Castle Terrace


I found this wonderful booklet at the Clinton Library (#977.767 NAT).  This is the application for the Castle Terrace area of Clinton to be put on the National Register of Historic Places.  There is an OMB Approval No. 1024-0018 at the top of almost every page.   This was written in May of 1997 by someone for the Clinton Historic Preservation Commission, 167 W. Alta Vista, Ottumwa IA 52501-1437,  PH: (515) 682-2743.  I would assume they would be able to share the original photos and documentation with you.


DESCRIPTION: Most of the info I included here is about the residents of each home but there is much more info regarding each house itself including the design features, gabled roof and such  along with photos.  The pictures were photocopied and are quite dark.  I did scan a couple tho.  

Castle Terrace is located just off Bluff Blvd. at 14th St. & 8th Avenue South:  703-719 Terrace, 1332-1355 Caroline, 1354 8th Ave. S., and 637 S. 14th St. It includes 15 dwellings, fourteen of which were built between 1927 and 1931 in the Tudor Revival style.

Prior to development, the area was described as being a pasture with a single chestnut tree near the northeast end.  Today the Castle Terrace neighborhood has the feeling of a faux English village with gently curving streets, spacious lawns and mature trees.  

Castle Terrace PlatCastle Terrace Inc. was formed in 1926 for the express purpose of developing these seven acres, and the platting took place immediately.  H. H. Hobart, E. E. Green, and R. J. Alexander were three of the incorporators.  Sale of the eighteen lots began in November 1926.  The purchase agreements included the stipulation that "a dwelling house to cost no less than $6500" should be constructed on the lot, and that it should be "the English type" and "all architectural work furnished by the architects of Castle Terrace Inc."  (The picture is of the original plat map as filed 23 Nov 1926)

....the house at 716 Terrace....was constructed for Dr. Harry Knaack and is typical of the houses found throughout the district with its combination brick and stucco exterior and steeply pitched roof.  The original drawings show that this house is unaltered.

The house at 706 Terrace was designed by Curtis Co. architect Charles O. Lamond as his home.

The house at 719 Terrace was built for John Herrity.  Two additions were made to this house in the late 1930's or early '40's.

The brick residence at 715 Terrace....creates the appearance of a small castle....The original owner George Reynold and his wife Margaret remained in this house for almost a decade, selling it in 1938.

During 1928-29 three houses were built on lot 3 along the bluff.  These were for contractor Daniel Haring (711), his daughter and son-in-law Grace and Robert R. Bell (707), and (705) for his daughter and son-in-law Ida and T. W. Nason.  A single curving drive led off Terrace to these three houses.  Each of these enjoyed a view of the city from the top of the bluff as well as facing the "English village" along Terrace.  Although no early photographs have been located, there is one picture from 1929 of Daniel Haring seated in the living room of his house.  (The picture accompanies the article, but it is a photocopy and you can't hardly see Mr. Haring at all.)

....at 707...Alterations appear to have been primarily to the interior....Even a rock garden on the east side of the house remains from the original landscaping.  

Castle Terrace703 Terrace was built for Sern Madsen in 1927 from plans drawn by Curtis Co. architects E. E. Green and R. J. Alexander.  This is the best documented of the Castle Terrace houses with original drawings, specifications, and a historic photograph.  The photograph shows a distinctive street sign post with lantern shaped light fixture.  One of these posts and light remains in use today holding the address for this house.  Neighbors hope to replace the missing street sign posts.

The one and one-half story brick house with half-timbering at 1332 Caroline is more altered than most of those in the district, but it is not considered non-contributing. This was one of the earliest houses built in the neighborhood, being completed in 1927.  The original owners were Ejnar & Karen Heiberg, recent immigrants from Denmark.  Mrs. Heiberg documented the construction of the house from foundation through completion, including a photo taken two years later showing it with the original landscaping.  

The house next door at 1338 Caroline....remained in the family of the original owner until 1970 and from a historic photograph it appears to be unaltered.

The two story gable roof house at 1350 Caroline is the only non-contributing resource in the district. (I think because it was built in 1951.?)

Across the street at 1355 is the house designed by, and built for, Curtis Co. architect E. E. Green.  

The final house on the north side of Caroline is located at 1354.  The owners appear to have been investors, Ole Jorgensen and Axel Mortensen, who owned several of the lots in Castle Terrace originally.  The first resident of the house was Tage R. Miller who was an architect with Curtis Co. but it is not known if Miller designed this house.

Around the corner to the north at 637 South 14th....appears to have been the last of the original fourteen houses built in Castle Terrace, being completed in 1931. Like all of the others this was to be of the English type and all architectural work furnished by the architects of Castle Terrace Inc.  Although Taje Miller was the original owner, it has not been determined if he was the architect as well. (The name "Taje" is spelled differently in this paragraph.)

Following 14th Street south to 8th Avenue is the last of the Tudor Revival houses in the district.  The original owner of the house at 1354 8th Ave. S. was R. J. Alexander, a Curtis Co. architect and one of the incorporators of Castle Terrace.

This completes the tour of the Castle Terrace District. Although interiors were not addressed during this survey, the owners of many of the houses provided a great deal of information, including original features such as the Curtis Co. woodwork, mantles, and staircases.  Bruce Green and Dick Nason both lived in the neighborhood as small boys.  Each has visited the houses within the past two years, talking with property owners, and reliving their youth.  Both men commented on how much Castle Terrace has remained the same.

SIGNIFICANCE:

Everett Streit chronicled the history of the Curtis Company in a 1989 article for the Clinton Herald.  The Curtis Company was established in 1866 when Charles F. Curtis arrived in Clinton and purchased a small sash and door mill that had five employees.  He was soon joined by his older brother George M. in this new business.  The small company managed to survive stiff competition because of an innovative step in the manufacture of sash.  At that time all sash were sold without glass.  It was up to the buyer to obtain the glass and putty from other sources and the contractor then had to do the glazing.  The Curtis brothers  developed the idea of glazing the sash in the mill.  Business boomed and the company moved to larger quarters.  This was just the first of many improvements made by the Curtis company in the production of doors, windows, woodwork, and cabinets.  As business grew branch plants were established in Wisconsin, Minnesota, Nebraska, and Oklahoma.  The company is an excellent example of the industrial diversification that was taking place in Clinton as the lumber industry was declining.  In addition to making the various wood components necessary for house construction, the Curtis Service Bureau began publishing the Better Built Homes catalogs which featured plans which could be ordered by mail.  New York architects Trowbridge and Ackerman designed a series of small houses for the Curtis catalogs. Each could be built of standard materials in stock sizes, including of course, Curtis Woodwork. In the middle of the Great Depression Curtis introduced the "Silentite" double hung window, which they claimed was the first major improvement in double hung windows in over a century. The company was one of the first to set up extensive research and development departments. When aluminum and stainless steel began to replace wooden building materials, demand for Curtis products dropped. But the end of the company was caused not by competition, but by nature. In 1965 the Mississippi River flood waters swept through the plant, damaging buildings and materials. In 1966, after a century of doing business in Clinton, the company closed.

The area now known as Castle Terrace was first associated with members of the Curtis family in 1892 when lots 14 and 16 of Flourney’s Subdivision were purchased by Wm. W. Leslie, George M. Curtis and Charles F. Curtis. In May 1893 the area was platted as "Castle Terrace Addition." Hallack Seaman acquired the property in 1919, and in 1926 he sold it to Castle Terrace Inc. At that time it was re-platted and became ‘Castle Terrace’ without the word Addition.” Although no direct link can be made between Castle Terrace Inc. and the Curtis Company, the incorporators were all Curtis employees. H. H. Hobart was a Vice President, and E.E. Green and R.J. Alexander were either draftsmen or architects depending on which city directory is consulted. Charles O. Lamond and Tage Miller were two other Curtis draftsmen/architects associated with the development. Green’s son Bruce recalls that the architects viewed this as a business venture. They designed their own homes to be built in Castle Terrace, planned to live in them for a few years and then sell them. It was E.E. Green who insisted that the utilities be placed underground.  

The warranty deed for each of the lots in Castle Terrace carried certain specific qualifications as to what was to be built and when. Each read: 

The purchasers shall, starting not later than March 1, 1927, erect on said lot a dwelling house, for their own occupancy, at a cost of not less than $6500.00. The house shall be the English type, in harmony with homes in balance of Castle Terrace, and all architectural work furnished by the architects of Castle Terrace Incorporated. But one house shall be built on said lot, and same shall front the street adjoining said lot and shall conform to the building line of house on said street. 

 The only variation on this statement involved the starting date of construction which was dependent on when the lot was purchased, but usually required starting within 90 days. The requirement that the houses be ‘the English type’ fits into the Curtis Company’s position that there were basically four different "expressions" or architectural treatments appropriate for houses: Colonial, English Southern, and Western. These were shown in each of the company’s Better Built Homes catalogs during the 1920s. Every plan offered was available in all four of the ‘expressions.’ A 1920 catalog described ‘The Charm of the English Dwelling.’ Examples of houses from a 1921 catalog illustrate this ‘charm’ and also give an idea of the type of interiors that Curtis recommended. 

(There is a copy of a few pages from a catalog here) 

Sale of lots in Castle Terrace started almost immediately after the area was platted in 1926. A promotional portfolio was prepared to illustrate the types of houses that would be available in the development. This included elevations, floor plans, and three—dimensional drawings of the interior. In addition, there were examples of some of the materials available such as tile for the floors. Construction of the first houses started in 1926 and it appears that almost 80% of the houses (11 of 14) were completed during the first two years, with the other three finished by 1931. The houses in Castle Terrace are larger than most of those in the Better Built Homes catalogs, and each was specifically designed for its owner and location. In the specifications as drawn by the Castle Terrace architects, it was noted that CURTIS products were to be used for the finished woodwork, doors, stairways, and cabinet work. In some houses it is possible to actually identify the model number of mantels, stairways, etc. 

The houses along Caroline are basically one and one—half story English Cottages, while those on the bluff side of Terrace are larger, more elaborate examples of the Tudor Revival style. The four houses ‘in the middle’ combine elements of both. Of those four houses, three were designed by the Castle Terrace architects as their own residences, R.J. Alexander at 1354 8th Avenue, E.E. Green at 1355 Caroline, and Charles Lamond at 706 Terrace. The fourth architect, Tage Miller, lived in the "cottage" at both 1354 Caroline and 637 S. 14th at different times. 

The original owners of the Castle Terrace houses were some of the most successful business and professional people in Clinton at the time. Daniel Haring was a well—known contractor, and one of his sons—in—law was in business with him, while the other was a dentist. Dr. Knaack was a surgeon, and both John Herrity and George Reynold were retail businessmen. As the houses were sold over the years this same pattern continued, It is of noteworthy that the present resident of 711 Terrace has lived in the house since 1934 and is only the second owner. The last house constructed in Castle Terrace was built in 1951 for John Ward, the last owner of the Eclipse Lumber Co., and is considered non—contributing. It seems fitting that he should live in this neighborhood as Eclipse Lumber was directly involved in the construction of most, if not all, of the earlier houses.

Castle Terrace contains a notable collection of Tudor Revival residences, but these are not the only examples in Clinton. There a many individual examples scattered throughout the community, as well as clusters of English cottages along N. 2nd and N. 3rd streets. At this point, there has been no direct connection established between any of these houses and the Curtis Company.

The Castle Terrace Historic District has the feeling of a faux English village with its Tudor Revival houses, curving streets, and irregular shaped lots. The visual cohesiveness is strengthened by the landscaping with mature trees, flowers, and open green spaces between the houses. It has the sense of time and place necessary for a historic district. It meets the registration requirements and integrity considerations established in the Multiple Property Documentation Form ‘Architectural & Historical Resources of Clinton, Iowa’ for both the Architecture and the Commercial & Industrial Diversification contexts. The extremely high level of integrity was noted by two of the original residents, Bruce Green and Dick Nason, on recent visits.

(There is a copy of the Castle Terrace Promotional Portfolio)

BIBLIOGRAPHY:

Abstracts of Title for all fifteen (15) residences in Castle Terrace, City of Clinton, Clinton County, IA.
Architect’s Drawings for 703 and 707 Terrace.
Architect’s Specifications for 703 Terrace.
Castle Terrace Promotional Portfolio, no date, c.1926—27.
Clinton City Directories from 1927 to present.
Curtis Company Catalogs: Curtis English Woodwork, c.1920.
Better Built Homes
, Vol. VI, , 1921.
Better Built Homes
, Vol. XVI, 1922 (?).
Architectural Woodwork
, Curtis Co. Design Book #505, 1946.
Streit, Everett A. ‘Once Upon a Time: Curtis Windows Once Tops in Nation.’ Clinton Herald, 6 Dec 1989, no page.

Historic Photographs 
Provided by owners for: 1332, 1354 and 1355 Caroline; and 703, 705, 706, 707, and 711 Terrace. 

Interviews
Bruce Green (son of E.E. Green) interviewed by Eda Lorenz, 15 Jun 1996.
Mrs. Karen Heiberg (original owner of 1332 Caroline) interviewed by Eda Lorenz, 16 Nov 1992.
Dick Nason (son of T.W. Nason and grandson of Daniel Haring) interviewed by Bruce and Alta Ada
Williams, and by Gary and Barabra Vandekamp, 1 Sept 1996.
Mrs. Thelma Weih Wilson interviewed by Eda Lorenz on several occasions.