Menlo pl. backs into Highland Park, right across from Mt. Hope Cemetery. It is a little explored side street on an extremely busy road. Since it is a dead end, only pedestrians who are not trying to get to the South Wedge or downtown have any reason to wander down it. Those who do will find a terrific collection of houses that represent many of the most influential architectural styles of the early 20th century, including Modernism, American Foursquare, and the Victorian style.
The fact that it is adjacent to Mt. Hope Cemetery only adds to the street’s intrigue. It also shadows the urban woodlands of Highland Park, which gives this out of the way pocket- neighborhood a serene luster. It is a pleasant diversion.
Photography by George Cassidy Payne
First Church of Christ Scientist
Attributes of Victorian Houses
- Steeply pitched roof of irregular shape, usually with dominant front-facing gable
- Textured shingles (and/or other devices) to avoid smooth-walled appearance
- Partial or full-width asymmetrical porch, usually one story high and extended along one or both side walls
- Asymmetrical facade
The Colonial house style consists of many styles built during the Colonial period (early 18th Century) in America’s history when England, Spain, and France had colonies scattered across what is now the United States.
English colonies closely mirrored housing fashions of England although they were 50 years behind. Early on (pre 1700) the First Period English style houses were based on the building practices of late medieval Britain. After 1700 the English colonies evolved their building style into the Georgian style.
When the American Revolution arrived the architectural fashion evolved into the Federal style and persisted until around 1820. The next housing fashion to develop was based on the ancient Roman architecture that inspired the Renaissance and was labeled the Early Classical Revival Style. This style was popularized in the southern U.S. by popular southern architects such as Thomas Jefferson. Also, during this time the French colonies in Louisiana developed the French Colonial style and further west the Spanish Colonial style evolved. Both Spanish and French Colonial styles are very rare in today’s popular Colonial styles.
It is the form of a Foursquare, more than its trim and materials, that makes it distinctive. In its purest rendition, it is a simple box, roughly as wide and deep as it is tall. Each of its two stories is quartered into four roughly equal spaces. Often a kitchen will occupy one of the quarters, but they were just as likely to be found in additions off of the main structure. Another distinctive feature is a dormer on one of more of the roof slopes, often with a miniature roof just like the larger version it sits on.
Mt. Hope Cemetery
Most Modern (1900-1950) house styles of American architecture include familiar and very popular architects. This list includes Frank Lloyd Wright, Le Corbusier (Charles-Edouard Jeanneret), Charles and Henry Greene, Mies van der Rohe, and Walter Gropius just to name a few. What they had in common was an attempt to design inexpensive housing that was not only eye-pleasing and functional but could be built quickly to keep up with the fast paced affects of the industrial revolution.
Streetlamp in Highland Park