06 May 2015

The Erwin mark on Tippecanoe Township's Architecture

The 1879 Gaskill-Erwin House
Newly listed to the National Register of Historic Places is the Gaskill-Erwin House in Tippecanoe Township, Marshall County.  The house was built in 1879 by the Gaskill family but has had a much longer history with the Erwin family after they purchased it in the early part of the 20th century.

Joseph Gaskill and his family arrived in Marshall County from Stark County, Ohio in 1860.  Gaskill was the proprietor of a sawmill and also farmed his eighty acre tract.  They had eleven children between 1855 and 1876.  Lewis Erwin purchased the farm in about 1925.  The Erwin family had arrived in Marshall County from Stark County, Ohio during the mid-1850s.  Members of the Gaskill and Erwin families knew each other and jointly had sold property in Stark County, Ohio.  The Erwin family had accumulated considerable landholdings in the northern part of Tippecanoe Township and southern Bourbon Township.  Lewis, a grandson of the original Erwin to settle in the county, and Eleanor were the parents of two children, Emily and William.   The house remains in the Erwin family today.


The Gaskill-Erwin House is an excellent example of the Italianate style used on the construction of a large frame farmhouse.  The Italianate style was popular between 1850 and 1880, particularly in Midwestern towns where the expansion of railroads brought wealth to communities and created a building boom during the period.  Cupolas, towers, and bracketed cornices became the style’s hallmarks. The style was popularized by house pattern books by Andrew Jackson Downing during the middle part of the 1800s, but its popularity began to wane as it began to be replaced by the Queen Anne Style in the last decades of the 19th century.  While the Gaskill-Erwin House type is more typical of a late Georgian double-pile, its architectural style is in keeping with the popularity of the Italianate style during its construction date of 1879.

The 1855 Erwin House
An earlier house constructed by the Erwin family in about 1855 is just across the road from the Gaskill-Erwin House.  The earlier house was recently restored and is in the process of also
being listed on the National Register of Historic Places.  The house is an example of Greek Revival architecture applied to an "upright-and-wing" house type, which simply means a dominant front gable, usually two-stories tall, with a one or one-and-a-half story wing on its side.  The Greek Revival style became popular in American building trends as the nation sought to emulate its democratic identity rooted in Greek civilization.  The style typically has some appearance of pilasters and an entablature, even in its most simple rural form, as a nod to ancient Greek temples.

No comments: