Exquisite Bungalow in Rensselaer

Here's a little history on maybe the most interesting bungalow I have visited-the house has been placed on the National Register of Historic Places in the last year and has undergone restoration.  The home's original owners were Oren and Adella Parker who were merchants in the city of Rensselaer.  Oren was born in 1875 and was the second generation of his family to live in Jasper County.  His father and mother, Francis and Mahala Walker Parker, were farmers in Barkley Township who maintained two farms north of Rensselaer that totaled 413 acres after they moved into the city in 1893.  The home, built in 1917, remained in the Parker family until Della's death in 1962.

The Parker House is best classified as a Craftsman bungalow, though the house’s details show an eclectic mix of other styles popular during the early 20th century.  The Craftsman style was inspired primarily by the work of brothers Charles and Henry Greene in California.  The term bungalow originates in India where it refers to a low house surrounded by porches.  The American form of the bungalow began in California and spread quickly through the country as an acceptable and desirable style for the growing middle class in quickly developing suburbs.  These homes were popularized in pattern books and other home magazines, again through the work of the Greene brothers of California.

Three-level entry foyer and staircase
The architect for the house was from Chicago and that urban influence is also part of the home’s construction.  The wide entry door with small square windows and the general interior layout of rooms is similar to Prairie Style architecture of the period.  The spaces flow into each other and multiple levels are visible to each other from the grand staircase.  This creates the sense that the ceilings are fairly low and the area is organized more horizontally.  The carved stone capitals and the egg-and-dart trim at the top of the porch’s walls both display a quality identified with Louis Sullivan.  The stone capitals have a blended Prairie Style appearance with Sullivan’s work.

Buffet and murals in the home's dining room.
The other popular style of the period that is part of the home’s construction is the Tudor Revival style.  Predominantly this is identified by the wood trim in the house.  The home’s doors and windows have pointed arches as does the wainscot in the dining room.  The hand-painted mural above the dining room wainscot is another feature of the house that heightens the importance handcrafted details were to both the designer and the home’s owners.  No information other than the name of the home’s architect can be found, though it appears he may have concentrated his work in residential design in the region in and around Chicago.


Jim said…
What a great house.

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