34 Colrrnrhir School. 601 W. Colturbia Street. 1g74. (Photo Architect. bg Robeft WeiI)



A. Vrydagh,

The domestic examples of French Imperial are usually less ornate than are the public works, but perhaps only because of the prohibitive costs otherwise involved and because wood, still rather rvidely used for horne construction, did not successfully lend itself to the same degree of sculptural dressing. Again, symrretrical balance characterizes the French Imperial house-tvpe. On the interior, one finds the central hall retained thoueh the stairwav generally ascencls from a small arei at one side of the hallway proper. Chief among the traits found here is the tall, steep rnansard roof, sloping along a fat, convex or concave plane, with broad pointed dormers and covered with slate tiles in contrasting color cornbinations of vellow, green, pink and gray. Quoins are placed along the corners in a vertical rorv. These contrast with the rest of the facade and thus define the phvsical bounds of the hotrse. On close inspection, the "heavy" quoins used in most Arnerican exanples are found to have no structural value whatever, but are rather no more than laree hollow wooden blocks.

Ficure 35. Viele-Bohnsack House. "Sunset View". 404 S. E. Rivenide Drive. 1855; remodelled, c 7872, (Photo bg Ann Hambuechen)


"stone" quoins are made of rvood. This house was l>uilt about 1872 ancl is now the Rectorv of St. Anthonr"s Roman Catholic Church.


Figrrrr. 36. Anthonv Rr is Horrsr . i0j First Ar lnrl,. ls thr. Rr ctrrrr ol St Arrtlrrrrrr's C,,tt,,,lic. t;l,i,,lctr

s( r\ ( s


We have rrlreacll'spoken of the Lornbard Romancs(pe ils one aspect of ntid-I9th Century ltalian:rte rlrciritecture. hi the 1880's rurother RonranesrSle revir.'al giriued popularitl' especiallv in expurcling colllnerciill a.nd rnanufacturing ceuters. This nrovenrent horvcver had its soulce-of inspirntion in the Iiornrrnesqtre cirthedrrrls of sotrthern Francc rlnd lvir.s to exercise long range though interruptccl influeucc' on the strbseqnent developnrent of the 20th ccnturv nroclern architectural icliorl. Its chief exponent rvrrs Henlr. Hobson Richardson, a native of Nerv Orletins, r-ht) after trrrvellinq ancl studving in France rlesigned the celelrratecl Trinitl' Churcf, in Bostorr (1872-1877 ) . Richarclson sought to clevelop all "American Stvle" - tr vehicle b1' u'hich the energr', the honesll' and the grorvirig prestige of th"e American clernocrtrtic ideirl coulcl be expressed. The means chosen to achieve this end included among other tlrings the use of the round-herrded and wideSpanned stmctural arch such as is foturd over the broacl central portals of Frencl-r Ronanesque cathedrals of the llth and l2th centuries. Thus althorrgh this movement was "romturtic" in the sense that its fonns were derivative and at times even sor-newhat ornamentallv opulent, in its outlook the Richarclsonian Romanesoue was quite modern, for Richardson's point of departure was basicallv a calculated concern for stnicture and function rith59

er thln for trim alone. It is in this respect thlt tlie Richarclsonian Rollrirr resque differecl fronr previous revivals. In a ser)se it s'rrs tlie first ntoclern ntovc'rnent of tlie lgth Cc'rrtrrn-, pLrcing enrphasis on the form-follorvsfrrrrc'tion cloctline'. Frrnctiorr here merrnt meetinq spr:c'ific ncccls of tlrt' c,on'nnt,rcierl ancl industrial sol cit'tr of tht, late lllth Centurv America for more sprr('c :rncl nrore Ilght - in ritilrotrcl stirtions, \\,rtreIr,rust,s. offic.t' lrrril.lirrgs. hospitals and schools as u'r'll irs in sorne of the more elite private residences of tlre period. 'Ihe use of nriissive arches pernritted tlit' introcLrc,tion of broncl cloorrvirr's and n'indorvs u'itlrout-s'eirkening tlie strtrctural rvalls and, bv the sirnrt' tokerr, ntrrcle it possible to operr up cornpitratir elv ri'ide erpanses of ttnobstnrcted sltace oi interiors so as to increase the efficiencl' of rnovement zrnd

of rvork.

stvle in Evansville is the trveen 1887 and f88g (fir the Business trlen's Asso clesigned bv the Reid Brr ite ancl heavv brown st foor level and the nassir irr the rlain entrance on u'orthy features designec

strerrgth. TIte br<lad st "opened up" the rvalls, a< teriors ancl thus functiona

for u4rich the builclirlg wi slenthrr J''"1 the oilter tne other llaltct, hand, tlre the square corlter tt)\4'ers, Lrr(r der turlets ancl the decorative motifs distrilrttted which over the surface are the romiurtic "t"r"Jntt even were inevitable in Victorian architecture, when its functioll was commercial.

Figure 37. The Grein Build-

ing ( fomerly the


\ten's Association Building), corner Second & Vine streets. f887-89, Reid Bros., Archi-

tects. (

Photo, Cnaesg Erarcuille


Skeets - ^''hnre Fiorro 38. The old Y.\f.C..{. Brrilding, comer Fourth Schlotter' l prlslrt site of Ilulnran Brrilclinq ). I 890-c)1. Rcid Brothers Tratft";X Architects. (Pltoto, Cutrtcslt Hanru A. !IeV?r)

One of the most distinguished exarnples of this 60

Other fine examr;les of the Richarclsonian Romanesque inchrde the \Iackev Nisbet & Co: ^D^tltto: irrg (norv the Bruckerr Brrilding) built in lUdu at 61

Fi-'st and \/ine streets, and the old Y\ICA (ffg. built in 18S)0-1891. The latter rvas designed by the Rc'id Brothers ancl Frank Schlotter and stood orr the present site of tlie Hulnan Building at Fourth and Svc,anrore streets. This stvle lingered rvell into the 20th Centurv and with some ia.iations is well reprcsented by the Louisville and Nirshville Railrolcl Station at 300 Fulton Avenue (fig. 39). This u'irs <lesignecl b.i' J. Werness and built in 1902 tit a cost of ahnost $120,000. There irre milnv buildings of the period which are onll' partlv Rn,lr,,r-r"rqi,e. In those cases the large arch is the one elerirent u'hich enjol'ed the greatest prominence, even though this was used perhaps lrrrgeh' fol clisplav and irecause it was associated u'ith an alnrost arant g.arde taste in the closing veArs of the lgth Centurr'. The Old St. \Ian"s Hospital (1893-94; Henrr' \Iursina, architect), Central High School Tou,er (1898; Frank Schlotter, architect) and the Home of the Little Sisters of the Poor at 1236 Lincoln Avenue ( 18803-8)

1882) furnish excellent examples. Often closell, allied rvith the Richarclsonian Rornanesque is rvhat rnight be called the French Chateau st1'le. This rvas inspired bv French Nleclieval castles along tlie Loire Vallev and is chror-rologically reallv more Gothic than Romrrnesque, though the ernphasis here is aglin on strength ancl stability. Its chief cltrim to clistinction is the preserlce of the rouncl bulging torver placed at the col'ner of the lxrilcling and toppecl b1' a tall conical "dunce-cap" roof. Homes u'hich incolporatecl this feature rvere lluilt in :.rbundirnce about the hrrn of thc century. The Abrahanr Strouse flouse (fig. a0 ) is certainly :rmong the finest eramples. This u'as lrtrilt in 1897 by Frank Schlotter, a locirl irrchitect of considerable renowu, and is locatecl at 739 S.E, First Street.

Figrrro 40. The Abraharrr Strouse Horse.739 S. Schlotter, Archit('ct. (Photo bu H. E. V'oodcn)

Figrre 39. The Lorrisr.ille & Nashvillc Railroad Station, 900 Fulton 1902. J. Werness, Architect. (Photo lry Aobcrt lVeil)



E. Fist Street.



The term Victorian derives from the name of England's 19th Century Monarch, Queen Victoria, who reigned from 1837 to 1901. In its broadest sense, this expression applies to almost all of the 19th Century architectural movements which we have found in Evansville. However, the customary reference of this term is limited to the jumble o? styles culminating in the period after the American Civil War. The Victorian age was one of uncertainty - of conflicts in values, of lolting change and oi goals not adequately defined. On the onJhand it wis an age which faced the future with chagrin and fear and therefore found security in the forms of the past. On the other hand, it was enormously progressive in science and technology and to no small degree in economic theory and social reform as well. If the age appears to lack logic, this is because of the incongruency of these two conflicting currents. Both currents are well expressed in architecfure. The tendency to look backward - to depend on forms of earlier periods as a basis for aesthetic expression - accounts for the multiplicity of revivals. As we have found, derivative forms were of course pulely superficial and were used thus as appliqu6 and in total disregard of their original historical function, There is also ample architectural evidence of the progressive side of the period. For even though the 19th Century was architecturally dependint on the forms of ihe past, those forms'were

now manufactured with modern power driven machine tools - a fact which reveals a rnarked awareness of the present. N{oreover, awaleness of functional needs, as is evidenced for example by the Richardsonian Romanesque, and the urge to express technological daring, as for example in the use of the cantilever to achieve the second story overhang so comnron in many of the so-called Queen Ann houses of the late lgth Century, are pronounced tendencies of progressive Victorianisrn.

We have seen how the Victorian tended to

equate architectural beauty, with stylistic variety in architecture. An early passage from the Courier, May 2, 1874, announces this point of view: "We have passed that period of development when all buildings are constructed for use without regard to the beauties of architecture or the satisfaction of taste, and the city rejoices in scores of private residences which are perfect rnodels of beauty and taste." The enormous growth of the town during the late lgth Century (see figure 4) provided increased building opportunity and interest in architectural design, and the almost inexhaustible repertory of the Victorian architect was indeed suitable to the occasion. He was often both willing and prepared to execute his designs according to the whims of his public. One architect of Southern Indiana who did considerable work in Evansville advertised in 1883: "We can furnish designs of every stvle"! While many such designs were purely

American inventions and often convey a kind of extravaganza quality, in retrospect the Victorian architect must be viewed for what he was. Rarely if ever were there two identical buildings conceived in the Victorian manner. for the Victorian archi-






torirrn :rrchitccture \\'rrs itLlost rl ga.lne> reflecting tlre spirit of tlte notttc(ut rit'ltc it-t tenns of intense competition of neu'lr' \\'on po\\'el' ancl, apologeticalh', of cultulal supc'rficirrlitr'. Perlilps, as r-nilnv bclic'r'e toclrrr', this \\-rrs lur irge rvhen trrste ancl refinentcnt \\'er(' sontctintr.s at rr lrlrv eblt; brrt it s'ils rrlso an agc rr'herr. irr lcspects at leirst, Anrc'ri<,rrn in<lividualitr rrpp('urs to hrrvc reach-

terrelationsliip of mASSes is Italiurite. Altlrough the corrscious intention of neithel the irrchitcct ttor the of fonrrs :rricl tlie originirl o\\'ner is knos'n, clivelsitr'tltc' purts, though plttern of totirl olgrurizational perhaps sonreu'hirt unclisciplinecl, proclrrinr rr kincl of frecclorn fionr urthoclox fornruLrs sinrilrrr ttt u,htt \\'irs corlceived nruch lirter br erponents of 20tlr Centun' rnoclernism. It is essentialh' the erccss of frrnriliirr Yictorian trin-r *'hich is brrcks'irrcl krokinq irncl s'hich corrceirls an otheru'ise iuhererrtlv erpcrinrental progrru-n. Yet u'ith all clue respect for the ercitirtg a<lvetr^ trrres of Yictorianisn-r rllly effort in anv frlnn to

ecl tou'erirrg hei ghts.

Fi(rrrc 4l, Thc r\ishet-Koch l[,rrrsr., I flTrl




the poiut, the




E First


Roben Wcil)


House (fig ] ) at 310 S.E, Filst Street is per.haps Evansville's most irr-rplcssive erarnple. tliis house rvas llrilt in 1878. Stylisticallr', the trim is an Arncricirn r-crsion of Flerrclr Irnperiirl w'lrile the in66

Fiqr:r, -12 l:rnorrnric Vicrl o{ Errrrrrillr'. 1,SlJ1, 1Crll,'ctitn4 1jr rtttst illt -\.lrirrtrrrr

(lrrrLrt floust'.



frrrrn Yanderhurgh Corrnty

relive the past is always futile. And this was the situation at the close of the 19th Century when Evansville, like almost everli Arnerican town, was veritably arr architectru'll lioclge podge of Victoriarrisrn, l'he vicw of livansville shown in fistle 42 u,as tlkel in 1891 lronr the top of the theniecently conipleted \/anderllurgh County courthouse. In the inrmediate folegrouncl, the camera has caught sonie of the decorative French statuary on the courthotrse itself. This rvas carved by the sculptor, Flrrir:,- llrrgehniuur of Chicago, who later settlecl in Evrrnsville. Bclou'. orr strr,et lervel, can be seen the c'oLurtv jail a-ncl sherifl's residence built in 1889 irr ir kincl of Flench inspired castellated style. hr th<' frileground to the extrerne left is the old First Gcrrnan \lethodist Episcopal Church built in 1867 in the Lon-rbard-Romanesque or "Round" stvle. In the middle glound is the Gothic Revival Trinitv School ( 1869 ) and the soaring Gothic tower of Trinity Church (185f ). In the distance on the left is the Victorian Gothic Federal Post Office and Custonrs Ifor,rse ( 1876-1879 ). Nearer the water front, on First Street, can be seen several of the comrnercial builclings in the Richardsonian Rorrrancsqrre stvle.

On street level, a comparable panorama of Victorianisrn is frrmished. Bv the end of the 19th Cen-

tu co be dr

and the

city had bearing


an expressions that had developed over the preceding three or foul decades. Figure 43 shows N{ain Street, Evansville, in 1898 on the occasion of the close of the Spanish-American War. The store 68

Figure 43. Views of Main Street on the occasion of the Spanr'sh-American War Armistice, July, 1898. (Couttesg, Thornas O. Muellu)

fronts, each with its own ornamental flourish, the sidewalk awnings, the telegraph poles and the streetcar tracks together depict the contrast between past and present in the life of the times. The late 19th Century dress is interesting since, with its accent on overdone embellislunent, it echoes the spirit of the architecture of the period. This context suggests a basic dilemma in the developrnent of Arnerican city life, for although Victorian designs and forrns express the emotional outlook of almost three quarters of a century ago, they are today still charged with the responsibility of implenenting the functional and aesthetic needs of a radically changed rnode of human social existence. A view of rnost any "Main Street" today is still largelv a parlor"-" oi Victorian architectlre for less apparent change has come about than one rvould suppose. At the turn of the 20th Centurv, buildings began to appear which decolatively are somewhat less extreme than those built iust a few vears earlierand in sone cases evel] mole functiorial. The Paui Mueller house, located on the corner of Columbia and Elsas streets, lvas built about 18g6 bv the very fashionable architect of the d"y, i-rank Schlotter, and exernplifies a type of comparatively inexpensive cottage which was becoming popular at this time. Figure 44 is a group of original photographs taken shortlv after the house was occupied by the N{ueller family and therefore serves well to document prevailing concepts of both interior and exterior decoration. On the exterior of the cottage, there is the large semi-circular arch rvindow in each of the gables and a large rectangular window on the first foor of the main facade. 7A




Finre 44. The Paul


Hoirse- Columbia &


streets. 1896. Frank Schlotter,

ArchitGct. Exterior and inter10f vtews. (Cwrtesg, Thomas O. Muellet)


These are forward looking features which suggest the Richardsonian Romanesque adapted to wooden construction. Windows are also located so as to face onto the loggia, and tliis usage reflects the conscious effort to admit light into the interior. In ad-

traditional Victorian framework, for the tendency toward revivals continued and, to an almost incon-

dition to these newer forms, however, much of the Victorian trim remains, for example the lathed

balustrade posts, the voluted consoles beneath the gables, the decorative panels beneath the gable windows, and the slender pin-like wooden keystone in the arches of the gable rvindows. Again on the interior we find the combination of old and new. The woodwork was left unpainted

so as to reveal the natural rvood grain and


varnished onlv to protect the wood surfaces. Likewise, the furniture is skeletal construction, entirely unupholstered. These expressions signalize a growing interest in the honesty of materials and in the structure of forrn. The more tvpical Victorian traits however still predorninate. Noteworthl, are the broad ceiling wallpaper border, the rope carpet with scattered rugs, the heavy portieres and potted ferns and, to fill up space, the portable ornarnental obiects, for example farnill' photographs, souvenirs, statuettes and other early mass-produced obiets d'art. The American at the end of the tgth Century still found the need for surrounding himself with bric-a-brac as reminders of his personal past, such as are shown in these interior views. Such objects were concentrated at such conspicuous spots as mantlepieces, the dining room server, or on any available shelf. The Mueller house acfually represents a relatively progressive tvpe. N{ost buildings at the opening of the century were far more within the 72

Revival, a revival of the Gothic Revival, and several exotic excursions which were rooted in the Near and Far East.

never been fully able to emancipate itself. The following examples of works here in Evansville will illustrate this discussion:

o The Mark N. Gross House (figure 45), 606 S.E. First Street, built about 1896 and de-

er; the stained glass window; and much sur73


face decoration achieved by the combined use of brick, wood, stone and terracotta.


Boelme Nlansion, I\IONTICEL-

LO, 1119 Lincoln Avenue (figure 47). Built about 1915 and clesigned b1'Clifford Shopbell, this is an example of the "revival of Greek Revival" rvhich had become quite common in the earlv 20th Centurr'. \\/hile the fonns used, for exarnple the tliangular pecliment, the dentil moldings arid of course the cloorway rvith rectangulai transorn and narrou' sicleliglits, are Greek in derivation, it is clear that the proportions here are evell less archaelogically correct than those usecl chuing the Greek Revival of the 1830's trnd 1840's.

Figrrre 45. The Mark Gross House, 606 S. E. Firct Street. 1896. Frank Schlotter, Architect. ( C ollection, Eaansaille Museum)

Fiqrrre _-lti. 'flre Sam C)rr House,60g S. E. Fimt Street. 19O4. (Photo bV Aobert Wcill

The Sam Orr House, 603 S.E. First Street (figure 46). This was built in 1904 in the pre-Georgian style and was apparently intended to simulate the stuccoed half-timber cottage of English Tudor times with multiple roof levels, casement windows and a rather imposing English manor portal with vestibule. 74

.Figrrre 47. The John w. Boehne \{ansion, "Monticello", c. 1915. Clifford Shophell, Architect. (Photo bu Robert Weill


1lI9 Lincoln


Tlre Coliseum,400 Court Street (figure 48)' This rvas constructed in I9t6 and, like the

wlriclr included six doric columns in antis (i'e,, placed within the space betrveen th-e- proiecting end walls ), supporting an entablature 75

containing the "official" of alternating trigh'phs and metopes. Topping this is a cornice slightll' graded upward to suggest the triangular pediment fonn. The remainder of the building, constructed of a buff glazed brick popular at this time, is essentially nondescript and in massing trnd formal detail has no apparent relation rvith anv Greek original.

Fignro 49. The Alhambra Theafre, 302-304 Adams Street. (Plroto bg Robert Weil)


The Passenger Depot for the Chi,cago and Eastern Illinois Railroad. (now the Evansville Community Center), 6 S.E, Eighth Street (figure 50). This was built in 1903-04 and derives frorn the English Baroque of the 16th and early 17th Century as popularized by such leading exponents as Inigo Jones. Fiqure 48. The Evansville Coliseun, 400 Court Street. 1916. Clifiord Shopbell. Architect. (Photo by H. E. Wooden)

The Alhanilna"Tlrcatorium" (figure 49), 302i10.1 Aclanrs Street. This u'trs built in 1913 and represents an erample of the Arnerican interpretation of the exotic architecture of the East, here superficiallv adapted to the movie house. The n-rost striking feature is the interest in twodirnensional textural design achieved bv the use of buff and black glazJd brick and offering essentiallv no surface plasticity. 76

Finrro 50. (jhicago & Eastenr Jllinois R:rilroad Prssenqer Delot (norv f,ransvillo Cornmunity Center).6 S. E. Eighlh Strect. 1903-1904. (Plrcto btJ H. E Wooden)

These are just a few of the many examples of Victorianism lingering on into the 20th Century. Still others include such expressions as the Spanish Villa, the Tuxedo cottage, the 20th Century revival of the Early Republican, and of course the currently popular Williamsburg House. The movement initiated by H. H. Richardson and thereafter promoted by Louis Sullivan and his proteg6 Frank Llovd Wright was for long ignored so that many 20th Century buildings are superficial and impose grave limitations on life activity and life space. Such buildings are still under the influence of the past. They tend to project the life patterns of the past on to the present, and in this sense again they are behaviorally and environmentally anti-therapeutic.

But our evaluation should not be unfairly harsh,

for this dilemma originated and was perpetuated

by misunderstanding. Today it is slowly being overcome through research into human behavior, resulting in new and more realistic approaches to constructing space in accord with present concepts of living. The modern building is modern when it more fully expresses contemporary aesthetic outlook and when it supports and serves the needs of people in the present without the encumbering controls of an outdated past. Evansville possesses such buildings including, for example, the shopping centers, many of the modern industrial plants and commercial buildings, as well as such forward looking structures as the St. Mary's School of Nursing and the Evansville Museum of Arts and Science. By virtue of their being 20th Century, however, they are beyond the scope of this analysis. 78

Architectural Heritage of Evv  

Architecture Heritage of Evansville, IN

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