Gifted and lovely, Ms. Sharifa Rhodes-Pitts.
One should like to imagine continued wedded bliss as more than enough to compensate for the loss of such a realm of enchantment. Particularly those of us who have little experience of such matters, we would like to believe that love endures in any environment. Fortunately this is not at issue. For if Fenton and Pinckney, with the sale of 'Long Leys', have lost paradise temporarily, acquiring and restoring Harlem's most superb surviving available house, where surrounded by art, flowers, antiques and books they will entertain friends by the fireside with gracious leisure, reviving and heightening the tradition of local artistic salons, their paradise surely will soon be regained.
McKim, Mead & White's dwelling for the Cochrane Family, was built at 257 Commonwealth Avenue in 1886.
John Dwights house at number 1 West 123rd Street, overlooking Mount Morris Park was built in 1890 and designed by Frank H. Smith.
On Hereford Street, number 32, completed in 1884 according to plans by McKim, Mead & White for John Andrew, is a typical Gilded Age amalgam of Renaissance and Federal Classicism. Each corner of the earlier house has a swelled bow, that was later reflected by the rounded tower-like bow of John Dwight's more demure townhouse. By way of distinction, Smith's bow is not at the corner. Ornate iron window grills also find an answer in Harlem. The Boston building's entrance is distinguished by a Palladian window, surmounted by a cast iron balcony salvaged from the Tuileries Palace. Balconies at the Dwight house are more in line with those gracing parlor floor windows at the Andrew residence.
The entry at McKim, Mead & White's dwelling for the Cochrane Family.
McKim, Mead & White's dwelling for the Cochrane Family, built at 257 Commonwealth Avenue in 1886, again combines Renaissance and Federal design and employs rich color contrast too, with very Victorian freedom. Its most significant contribution to Smith's Dwight house however, has to be regarded as the source for the Dwight House's entrance pediment, ultimately derived from Diocletianʼs Palace at Split, but widely adopted for Renaissance buildings as well.
The Cochrane's front door with a colored marble pediment and iron scroll-filled oculous, bears a strong resemblance to the Dwight house entrance.
Consulting such structures as the Scuola di San Marco in Venice, McKim, Mead & White also employed this distinctive feature on serveral of their New York commisions. Most notably, segmental pediments with anthemion finials and coffered soffits occur on the 1888 Judson Memorial Church on Washington Square, and at their midtown Gibson Fahnestock house, from 1889.
McKim, Mead & White's side entrance into the Judson Memorial Church.
Cast bronze Ionic capitals.
A laurel wreath tied with furling ribbon, surrounds the oculus that lights the foyer.
The carving is exceptional!
Boston's John Andrew house at number 32 Hereford Street, from 1884 is by McKim, Mead & White, was one forerunner of the Dwight house. The balcony above the entrance came from the Tuileries Palace.
Scrolled Balconies at the Dwight house are less elaborate than those at the Andrew house in Boston.
Andrew house window grill.
There is nothing whatever that is run-of-the-mill in respect to the window grills and fence at the Dwight House. Both are second to none.
Harlem's very first neo-Renaissance style house, the true glories of the John Dwight residence, merely alluded to on the exterior, are its varied spaces, found within, which were exquisetly articulated and adorned with refinement...To be continued.