711, 721, 725 & 743 Allen Street
- Built: ca. 1912
- Architect: Ward Wellington Ward & others
The west side of the 700 block of Allen Street, which backs up on a wooded hillside, contains a mix of house types and among these are four small cottage-size houses with Arts & Crafts elements. One of these, at #725, is the Eugene Kelly House designed by Ward Wellington Ward and built in 1912. The architects of numbers 711, 721, and 743 are at present unknown.
711 Allen Street, 2011
711 Allen Street, 2015
Number 711 was recently remodeled and most of its original exterior details, including windows, were removed over covered with vinyl siding. Here are before and after views. You can see in the earlier photo that the design of the small house was dependent on the use of recurring rectangles: the open spaces of the porch, the windows with their different-sized panes, and the panels above the windows made with faux-half-timbering. Variety was added in the contrast between the textured shingles below and the smooth plaster of the upper panels.
721 Allen Street, 2015
Number 721 employs real half timbering on its sides – building up large side gable walls with exposed planks and plaster fill panels. Two large multi-window dormers rise from within the sharply sloping roof that extends of over a front porch.
725 Allen Street. Photo: 2015
The Ward-designed Eugene F. Murphy house is hard to view today due heavy vegetation that grows on the slope that is its front yard.
The 2-story house has side facing parapets gables and a roof that slopes to the top of the first story wall, with a broad shed dormer across the front that hold second story windows. In this, it is much like the so-call “Craftsman bungalow,” or “Craftsman Cottage” which are plentiful in the neighborhood. Where the roof slopes out as an overhang it is supported by a large Craftsman-style curved bracket. On the first floor front elevation is a band of four rectangular windows with transom lights’ There is a one story porch projecting from the south side with Ward’s typical arrangement of lattice work between square columns. Some simple Moravian tiles are set in a pattern on the south gable end above the porch. Like most of Ward’s houses at this time, the interior has a cozy inglenook with a fireplace decorated with “Mercer” tiles from the Moravian Pottery Works in Doylestown, Pennsylvania. The fireplace has/had tiles representing Zodiac signs and knights, and letters spelling “TIBI SPLENDET FOCUS,” a line adapted from the Latin poet Horace, but used prominently in the popular novel “Mother Carey’s Chickens” by Kate Douglas Wiggin published in 1911, the year before the Murphy houses was built. It means “For you the hearth fire burns/glows!” We wonder if Ward chose this quote, or was it requested by Murphy?
The 1913 City Directory lists Murphy as a bookkeeper for the F. P. Collins Paint Company. As we have previously seen, Collins was twice a patron of Ward Wellington Ward – first in 1912 at 423 Euclid Avenue and then in 1919 at 2201 East Genesee Street – and for a number of reasons it seems reasonable that Ward used Collins’ products in his projects. So it seems that either through Collins, Eugene Murphy also commissioned a house from the young architect.
745 Allen Street
Number 745 is a simple two-story English cottage style house. Like #721 it has a dormer (with half-timber details) rising from within the sloping roof that extends to create a porch. Inside, the house has dark wood paneling a visible ceiling beams. typical of Arts & Crafts design.
These houses were all probably built for young couples and families.
(Updated August 2020)