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John Hill House in Erie PA | by dok1
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John Hill House in Erie PA

Grandson Clayton and wife Katelin picked this house from the list of National Register of Historic Places as one for me to photograph.

 

Originally built circa 1836, now used In use as brokerage offices. it's a mix of architectural styles:

Mid 19th Century Revival: Exotic Revival; Other architectural type; Italian Villa.

 

I found some interesting history on livingplaces.com:

"The John Hill House is important architecturally since it represents the best remaining example of the Italian Villa style which was widely adopted in the homes of Erie's wealthy families during the late nineteenth century. It also has some significance historically because of its association with the development of the city's material culture during the same period.

 

"The house was originally built ca. 1836 by William Johns, a former Burgess and prominent physician of the time. In 1840, ownership passed into the hands of Pierre Simon Vincent Hamot, an Erie pioneer who had become a wealthy and successful merchant-banker. Hamot lived in an imposing mansion overlooking the harbor which his heirs later donated for the purpose of establishing a hospital. Hamot presumably bought the Johns property for his daughter, but it is doubtful whether she and her husband, who had interest in Central America, spent much time there.

 

"In 1854, the house was acquired by John Hill. Although a carpenter by trade, there is evidence that Hill soon developed into an accomplished builder and architect. He had been in charge of certain portions of construction in the new Court House. Later he was to design and build a series of Romanesque Revival commercial structures along North Park Row and the west side of State Street. However, it was the "picturesque" additions which Hill made to his own residence which give it the distinct quality deserving of association with his name.

 

"While Hill set the architectural tone for the house, it was left to a later owner — George Selden — to provide the social imprint. Selden was a man of cosmopolitan background who had travelled widely. He had made a considerable fortune in the Erie City Iron Works which produced boilers of international reputation. Selden actually bought the house in 1888 for two nieces and never lived there, but it was the most opulent of the several Selden residences in the immediate neighborhood. As mentioned, the house was extended to the north to accommodate a growing staff of domestics.

 

"The house remained in the Selden family until 1921 continuing to reflect the mood of economic vitality enjoyed by the community in the first two decades of the century. However, since World War II, the tree-lined mansion dotted neighborhood in which it is located has declined. Many of the other fine dwellings have either disappeared, or been converted into college fraternities and apartment buildings. The John Hill House itself had not been kept up by its more recent owners. The present owner has indicated an interest in completely restoring the structure and deeding it to the Erie Philharmonic for use as a musical arts building.

 

"Representing the two opposite but popular styles of the mid-nineteenth century, the John Hill House reflects the prosperity of an emerging industrial and transportation center during the late 1800s.

 

References

 

Spencer, Herbert Reynolds. Erie, A History, (Erie: private printing, 1962).

 

The First Hundred Years, 1840-1940. (Erie: Erie City Iron Works, n.d.)

 

History of Erie County Pennsylvania (Chicago: Warner, Beers & Co., 1884, 2 vols.)

 

Erie Pennsylvania Illustrated, 1888. (Erie: Herald Printing & Publishing Ltd., 1888.

 

Claridge, John R., Erie County Historic Society, John Hill House, nomination document, 1979."

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Taken on June 4, 2011