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Stephen Wright House: Paw Paw, Illinois February 2, 2008

Posted by dr. gonzo in Architecture, Houses, National Register of Historic Places.

Before we get to the Reagan landmarks in Dixon we stop in Paw Paw, Illinois, a small village many of you have probably passed on Interstate 39, you know you are there when you see the windmills on the horizon. Before 2005 the 850 person village of Paw Paw had no properties included on the federal National Register of Historic Places. The listing of the Stephen Wright House changed that in May of that year.

When the windmills appear, Paw Paw is near

After mingling amongst the windmills of the Mendota Hills Wind Farm for a bit, I made my way over to the village proper and sought out the Wright House. The house was constructed sometime between 1895 and 1906 by Paw Paw native, and real estate speculator Stephen Wright.

Circa 1895 Stephen Wright House – note the very visible hip roof

The home is an excellent example of Queen Anne style architecture. It very clearly illustrates the hip roof (wiki) with flanking cross gables (wiki) that is found on about 50 percent of Queen Anne style houses. The roof style is a quick way to identify many less obvious examples of Queen Anne. Viewed from the cross gables, the hip roof is less obvious, making for an interesting visual play, depending on where the viewer stands.

From a rear angle the cross gables are obvious, the hip roof is not

Online Resources
*Stephen Wright House: National Register of Historic Places Nomination Form (PDF)
*Wikipedia: Stephen Wright House, Mendota Hills Wind Farm (both by me, for you)

Tomorrow we visit our first Reagan landmark in Dixon.


1. yinn - February 3, 2008

OK, now I know what a hip roof is.

From the back, the house looks like it’s reaching up and out in all directions.

2. dr. gonzo - February 3, 2008

Absolutely. It gives a different feel than the front facade, which kinda gives it an illusion of being smaller than it actually is. Some Queen Annes, like the Syme House in Sycamore, are much easier to identify. The hip roof, as I said, makes picking out less obvious examples pretty easy. The Reagan Boyhood Home is another example that is less obvious but has the hip roof, I think I have a post about that tomorrow, it is similar to the Wright House above.

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