George Edwin Wilson house

The Clinton Herald Thursday March 29, 1923 page 7 


While excavating work is going on workmen are pouring cement for the foundation footings to be under the new George E. Wilson Jr. Home in Fifth avenue just east of Ninth street.  The resident contractor, William Crain, determined to have the job finished in scheduled time and already hampered by unfavorable weather conditions, is wasting no time in preparation for actual structural work.  It is his aim to have the building finished and ready for interior decorators by the middle of July.

When completed this handsome residence, English Colonial style architecture will be one of the most beautiful and most livable homes in Clinton.  The residence is to stand a grade higher than at first planned and the foundation is to go down to the rock, four feet deeper than was at first thought necessary, but the advantages of a solid rock foundation are not to be denied hence the change.

The architectural firm is that of Howard Van Doren Shaw of Chicago.  Mr. Shaw a father in law of McCutcheon the cartoonist, and a man who has at the present time eight million dollars’ worth of homes under construction, his specialty being houses of quality.

The residence is to be two stories in height, with basement and atic, a south front of 80 feet and 42 feet in depth.  It is placed near the center of a 150-foot resident lot, comprising three ordinary city lots just east of the F.H. Van Allen home, corner Ninth street and Fifth avenue.  The construction is to be of Colonial Faced Brick from the Bonner-Marshall Company, in two shades of red, 40 per cent dark, 60 percent light red with trim of Bedford stone.  It is to be of fireproof construction throughout, slate roof, oak floors, the main entrance of blue flag stone.

The courtesy of the plans was accorded a Herald representative and showed that the home is designed fro comfort and convenience.  The basement is unusually complete with its manifold uses.  The first floor is attractive and when furnished harmoniously will be beautiful and livable.  At the north of the central entrance is theopen colonial stairway with hand carved newel post and circular base leading to the second floor.  At the right is a living room with large fireplace and at the right of that a living porch with terazzo floor.  North of the living room is the boys’ playroom to reach which is a descent of several steps.  The dining room is at the left of the entrance and to the west of the dining room a porch with terazzo floor.  This may be utilized for the service of light meals as is the English custom, having access to the service pantry and kitchen with a service hall at the north end of the dining room.  Immediately off the kitchen is a porch and between this porch and the boys’ playroom is the garage which also gives entrance to the main portion of the house with steps up.

Ideal in arrangement is the second floor with a sleeping porch off the large bedroom at the east side of the house.  From the dressing room is entrance to the bathroom then to a second bath that is adjacent to the boys’ room, for the Wilsons now have two sons.  Off the lads room is a commodious sleeping porch.  The maids’ room is to the north of this bedroom, this apartment also having a private bath.

Centrally north of the broad upper hall is a guest room.  One of the features of the interior finish is said to be the provision that the plaster walls are to be covered with sheeting glued in place, the latest and considered the most advantageous wall finish for all requirements.

Mr. Crain, the contractor, is also supervising the construction of this home.  He said, “It is my intention to camp on this job until it is finished.  I want it to be absolutely right in every detail.”   He is a new man in the Clinton building field but his introduction here has been auspicious.  He was the builder of the Country club southwest of the city, coming to Clinton last year for this special contract.  His success in that pretentious building which is considered a type of good architecture and correct construction has been such that it gave him a fine introduction to Clinton home builder.  He has one d—ating quality, that of taking a big job and then sticking to that one demonstration until its owners or builders receive the finished product.  Mr. Crain purposes making his home in Clinton. 

In so far as can be determined this home is one of only two examples of the work of Howard Van Doren Shaw in the state of Iowa.  The home is in a remarkable state of preservation with no exterior changes.  The origninal slate roof and iron frame windows are unchanged.  An addition was planned not long after the house was built, but never executed. 

The home is the only structure on the site and is potentially the nucleus of a historic district of a number of homes that were constructed by several of the leading citizens of the city of that era.  The only interior changes have been to modernize the kitchen and some of the bathrooms.  The house has otherwise been very well maintained in its original state.

More information about Howard Van Doren Shaw can be found in “The Architecture of Howard Van Doren Shaw” by Virginia A. Greene ISBN 1-55652-286-X

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Latitude: 41.84125 Longitude: -90.206675 Elevation: 591 ft
the best travel advice comes from the people who live here
Mike Kearney

Time Period Represented

1923 to present

Visitor Fees (if any)

Private Residence

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