Architectural integrity through architectural elements is the indelible mark of historic homes and landmarks.
It is usually the only tangible proof of bygone golden eras ruled by classic styles.
Restoration efforts and day to day upkeep of historic homes can be financially mind boggling. The sheer expense of replicating these styles in today’s market can create financial hurdles difficult to clear. Aging and changing neighborhoods coupled with a natural progression away from this style of living places most of these homes in the private sector on an endangered species list.
The craftsmanship, detail to details, and artisan skills used to envision, shape, form, and build these homes fascinate me. Over the years we have had the opportunity to tour, consult on, and donate antique pieces to several state and privately owned historic homes.
As much as I love antiques I will walk right by a period piece without so much as a glance to get to the heart of the historic matter. Architectural elements grab and hold my attention.
In our city we have a block that is known as Mansion Row. Anchoring the far left corner of the block stands the Thompson-Hargis Mansion. Built in 1907, this Greek Revival home with characteristic Ionic columns, porte-cochère, triangle pediment, and transom entry was once a jewel in the crown of our city history. The exterior and grounds showed the weathered look of sun and time- nothing paint and repair could not fix. The property was structurally sound and the architectural integrity intact.
The furnishings were removed years ago, the windows and doors boarded, and the grand dame beautifully sat idling until this past Sunday evening when she fell victim to a senseless demise.
Neighbors who recall the elegance of what was and admirers of what could have been mourn the total loss of of property, history, and hope.
It is a sad turn of events and an even sadder realization that original, historic, and one of a kind architectural elements were destroyed. Dollars do not factor into the equation, there is no replacement value for the architectural integrity of this 105 year old home. RIP Thompson-Hargis Mansion.
Preserving history and restoring things runs in my family. Dave the Builder and I preserve antique and architectural pieces. My brother purchased, moved, and restored his circa 1903 Victorian home – his second property to restore. I am currently in the process of photographing his home to feature in a future post. Stay tuned.
images: Preservation in Mississippi, New Orleans Homes and Neighborhoods, Galveston History, History of a House Museum, NOLA, Old Houses, Frenchtowner, Louisiana Trust for Historic Preservation, Perpetual Renovator, We Saw That