You will notice that many of the early buildings in Leadville were built of hewn logs, and for some reason, many of these persisted in spite of being located proximate to fire and sparks. I have seen several in photos of the smelter, and thought a gate house with this construction would add some zest to an otherwise more contemporary industrial scene.
This is a Wild West kit, and it is designed for a porch. I elected not to build the porch, and left the holes. I studied a number of models before I selected this one, as I wanted something that was very humble. The false front may be a stretch, but it gives me a chance to make a sign to help operators understand where the smelter is.
I admire the ambition of the early builders in the far corners of the West. It's as if a line of false-fronted buildings could make a tiny settlement newly scraped out of the wilderness into a real town. As evidenced by the photo of Hancock, infamous for its enigmatic caboose undercarriage but quite wonderful for its buildings with false fronts:
I particularly like the one in the middle with a log front topped by that huge sail of a plank false front. It's like the builder is thumbing his nose at the uncivilized wilderness. Am I seeing it wrong, or is that false front covering up the top half of the upstairs windows?
The other thing that always strikes me about photos like this is the windows. I wonder, when did these very large panes in the very common, tall 2 over 2 windows become available? It seems a pretty heroic undertaking to have gotten them to these remote places without breaking them! Is there a window historian in the group?
I cannot answer your question directly, but I am a student of Victorian
architecture and a long time study of everything you mentioned. The
comment about thumbing their nose at the wilderness is actually quite
spot on. Period architectural writings made a real point of how far they
had come from sod huts and the rough hewn existence that had come before.
The little frilly niceties like stained glass and "gingerbread" decoration
were a statement of achievement and success "against" that wilderness
they were so deeply lost in, in places like the Colorado Rockies in 1885.
I really like the clutter and the improvised work bench in the photo with the door. It reminds me of a certain cellar/shop that I wade my way through every day. I tell people that this is what the inside of my head looks like.
The closest I can come to that is my brother's '73 GMC stake truck in operable but rough condition. I won't drive it anymore because when I do, something breaks. I borrow him and the truck.
The closest I have come to a Model T (converted to a somewhat tractor) was playing around one when I was a kid, and making the foundry patterns for the wheel centers for the WW&FRy's Model T railcar. That is a really neat vehicle.
As far as the road shown in the photo, the closest I have come to that was driving down the Phantom Canyon road over 40 years ago.
Thanks, SP for your knowledgeable perspective on this. It certainly seemed to me that those giant false fronts were a brave architectural Statement- with a capital S!
Getting this back to South Park or C&S modeling, I really appreciate Keith's little building, because in pictures of layouts I have seen there doesn't seem to be very much of this taming-the-wilderness aesthetic being featured. Of course the early locomotives were a statement of this sort as well, with their majestic stacks, clean lines, shiny fittings and beaded domes. I'd love to see more of the Victorian building decorations as well, though modeling a house such as Chris showed would be a virtuoso project!
That reminds me, if I have a layout someday it will probably not have a town big enough to have an Opera House, but somewhere there will certainly be posted a playbill for visiting performers, like a Shakespearean actor to declaim Hamlet's soliloquy, or a recital by the great tenor Enrico Caruso, who did tour the West- he was in San Francisco in 1906 and lived through the great earthquake and fire.
That would be a great scene to model- a special train with the fanciest parlor car for the great man, crowds waving along the way.
I'd love to see more of the Victorian building decorations as well, though modeling a house such as Chris showed would be a virtuoso project!
There were a fair number of "entry level" structures in Blackhawk/Central City/Georgetown/Idaho Springs that featured way less ornamentation such as these. A little less intimidating than the above "Lace" house eh!
Wow, a beaut indeed, Chris! That whimsically uneven board-and-batten facade covering the logs is just great. And the newer manse looming so close it's hard to see how there was room to swing a hammer. And to top it all off, that poor long-suffering tree. I can see why Jackson couldn't resist this view!