hingeI just happened to read something about Charles Eastlake who was a prominent British architect in the later half of the 19th Century. He published a book in England and was later published here in the US regarding his new types of design in homes, buildings, furniture and fixtures. Some consider his style a form of Gothic Revival, and others consider it a form of late Queen Anne. What I found interesting was that he encouraged components to be as much hand crafted as possible as well the the quality of the materials used. A number of the more expensive homes built in the 1870s thru 1890s here in Mason City have many of the characteristics of Charles Eastlake’s style. Most antique collectors know what Eastlake style of furniture is just by looking at it, but most of the general public here have little or no idea of the Eastlake style in home design and hardware. There is one home that has undergone so much abuse by get-rich-quick landlords that have owned it over the years that most people would pass it off as a scary apartment conversion that needs to be torn down. Some of the homes on East State Street have the Eastlake style as well. I fully remember some of the grand ones that were in past years demolished for the sake of progress.

What I like about Eastlake design in homes are the tall ceilings, tall windows, woodwork and hardware detail. Many of the brass fixtures on furniture and doors were given up to the war movement during the Second World War to help with the demand for brass to make shell casings. Original brass hardware on dressers were replaced with wooden knobs. Can’t turn the clock back can we? I just hope that some of the Eastlake homes with many of their original components will be restored by people looking for the beauty in diversity with Mason City’s buildings and residences.

I was in a home several days ago that has Eastlake style hinges. I was moved by the beauty so I thought I would share the photo I took. Something else you can be on the lookout for–Eastlake.

Joe Chodur

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