The 19th Century Italianate Town House
The Italianate Style Town House
The Polhemus House was a typical example of an Italianate town house, an urban residential building type popular between 1840 and 1870. The Italianate style is a characteristic by elaborate bold projecting exterior ornament with an emphasis on repetitive forms.
The architect of the original portion of the house completed c. 1863 is not documented, but the first-story and basement extension to the rear of the house constructed by Charles and Elizabeth Wagner in 1883 was destroyed and built by Newark’s architect and “master builder” William H. Kirk, who also designed and built the North Reformed Church (dedicated 1850, with spire added in 1868).
Kirk established himself in business as a master builder in the 1830s and formed the Newark based firm of William H. Kirk & Co. In partnership with Thomas Kirkpatrick, Kirkpatrick died in 1860. In 1870, Kirk took his son Harmon H. Kirk and his son-in-law Nelson Jacobus into the firm as partners. For a period, the firm was known as William H. and Harmon H. Kirk & Nelson Jacobus. In 1884, Kirk employed between 100 and 150 men.
The Parlor Level
One of the hallmarks of Victorian-era house design is the organization of interior spaces into “public” and “private” zones. While
This separation into public and private spaces also proved useful during the house’s commercial period in the mid-to-date 20th century, when the parlor level could be easily adapted for upper-level executive offices and reception spaces, while the other floors contained more utilitarian work and office spaces.
Location. 40° 44.549′ N, 74° 10.313′ W. Marker is in Newark, New Jersey, in Essex County. Marker is at the intersection of Central Avenue and Washington Street on Central Avenue. Touch for map. The marker is located in Horizon Plaza on the grounds of the Newark Museum. Marker is in this post office area: Newark NJ 07102, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Newark & Washington Park in the 19th Century
Categories. • Architecture • Industry & Commerce •
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on May 14, 2016, by Don Morfe of Baltimore, Maryland. This page has been viewed 143 times since then and 7 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on May 14, 2016, by Don Morfe of Baltimore, Maryland. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.