in the ver­nac­u­lar

Arts and Crafts Homes - - HISTORIC HOUSE -

Wi­nona Lake has a lot of con­crete-block struc­tures, ex­tend­ing even to man­sions. The Beyer Man­sion, built in 1907 and var­i­ously de­scribed as Queen Anne, Ro­manesque, and Ital­ian Re­nais­sance, was the “du­plex” home of town founders J.E. and J.F. Beyer. Each brother had one half of the sprawl­ing, sym­met­ri­cal house with twin cor­ner tow­ers. The ex­te­rior has ten or more dif­fer­ent types of dec­o­ra­tive block man­u­fac­tured by the Wi­nona Build­ing Ma­te­ri­als Man­u­fac­tur­ing Com­pany. (Lo­cated across Kings High­way and north­west of to­day’s his­toric district, the firm clearly in­flu­enced the local taste in ma­te­ri­als.) a Other late Vic­to­rian and early 20th­cen­tury houses in town, from Queen Annes to Amer­i­can Foursquares, have block foun­da­tions or lower storeys. Or­na­men­tal con­crete block was a pop­u­lar ma­te­rial in the first quar­ter of the 20th cen­tury, par­tic­u­larly in the up­per Mid­west. Chicagob­ased Sears, Roe­buck of­fered kit houses made with block as well as do-it-your­self kits for mak­ing blocks. a “There is a sur­pris­ing lack of local cu­rios­ity or knowl­edge about this ma­te­rial,” re­ports Kel­ley Barn­hart, a local who is also the busi­ness man­ager at Clas­sic Rock Face Block in Fort Wayne. The In­di­ana com­pany sup­plies blocks of dif­fer­ent col­ors and char­ac­ter­is­tics for restora­tion and new con­struc­tion.

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