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A Depressing Sight, North Grand Center

Update: This is the Charles F. Duncker House, which was torn down in the Fall of 2013; see the interior here during demolition, and read more about its history here. Around 1925, it functioned as a Jewish community center.

I really do find interesting buildings by scanning over satellite images on Google Maps, and this grand dame caught my attention recently.  Unfortunately, satellite images did not prepare me for the sad state this once beautiful mansion, now abandoned, is in nowadays.  According to a passerby, the building has been vacant for at least seven years after serving as a nursing home.

As you can see in the Sanborn map, which strikingly captures the area before Midtown and nearby areas converted to the city’s second commercial and theater district, and all of the mansions built in the years after the Civil War are still standing (note how Page Avenue was originally laid out as a wide street).  The house in question is the big blue house, and you can see that the building has a brick carriage house separate from the main house sitting on the alley.  This area is north of the official boundaries of Grand Center, in what I consider to be JeffVanderLou.

The carriage house is still there, but it’s been connected to the house via a large brick addition.  I suspect, like many of the houses in the area, this house became a boarding house, and the owners added on more space for additional boarders.  This building was also a hotel at some point in the recent past, I was told.  There are many roach motels in this area, so I’m not surprised.

Just look at that craftsmanship on this house; it’s an interesting, almost Romanesque Revival style, but there are Ionic columns on the front.  I can only imagine how amazing this house and neighborhood was in its heyday.  The front door is missing, probably stolen for resale, but the iron bars remain, allowing the viewer to see right into the darkened house.  The house is ravaged by scavengers.

3 Comments

  1. I am so glad you capture this beauty, I find it odd that you posted it yesterday because I passed by it yesterday. Heading south on North Grand is so depressing, and this gem caught my eye as I lamented the northsides demise.

    • Yes, that is true. Like in the last week. I’m glad I got to it in time, but not glad it’s gone.

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