I set out one day last week to take some photos of a few of Chariton's modestly grand older homes for a good cause (we'll need residential photos for the looming Main Street Iowa application), then got to feeling a little guilty. How would I feel, if some guy with a camera pulled over and started taking prictures of my house? But no one came out to ask what then heck was going on --- nor did anyone call the cops. So it went fairly well.
These are houses I admire, and I also admire the folks who have taken them on and dedicated themselves to maintaining and repairing them.
The block of Auburn Avenue east of North 7th Street (Highway 14), at the top here, always has been one of my favorites and these are two of the nicest houses along it --- or so I think. In the foreground is the old Dr. Theodore E. Stanton home, a spacious but plain Italianate dating from the 1880s with later classical revival porches.
I believe this was the first house built in this block, before it was subdivided into traditional building lots, which helps to explain why it sits back a little farther than other houses on the street. When I was a kid, the family dentist, Edwin Stanton, lived here with his mother, Helen.
The house I call Larimer-Copeland, about 20 years younger, is next door and has tremendous presence. It's a transitional design, edging from Queen Anne into something plainer, and quite a few similar to it were built around town at about the same time. This is the best of the lot, however, and the most complete survival.
In addition to its wonderful porches, this house also has one of the best staircases in town and one of these days I'm going to accept an offer to let me take photographs of the entrance hall, a great space.
The family of Chariton houses to which Larimer-Copeland belongs was recognizable because of their circular "gazebo" porch ends, some of which have been removed elswhere as porches were torn off and graceful old houses made to look clumsy.
This house, to the west in the same block of Auburn, is somewhat smaller and has less presence, but has the same style of porch, still intact.
Down in the south part of town, along Woodlawn Ave., I've always admired this house built by William Eikenberry Sr. and his wife, Marcia, about 1910 in a classical revival style tending toward plainer foursquare.
One Chariton's most distinctive homes, the tudoresque Combs house, is just across Woodlawn to the north. It dates from the late 1920s and was occupied by family members well into my lifetime.
There are many more distinctive old houses scattered around in Chariton's residential neighborhoods, some beautifully maintained and others not --- these just happen to be a few favorites of mine.