Saturday, April 13, 2013

724 West Granite (Powers Residence)

Built: 1898
Architect: R.R. Williams

For almost one hundred years, members of a single family lived in this Queen Anne style cottage. Carpenter R. R. Williams, who lived in the duplex next door, built the residence in 1898. By 1900, Irish immigrants John and Catherine Powers had purchased the home, where they lived with their infant daughter Margaret. John worked as a miner before going into real estate. By 1916, the Powers family had improved the residence, replacing the outhouse with indoor plumbing, adding a rear screen porch, and installing a gambrel dormer to expand the attic’s storage capacity.

After John and Catherine’s deaths, Margaret inherited the home. She lived here into the 1990s, joined for many years by her friend Virginia Orton. The seven-hundred-square-foot home features a projecting bay and many other Queen Anne style embellishments. These include stained glass, fish-scale shingles, turned wooden porch supports, a turned balustrade, and a spindle frieze—all mass produced and thus affordable to Butte’s working class. Such architectural ornamentation helped transform small houses like this one into much loved homes, as the Powers’ long residence testifies. Architect and carpenter R.R. Williams lived in the duplex next door to this house.

Modified from historic plaque text by Montana Historical Society. Additional resource: Vernacular Architecture Forum, Butte conference guidebook, 2009, p. 146. Photo by Richard Gibson.

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