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LATHROP HOUSE Architecture

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The 1880's saw the beginning of a romantic architectural revival in the East. There was a renewed interest in the Gothic Cathedrals of 13th and 14th century Europe.

This interest rapidly spread to private housing - some more daring individuals built their own private castles. Turrets, battlements and motifs of Gothic Cathedrals were applied to secular architecture. This "Gothic Revival" became an elemental part of the Victorian period.

The Benjamin Lathrop house is architecturally important because it is a magnificent provincial example of this style. Its many tall gables and graceful arches, pierced by quatrefoil designs, are exactly Gothic Revival, unpolluted by Late Victorian lacework. Here is a rare example of the beginnings of "Steamboat Gothic" that reached such heights of fantasy on the Mississippi River boats.

Typically, the front entrance is in the middle of the long side and the embryo porch foreshadows the expensive, swing back "piazzas" of the later 1800's.

There is little question that this house, architecturally, is a prime example of its type and is definitely unique in the County of San Mateo. For this reason alone, its preservation is a significant accomplishment.

Leslie O. Merrill, Former Director
San Mateo County Historical Museum

*** Steamboat Gothic ***

Copyright 2005
Last modified: July 5, 2005