26 August 2013

The Garwood House: inspiration for the Golden Dome?

Garwood House, c. 1900
John Garwood Jr. came with his father to LaPorte County in 1831 where he later married in 1854.  John Jr. inherited his portion of his father's estate and constructed an impressive farmhouse west of LaPorte.  The historic John Garwood Jr. farmhouse was constructed in the "Italian Villa" style in c. 1866, which, as the name implies, reflected the rambling villas of the Italian countryside.  John and Cynthia left the home to their son, George, in 1893.  George established Garwood Orchards, a fixture in LaPorte County's countryside to this day.  George's sons later inherited the farm.

Garwood farm as depicted in LaPorte County History Book, 1874
While the house is architecturally extraordinary, the more fascinating aspect is the home's possible connection to Northern Indiana's most iconic example of architecture.....the Golden Dome.

Just east of the Garwood house is the William Orr House, constructed in 1875 and designed by Chicago architect Willoughby J. Edbrooke.  Edbrooke became a nationally-known architect who designed the Georgia State Capitol and the Treasury Department in Washington DC, among many other large-scale government buildings.  But what does this have to do with the Garwood house and the Golden Dome?
Note the cream-colored brick and burgundy-colored stone trim
The level of design craftsmanship in the Garwood house led me to research the only other contemporary architect-designed building in the vicinity, the Orr house.  That led to the discovery of Edbrooke's design for the new administration building at Notre Dame in 1879.  But what caught my eye was the match of materials used on ND's administration building and those used on the Garwood house.  The use of cream-colored bricks on both buildings was maybe coincidental, but the use of burgundy-colored sandstone window embellishments was uncanny....I've yet to run into it anywhere else in Northern Indiana.  Other minor stylings of ND's administration building also have the feel of the Garwood house.

Note the similarity of materials used
So, the question became if Edbrooke didn't design the Garwood house, did the Garwood house inspire Edbrooke's design of Notre Dame's new administration building?  I tend to think that Edbrooke had a hand in the design of the Garwood house, which predates the Golden Dome by about a decade, but no paperwork has ever been found to connect the architect with the home....it could quite possibly be one of his earliest designs.

The Garwood House was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2011.

No comments: