Thursday, November 8, 2018

More of the Work of Edmund Denegar

In the early years of this century, the grand house at 345 Allen Street underwent a transformation, gaining an imposing two-story Greek Revival portico that it didn't have before.

This wasn't the first time a new owner of the house chose to reinterpret its design. A little more than a hundred years earlier, in 1901, Malcolm Gifford, grandson of Elihu Gifford, who established the Gifford Foundry in 1863, and vice president of the family business, then known as Gifford-Wood Company, bought the house and had it remodeled in Colonial Revival style. A item that appeared in the Columbia Republican on April 4, 1901, reveals that Edmund Denegar, who built 35 South Fifth Street for himself in 1888, was to be the contractor for the remodeling, which promised to transform the grand house into "a mansion of architectural beauty entirely different from anything now to be seen" in "that aristocratic section of the city." 

To Gossips' knowledge, there is photographic documentation of what the house looked like before the 1901 remodeling, but there is a record of its appearance before its most recent transformation.

The one-story portico of the 1901 reconfiguration was in harmony not only with the two bays on either side of the house but was also in harmony with the one-story porches and porticoes found on the rest of the houses in this "aristocratic section of the city."


  1. Are we going to go through all this again. It's obvious that the present owner/ owners have no taste,or class. They don't know A from B, or B from a BUllS FOOT.

  2. That portico is simply painful.
    If you are going to add a Greek Revival temple-front onto your well-disposed home, maybe you ought to respect scale and proportion?
    The porch is simply too massive for the house behind it. Even more egregious, the columns are far too narrow for their height (Classicists have rules for these things, and they aren’t hard to [1] find and [2] follow). If your columns are going to be too high for their width, for the love of beauty, don’t use the Doric order. It’s the stumpiest of all. Now Ionic or Corinthian would let you be skinnier, but then you would add more pretense to an already overwrought fa├žade.
    Oh and those bases at the foot of the columns? Not Greek, not Greek at all.
    In short I’m not sure what’s being revived in this Greek Revival, since the Greeks were intensely keen on perfecting the relations of part to whole.
    One last thing: surely there are elegant ways to add a balcony behind a double-height column. But this ain’t that . . . .

    1. With all due respect to your comments and to Gossips, does not this blog require those commenting as "Unknown" to identify themselves?

    2. Those columns were salvaged from a house in Claverak on 23. Proportions, bases, capitals came along. This was not a studied design. Kevin Walker designed it ... a little bit of knowledge architecture.

  3. "Beauty is in the Eye of the Beholder"
    Looks fine to me.
    I find a straight forward center hall to be generally boring and massive.
    The columns break up the monotony, adding grace and delicacy.
    Architecture is an art form. After building structure and safety are factored in, the rest is left to the creator. In any art form, rules are made to be broken.