VOL. 113 | NO. 171 | Tuesday, September 7, 1999
By LAURIE JOHNSON
Central Gardens Home Tour 99
This years tour features
eclectic collection of architectural styles
By LAURIE JOHNSON
Take a peek into seven very different houses and some beautiful gardens on Sunday, Sept. 12, when the Central Gardens Association hosts its 23rd Annual Home and Garden Tour.
With architectural styles ranging from Classic Colonial Revival to "airplane bungalow," this years event promises to have something for everyone interested in historic home architecture, renovation, landscaping and decorating.
"We have a sampler of architectural styles that really should not be missed," said Libby Pritchard, immediate past president of the Central Gardens Association, the sponsor of the tour. "They represent a bouquet of very different hues and varieties. This tour is perhaps the most eclectic in makeup weve had in a while."
The home and garden tour is the associations primary fundraiser, Pritchard said, and the proceeds have helped fund such things as publication of the Central Gardens Handbook - the neighborhoods architectural guide - and a walking tour brochure, which is now for sale at local tourist destinations around the city.
This years event also will support the neighborhoods "Trees 2000" project, which will help Central Gardens residents replace trees that have been lost in the area.
"It all goes toward supporting all of Central Gardens many, many projects," Pritchard said.
Central Gardens, bounded by York Avenue, Cleveland, Eastmoreland and Barksdale, is one of two historic conservation districts in the city. Several historic preservation districts are located within the neighborhood.
Of the almost 2,000 residences in the area, which include several historic apartment buildings, the majority of the structures were built between 1900 and 1925. However, there are some antebellum homes as well as several new homes.
"We have every architectural style you can imagine, from mansions to cottages," Pritchard said.
Prevalent architectural styles in the area include Classic Colonial Revival, Mediterranean Revival, Tudor, Craftsman Bungalow and Queen Anne. Other distinctive styles in the area include minimalist cottages and "airplane" bungalows.
This will be the 23rd year the association, founded in the late 1960s, has hosted the event. Each year, the tour is held in a different part of the neighborhood.
This years tour centers on Central Avenue and Willett Street, with one home on Rosemary Lane and one home on Goodbar Avenue.
Homes on this years tour, which will be open from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m., include:
1440 Central Ave. Reborn in 1997 after decades of uncertainty, this house today serves as the Memphis home of the Church of Scientology. Over the years, this home was altered quite a few times, but its grandeur has remained intact. Features of the home include a full front porch with newly restored fluted columns, and a grand front hall and stairway. The homes upstairs bath features a striking lavatory considered an excellent and rare example of bathroom fixture design from the early part of the 20th century.
1475 Central Ave. Although Holly J. and Patrick McDowell have lived in the home only three years, they have managed to complete some extensive interior and exterior alterations during this time. Projects theyve undertaken have included adding gardens to the front and back yards, renovating the kitchen and creating a breakfast room. The striking architectural features on the front of the house include a massive stone tower with a conical roof and decorative tracery.
1520 Central Ave. The home of Drs. Lloyd and Marilyn Robinson features Craftsman elements on the exterior, including a low-pitched, hipped roof, deep eaves, tile roofing, transom windows and massive porch supports. Original details inside the home include stained glass on the living room pocket doors, intricate millwork on the grand stairwell, the oval ceiling in the dining room and a hidden pantry on the second floor.
Architects George M. Shaw and Charles O. Pfeil, who also designed the William R. Moore Building, the S.C. Toof Building and the Tennessee Trust Building, built the house in 1910 from a design. The house is reputed to the be first Memphis residence to have a steel frame and reinforced concrete structural system, adapted from the skyscrapers that Shaw and Pfeil built Downtown.
624 S. Willett St. This house was built in 1921 as a wedding gift to Mr. Alston Boyd Jr., from his mother, Mrs. Lelia Boyd, who lived at Beverly Hall on Central Avenue. The lot for this house was the first subdivision of the Beverly Hall estate. The homes design includes all the hallmarks of the Colonial Revival style, including an accentuated front door with a semi-circular portico. Since their purchase of the home in 1988, Mrs. Emily Woodside and Dr. William Falvey have added a family room.
1483 Goodbar Ave. The taste and style of local antiques dealer Mary Wallace Crocker, the homes owner, is evident in its details. The home is an excellent example of an "airplane" bungalow, so named because its front porch has the appearance of "wings," and the small second story at the rear resembles an airplanes "tail." The home has an exterior of brick, stone and stucco, with large brackets or "knee braces" in the gables, and windows consisting of nine small panes in the top sash and one large pane on bottom all hallmarks of the Craftsman style.
690 Rosemary Lane. Owners Pam and Dave Darnell have made creative use of this cozy 1,500-square-foot cottage. Renovation projects theyve completed include converting a closet into an office, another closet into a stereo center, adding a cedar closet in the attic and transforming a bedroom into a den.
According to the association, Rosemary Lane may be a surprise to those who think Central Gardens mainly consists of large, grand-scale houses. This quaint, curving street is lined with small one-story homes built in the early 1940s. Architect J. Frazer Smith, who was asked by the director of the Federal Housing Authority for the state of Tennessee to create quality plans for small, affordable homes, designed the homes.
He designed each house on Rosemary Lane with a distinctive facade and large rooms inside that belie their exteriors. Smith also designed Lauderdale Courts and Dixie Homes, the first two public housing projects built in Memphis.
Other homes on the tour include:
678 S. Willett. Built in 1978, the home of Anne and Walter Broadfoot is the only "modern" house on this years tour. It is built of Arkansas fieldstone, Pennsylvania blue stone and painted rough cypress. One of the homes best features is the large screened porch that overlooks the well-landscaped backyard, complete with English cutting garden and rose garden. The basement of the home has been converted into a retreat for the Broadfoots grandchildren; the walls feature murals depicting popular storybook characters painted by Mrs. Broadfoot and a friend.
642 S. Willett. Ithaca, New York, architect Bryant Fleming, who taught landscape architecture at Cornell University, designed this house and its surrounding gardens. Other homes designed by Fleming include the Cheekwood estate in Nashville and the Andrew Carnegie estate in Massachusetts. The grounds surrounding the home feature a summer a house and a pool, a secluded sitting area accented by a fountain, a terrace overlooking the sunken back lawn and romantic 18th and 19th century statuary.
Pritchard said while the event usually draws about 2,000 visitors, the association is expecting a larger turnout this year, mainly because of this years eclectic collection of homes.
The annual home tour usually generates about $17,000 for the organization, although one year the event netted about $27,000.
"In the last four years, its really been overwhelming, because the association has advertised the event more widely. "We do try to contact regional colleges and universities, so they can bring their students to see the architecture."
During the past several years, the publics interest in buying and restoring older homes also has mushroomed, Pritchard said.
"We applaud all these Midtown historic districts that are having these home tours," said Judith Johnson, executive director of Memphis Heritage Inc. "We feel that it really raises peoples awareness of historic preservation."
About 2,000 people turned out to this years inaugural Old Home Expo, which featured a tour of five homes in the Vollintine-Evergreen Historic District, an event sponsored by Memphis Heritage, Memphis Landmarks Commission, the Vollintine-Evergreen Community Association and the Memphis Chapter of the American Institute of Architects.
The Cooper-Young Home and Garden Tour is scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 18, from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m., in conjunction with the annual Cooper-Young neighborhood festival.
Tickets for the Central Gardens Home and Garden Tour can be purchased for $8 on the day of the tour, or $6 if purchased in advance from the following locations: Antique Mall of Midtown; Babcock Gifts, Coffee Connection, Crema Fine Coffees and Foods, the Cupboard Restaurant, the Deliberate Literate, Las Savell Jewelers, Market Central, Miss Cordelias Grocery, 1910 Frame Works, Otherlands, RSVP and Wiles-Smith Drug Store.