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THE HISTORY OF THE JOHN HATHORN HOUSE: Architecture

Hathorn Road, Warwick, New York

A STORY OF AMERICAN DESIGN

The house as it stands today is a blend of styles that illustrate periods of American design.  Starting as a colonial stone home with frame kitchen addition, it evolved in the 1800s to incorporate Victorian and Arts and Crafts period elements.

FIREPLACES

Great Room Double Fireplace- Bay Window Side

Great Room -- Double fireplace front side

Front Room, north side of hall

INTERIOR DETAILS

Dining Room arch bracket

TRANSFORMATION OF A HOUSE THROUGH TIME

The Early Days

The earliest part of the house, built by John and Elizabeth Hathorn in 1773, shows limestone construction typical of the area. The house sides were dressed stone blocks, but the ends are fieldstone.  There are several other Warwick stone houses that show this technique.  The earlier house layout as described by Ferdinand Sanford in 1904 (whose memory would stretch back to around 1860, and whose father George W. Sanford grew up in the house):

  • Gambrel roof (questionable but possible; but the gable ends do not appear to have been reconstructed) covered with hand-made split shingles.
  • South gable shows initials picked out in brick; it is said the brick was imported from Holland.
  • A story and a half in height and about 30 x 38 feet.
  • Kitchen on the east end one story in height.
  • All the nails were wrought iron hand hammered, and all hardware, locks, hinges and casings were handmade.  Hinges were blocked in place with leather under them.
  • The roof had four dormer windows in front and sloped down from the house proper to cover the porch.
  • The flooring was split and hewed planks of oak, some 30" wide which were worn in grooves between paths. The same floors were used 105 years.
  • First floor had one big room in front, two bed-rooms in the rear, and hall on south end.
  • The front door was old fashioned Dutch, divided in the middle.
  • Second floor was four rooms.
  • Four fireplaces; three downstairs and one on second floor.  Chimneys built of stone extending up from the cellar.  One was 6' deep and 16 feet long.
  • Store house built of wood on the south end of the main house, 30 x 40 feet, two stories.
  • Old barn on the north side of the door yard.

Victorian Transition

The house had been expanded to a two-story frame addition replacing the one-story one, with center hall, by 1875 when this drawing was made for Beers' Atlas of Orange County:

Arts and Crafts Renovation

The noted Arts and Crafts designer E. G. W. Dietrich drew up plans for Pierson Ezra Sanford to "update" the house in 1889.  although the plans have not been found, a number of elements appear to arise from them:  Tiling around fireplaces, long front dormer, window seat with stained glass.

 

STONEWORK

Gable end initials:

H

I  E

1773

Note that John, as an educated man, is showing his knowledge of Latin by using the "I" form for his name instead of a "J"

Gable end wall detail

Front wall detail.  Most , if not all, of the existing early stone houses in Warwick use the same construction technique of dressed stone on the long walls and field stone on the gable ends

ARTS AND CRAFTS DESIGN

Real Estate Record and Builders Guide for June 22nd 1889 mentions that noted Arts and Crafts architect E. G. W. Dietrich, a partner of Stickley, had completed designs for renovation for Pierson Sanford.  This is likely the origin of elements such as the full front dormer, 'fish scale' slate shingles, fireplace tiling, and rear windowseat and stained glass windows.

Exterior "fish scale" design shingles

This type of blended color stained glass came into use after 1881.

The long dormer's replacement of the earlier four dormers likely was part of E. G. W. Dietrich's renovations plan

WALL STENCILS

Wall stencils in the "great room" that wrap up onto the ceiling appear to have been used in the upstairs as well.  The style of the stencils suggests mid Victorian, but another possibility is that these are also part of Dietrich's renovation design.