Friday, December 23, 2011


'Longwood', the Richard E. Forrest residence designed by Ewing & Chappell c. 1905 in Lawrence. Forrest was a member of the cotton brokerage firm of W.R.K. Taylor & Co. and was president of West India Co., Haiti, producer of castor beans. According to Spinzia the house is no longer extant. Photo from Architecture, 1907.


The Down East Dilettante said...

Sometimes, when I ponder my poor career choices, I think about what I might have done instead. I confess that caster beans never occurred to me.

Nice, pleasant house.

Doug Floor Plan said...

A very decent house & floor plan; although those steep steps up to the front door throw me off a little (probably because I'm clumsy & not getting any younger).

DED, caster beans probably wouldn't have occurred to me either -- in 1905 I probably would have been banking on stability of the whalebone corset industry.

Patricia said...

I zeroed in on the caster beans, too, and when I googled them, I saw that it's castor, not caster. They are highly poisonous, and here's a cut and paste of their uses:

The castor bean plant yields high-quality oil suitable for plastics manufacture, cosmetics, polyurethanes, synthetic detergent, inks, lacquers, paint strippers and varnishes.

Since the plant grows as a weed, it must be a profitable business.

The Ancient said...

More than you might want to know about Forrest and Haiti:

Doug Floor Plan said...

Another comment about the exterior: it's interesting (to me) that a fireplace was placed in the kitchen, creating a chimney on the front exterior that pulls the eye towards the service wing. Usually service wings were minimalized & the eye encouraged to focus on the main body of the house.

I'm also unclear why the floor plan shows a fireplace in the room to the right of the front door but there is no chimney for it in the photograph.

The Down East Dilettante said...

Patricia--fascinating. In other words, just like in 'The Graduate'----"One word: plastics"

Doug, A) I can almost guarantee that what appears as a fireplace on the plan is in fact merely the recess for a coal range. B) I'm betting the other chimneys disappeared in photo retouching before publication---lost in exposure or something, for the other chimney should be showing also. And btw, I'd no doubt have been investing in your corset company.

Anonymous said...


1. The two houses designed by Charles Ewing with which I am familiar had staircases with gentle slopes. My father (his son) told me it was a concern of his. If those in the photo appear steep it may be created by the perspective.

2. One of the Ewing houses had the chimneys painted white, perhaps both for appearance and to better seal the masonry from water intrusion. The paint didn't last and it was a nuisance to erect scaffolding to repaint them, hence the brick tended to show. It would be interesting to know what the intent was in this case.

a C. Ewing grandson