Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Prairie Style House Near Mount Dora

Prairie Style House Near Mount Dora

K. C. DeRhodes House in South Bend, Indiana (above)
Photo by John A. Dales from the mid-1980s
Gordon-Van Tine House Model No. 2617 (above)
From their catalog

605 East Washington Avenue, Eustis, Florida (above and below)

This is a double mystery house. Here is why. One of the leading architectural historians, whose special area of expertise is Frank Lloyd Wright, posted on his website an old photograph of this house. It was posted in a section where he discusses buildings that may or may not be by Mr. Wright. The information given with the photo of the house is scant; it is said to be "near Mount Dora".

Over the years, whenever I have been "near Mount Dora" I have kept my eyes peeled for this house, but up until this past week, it managed to elude me. Even so, I knew what it was and is. It is a kit house. In the early 1900s, there were a number of manufacturers who made kit houses, that you could order and then have shipped to your lot, and built (probably by a local contractor). The most famous of these are the houses one could order from the Sears catalog. There are Sears kit houses all over the U.S.A. You may be living in one of them if your house dates to the 1910s-1930s.

This house is not a Sears kit house. It is by the Gordon Van Tine company. And it is based on the K. C. DeRhodes House in South Bend, Indiana, a beautiful Prairie Style house from the Oak Park Studio of Frank Lloyd Wright. All of my readers know that Wright's Oak Park Studio architectural draftsman and office mannager Isabel Roberts was a dear friend of Mrs. DeRhodes, introduced her to Mr. Wright and more. Isabel listed the DeRhodes House as one of her works when she applied for membership in the AIA chapter in Florida. So you can understand why I would have wondered about the location of the mystery Gordon Van Tine house.

To say it is "near Mount Dora" is like saying that a house in Pasadena is "near Los Angeles". This kit Prairie Style house is happily hidden behind a tall hedge and grandly spreading shade trees. But I did happen upon it, and with only the upper portion peeking out at me from behind those tall hedges, I knew it for what it was, immediately.

As I say, the DeRhodes House was the prototype for the Gordon Van Tine kit house. The Gordon Van Tine Company gave it the model number 2617. It was a Prairie Style house offered by Van Tine, briefly, in their 1917 and 1918 catalogs. For the catalog version of Model # 2617 see the second photo in this post. The first photo is one I made of the DeRhodes House some years ago. The third and fourth photos were taken by me, of the double mystery house, in person.
I am happy to have solved the two mysteries: a) what it is (a kit house based on a Prairie Style gem; and b) where it is (that is, alive and well and well-tended..."somewhere near Mount Dora" ! ! ! ).

That somewhere is (of course) Eustis, about which I've posted many other interesting architectural highlights this week. This is a 2020 square foot, 1.5 bathroom, single family home. It is located at 605 East Washington Avenue, Eustis, Florida.

1 comment:

Lara said...
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