Wednesday, June 06, 2007

The Peach Baron's House

OK, let's see a Queen Anne style house. Here's one in Magnolia, Delaware. Ain't it purdy, despite the glum sunless day it was photographed?

Lovely. Let's list what makes this a quintessential " Free Classic" Queen Anne:
  • Steeply gabled roof
  • Front facing cross gable roof
  • Mixed wood siding to break up walls with patterns
  • Asymmetrical floor plans and elevations
  • First floor wrap-around porch
  • "Pent" roof on featured gable
  • Whimsical towers
  • Big panes of glass mixed with smaller decorative panes
  • Cutaway bays windows
  • Large classically inspired columns instead of spindlework
  • Dentillation under eaves (those blocks are called modillions)
This house was built fairly late for a true Queen Anne- 1905. It's got some classical revival elements here and there, like these swags over the tower windows:

I'm not sure of much in this world, but I'm pretty sure those cats are dead now. I have no idea if the house is still there.

So who builds a Queen Anne manse right at the end of the run of the style? Why, a Peach Baron. A Peach Baron?

Yes, a Peach Baron. Of course in the annals of the Robber Barons of the turn of the 20th century, none stand in such stark relief as Peach Barons like John Lindale of Delaware. At least according to the local Milford Chronicle:
John B. Lindale was the last of the great peach "barons" of this area. ... he owned thousands of acres of land in sixteeen farms in Kent and Sussex County. Local tradition says that Mr Lindale owned a very fine pair of horses and one of the finest carriages in the area.

" ... he drove a pair of bays to Milford a few Saturdays ago that attracted nearly as much attention as a circus parade..."
Goodness, what a rake. But these unholy concentrations of wealth engendered by the shadowy peach trusts make my descendants-of-the-workingman blood boil. Think of all the sinister Pinkerton thugs he undoubtedly had stationed in his orchards to scare anyone from even thinking of challenging his right to stand bestride his Delaware Peach Empire like the peachy colossus he no doubt was; or perhaps keep children from eating his peaches while they played hooky and went swimming in the summer. Or maybe he just had a dog that would bark at you; the record is obscure on this point.
The records of the 8th assessment District of Kent County show a sharp increase in the value of the residence of John B Lindale between 1902 and 1907. In 1902 his residence was assessed at $800 and in 1907 for $4000. Local legend says that John's mother, Mary Barnett, kept tight control of the family money until she died in 1903. The legend also contends that after his mother died John B Lindale started to build his fine house and acquire other expensive items.
Their rapacious names ring down through the ages. Rockefeller. Morgan. Gould. Harriman. Stanford. Lindale the Peach Baron.

After his mom died, anyway. I'm surprised he didn't start a software company.


Anonymous said...

Yes the house is still here in Magnolia,Delaware.It is owned by an elderly woman.I have only spoken to her once,and that was to ask her if I could take more pictures of the house/property?Needless to say I didn't get the chance.
The house needs alot of repairs,but it is still an amazing house!

Norm said...

I know the owner and her son very well. My wife had her as an English teacher in the 1970's. Her health has declined, and her son has been dealing with both her health and the constant upkeep of the old homestead. He wants to restore the property to it's original condition, and have it become more of a museum piece. A grand undertaking to say the least, especially in terms of cost. He has all the original architect drawings and a wealth of documentation of the history of the property. The will is there if not the way.. and if he can find the funding, it will become a reality.

Anonymous said...

The house is still there and is now for sale and is need of many repairs.

Anonymous said...

Yes it is for sale and that elderly woman's housecoat is hanging in the pantry!

The Nippers said...

I love this place and will try to buy it and restore it to its original state.

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