Saturday, August 1, 2015

The Evolution of a Building

Once upon a time, 314 Warren Street was a Greek Revival house. It's rumored that an early picture of the house exists and some claim to have seen it, but our knowledge of the building's earliest appearance comes from a 19th-century picture taken of the house next door--the spectacular Federal style home of Captain John Hathaway.

At some point in the later 19th century, the house at 314 Warren Street was fitted up with Victorian ornamental hoods over the windows and the door. At another point, probably in the mid-20th century, the first floor windows were replaced with standard size windows that were shorter than the originals, and the clapboard was covered with new, probably asbestos siding. Through all this time, the Greek Revival pilasters and the fanlight in the pediment survived. (Sad to say, its remarkable neighbor was first horribly disfigured and then demolished.) The picture below, from Lynn Davis's Warren Street Project, shows the house as it was in 1995.

Copyright 1996 Lynn Davis
Early in this century, before the Historic Preservation Commission got going and all of Warren Street was declared a locally designated historic district, the facade of the building was returned to its Greek Revival appearance. The 20th-century siding was removed, revealing both the original clapboard and how the windows had been shortened. Then the Victorian elements were stripped away, and the fenestration on the first floor was altered to turn what had originally been a private residence into a commercial building.

Its redesigned facade was first painted yellow, with white pilasters and red doors. The only documentation of that color scheme found is this detail from a Bing map.

In 2010, the building got a new color scheme--dark gray, with cream window frames and sash, cream pilasters, and black doors.

In recent weeks, the building has been getting some attention--both inside and out.

Earlier this week it became yet another all-black (or very, very dark gray and black) building in Hudson.

With so many black buildings in Hudson, let's hope orange never becomes the new black in architectural fashion.


  1. Very handsome ! all the best.

  2. In Newport RI, many of landmark, researched, restored houses from late 17th and 18th houses are painted in one solid color. This very dark grey is common, as is a very dark red oxide. Many of these were built by "newcomers" from Nantucket and related to those who would later found Hudson.
    I think this suits this building and calms it down.

  3. It's bleak and unattractive. Black buildings are a fad - hopefully a short lived one.

  4. looks great! and i like orange too!

  5. Wow! The building looks so much better and very handsome. The monochrome treatment definitely enhances the detail on the building. Great job!

  6. I'm with Prison Alley. Calms it down is spot on.

  7. Nice clean up. And, um, the grey looks great :))