Houses

A colony was established by Martín De León in 1824, and was the only predominantly Mexican colony in Texas. Victoria was the center of the colony, which was part of an effort by the Mexican government to settle Texas.   Victoria is the town which I adopted as home in 1976.  Obviously, it is an old town.  Driving out from the center of town, there are old residential neighborhoods which are being settled by a new generation of young people.  These neighborhoods are filled with houses that represent many types and periods of architecture.  I recognize only some of the intriguing elements of design.  Many of the old houses incorporate design elements from Georgian, Federal, and Greek Revival periods.

One of Boy’s teachers lives in this lovely old house located near his Episcopal Church School.  The Federal style pediments over the windows and the design elements of the gable interested me.  It is a large two-story house with shake shingle siding.  The original wooden siding appears to have been replaced by vinyl.  The effect is the same, however.  Many old houses in Victoria incorporate the lighter decorative pediments, moldings, trim and mullions of the Federal style into the standard symmetry of the Georgian house.

After I photographed this charming house, I was about to drive away when I saw the lady of the house walking from her car to the door.  She was a pretty woman who appeared to be in her mid-thirties.  I called out to tell her how wonderful I thought her house was.  She smiled broadly and thanked me.  She is representative of the young families who are buying these old houses, renovating them, and enjoying the benefits of living in an established part of town with huge oaks and quiet streets.  Some of their children even ride their bicycles to school.

This old house has been renovated.  It is located just off a major street which renders it less desirable, but still acceptable housing for young people.  The Victorian shake gable is a common feature of old houses in my town.  John Calvin Stevens designed many famous shake-siding houses before or around 1900.  Apparently, the style was popular in Victoria too.  Some of the shingles are rounded or shaped on the ends which has a lovely effect.  These are simple, rectangular shakes.  Originally, this house would have had a wood shake shingle roof too.  Current fire codes prohibit wooden shingles today.

This house has been boarded-up for many years.  Recently, renovation was started on it.  There are four-by-four lengths of lumber temporarily holding up the roof.  I expect to see columns replace these temporary supports soon.  The gable on this house is barely visible in the photograph, but the shakes are of a more interesting and older shape than the shakes in the previous photograph.  This house has both gabled roof sections as well as the odd mansard roof line whose window has nice pediment.

35 Comments on “Houses

  1. I really enjoyed seeing these old houses and learning a little bit about Victoria. Now maybe you’ll take us to the cemetery?! I think you mentioned there were some VERY old headstones there.

    Like

    • I forgot about the old cemeteries. I’ll have to go back there. It’s on my way to pick up Charlie every day.

      Like

  2. Oh I really like these houses. It is my dream to own a white clapboard house with a bright turquoise door someday. A cottage!

    🙂

    Like

    • You could find one in Victoria on a nice, quiet, shaded street in Old Town. Of course, I always think about the lack of insulation in those old houses. It would cost a fortune to air condition one! I like them from the OUTSIDE. Ha Ha

      Like

      • Hmmm. A good point. We live in a solid brick and stone house and I have to admit, while not my favorite exterior, it does help to keep the interior warm and the winter and cooler in the summer. Haha, it even dampens the noise from the 4 legged noise box next door…a real barky von schnouzer!
        🙂

        Like

    • Do you notice that my photographs are never “square”? They are always at some odd angle that makes the subject look funny. I guess that’s the way I see them! 🙂 Hope you had a really good time over the weekend! I haven’t checked on you today.

      Like

  3. love to see renovation/restoration of the old neighborhoods. And NOTHING is better for an old neighborhood than kids on bicycles… Great photos.

    Like

    • When I was young, I never thought that seeing kids on bicycles would tell me something significant about a neighborhood. All kids rode bikes everywhere in those days. It’s sad that we don’t feel comfortable to let our children roam around discovering life in the same way now.

      Like

      • the reason we bought the ‘family’ home 25 years ago? boyz on bykes in the neighborhood when we drove through…oh, and there was a creek full of tadpoles and crawdads.

        we’ve lost something important along the way, didn’t we? too much soccer. not enough play.

        Like

  4. I just saw on television a house being built in England. It was all in wood including the shingles. The wood was sweet chestnut. It was fascinating.

    The houses that you have chosen for your photos are beautiful, George. In France, it is forbidden to photograph someone’s private residence without their permission. You would be liable for a fine. I am surprised that you can do it without permission in the USA. I don’t know what the laws about it are in Australia. I suppose that I would ask if I wanted to take a photo – just to be on the safe side.

    Like

    • Live dangerously, Lady D! In the US, you can’t photograph on private property, but a view from the street is different. I don’t think there is a law against that. If so, the paparazzi would all be in jail. 😉 There are some fine old houses in Victoria, but these are in a neighborhood that I like. It is encouraging to see young people return to these old communities and make their lives there. It gives me hope somehow.

      Like

  5. Fascinating account. I grew up in Grimsby Ontario, Empire Loyalist country ( the guys that were on the other side of the American Revolution & later fought the American invaders of 1812). Always enjoy seeing architecture from that range of time – by comparison, our community is very young (1955 ).

    Like

    • 1955? It is young! How did it spring up there? I have to Google Grimsby. Write a post about it sometime. I am not familiar with the significance of “Empire Loyalist country”. What does that mean?

      Like

    • The Federal was our first national building style so I read. I think anything with those lighter trim elements is from that style. I know nothing about architecture. I may be entirely mistaken. Can you imagine that I would suggest something about which I have done no research at all? Of course not. 😉

      Like

  6. Excellent post. I like the way you have incorporated it. Victoria does have some lovely old homes and is certainly rich in history. I am glad to see many are being kept up.

    Like

    • Yes, there are lots of old houses on the state historical list here, but these houses are in an old neighborhood that is being reinvigorated by a young generation of couples who are serious about making their homes there. It’s great to see that happening to these old houses.

      Like

  7. Love how you share a tid-bit of historical background with your photographs.

    Like

  8. Truly love how you incorporate a tid-bit of background with your photographs!

    Like

    • Thank you, Nia. I love these old houses. I drive through that neighborhood every day when I pick up Boy from school. It’s interesting to watch the way young couples are moving into these houses and renovating them. It makes me feel good.

      Like

  9. A dear friend and I used to walk every morning. It was meant for exercise. But we travelled to many neighbourhoods and building sites to check out the houses, discussing how we’d improve, change, update, adore and desire all we saw. It was wonderful! Our taste was identical and ideas so complementary, we were like one person!

    Like

    • That was fun since both of you were interested in the same thing. I like watching this community bring itself back to life. I drive through it every day when I pick up Boy from school. It’s good to watch something positive going on! 🙂

      Like

    • Okay, I’ll have to post more about the architecture in our town. It is varied and really interesting. Glad you enjoyed it. 🙂 I know nothing about architecture so if I make a mistake in my descriptions, let me know. 😉

      Like

  10. I loved the architecture of the houses in the photos..We have still have a lot of them here in some parts of India from the british era..really beautifully designed

    Like

    • Thanks, Naomi. I love watching these old houses come to life again with a new generation of young families. Watching it has me hooked too. 🙂

      Like

Comments

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: