Sunday, July 09, 2006

ENDANGERED LANDMARK: The Harmer House (c. 1888)

It's easy to ignore most of the homes along Arlington Avenue, east of 19th Street. Many are abandoned, a few are partially burned, and several sit on, or between, overgrown lots. It may be easy to do, but don't overlook these gems in the rough.
One of the most notable of these homes is the Harmer House at 2005 Arlington. This modest blue and white cottage rests in a tangle of overgrown weeds and once-loved garden plants run wild. The structure is nearly obscured by vegetation in the yard and empty corner lot.
Remarkably, this neglected beauty is one of the oldest remaining homes in Bessemer. The house and its neighbor at 2009 Arlington Avenue were two of the original cottages built in South Bessemer. While many original details of the house at 2009 are covered with vinyl siding, the Harmer's can still be seen.
The house is a cross-gabled ell cottage. The frame structure is built on a filled brick-pier foundation. The fill is an unusual mix of brick chips in heavy mortar. The front gable contains fishscale shingles near its top, with half-timbering and stucco below. It surmounts a cutaway bay with sunburst brackets and pendant knobs.
Windows are 1-over-1 sash and there is a single light over the front door. The porch is in the ell and has a hipped roof supported by wrought iron on brick piers.


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