186 Linwood Avenue - Table of Contents
186 Linwood Avenue
This house was featured in a 1947 Albright Art Gallery exhibit entitled "Buffalo houses" accompanying a talk by architecture historian Henry Russell Hitchcock. In his talk, Hitchcock maintained that the house was a "catalog house," i.e., one which could be ordered from a catalog-- with wood already cut to size. He wrote, "Reduced to cottage scale [but of] the mansard type, [186 Linwood] was built by local men working from house pattern books."
In its history, the house was owned by at least two
medical doctors. One, Dr. James H. Lewis, who lived here in 1911-1962, was
a physician at Bethlehem Steel. Because of his need to commute to Lackawanna, he
was also one of the first locals to own an automobile. (Dr. Lewis died in 1962)
The symmetrical composition and three-story tower
atop 186 Linwood was clearly derived from earlier, Italian
Villa models. Yet, it was basically a scaled-down version of a French Second
Empire home built in wood frame. . . . Underneath the porthole window on the
south side, was a typical bay
window of the period.
As mentioned, it was possible to purchase plans for
houses through the mails. In addition to the books and trade manuals published by
architects for carpenters and builders, there was a company which was responsible
for the design of a great number of houses later built in this fashion - Sears, Roebuck
The growing railroad network help to speed this process.
It connected large urban manufacturers with distant markets. In addition to these
more sophisticated architectural books, new developments in the printing field flooded
America with colorful paint advertisements. Tempered by post-Civil War technological
innovations which were sweeping the nation, pigment and containers in which to ship
the ready-made product were developed. There was no genuine prepackaged paint industry
until the first cans were sold in America in the 1860's.