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Rondolph Hatfield Residence; Wichita, KS

(PID:4646255458) Source
posted by Ken Elliott alias kendahlarama on Thursday 27th of May 2010 11:34:53 PM

Photo c. 1888 of the Rondolf Hatfield residence at 430 South Seneca in Wichita, KS. This property sat on a large lot (200 linear feet of frontage on Seneca). It was a lovely two and a half story brick home costing the lofty sum of $15,000 to build in 1887. Several design features of this home strongly indicate it was designed & built by William Henry Sternberg (1832 - 1906). Of all the designers and builders in Wichita in 1887, Sternberg is the most likey one to have designed and built this. Not only was Sternberg the largest and most reputable contractor in the area, but when it came to the large and expensive homes, he was the first choice even more so. Many of the area's notable figures - doctors, businessmen and lawyers turned to Sternberg to build their own personal residence to obtain the height of fashion and unique styling. Persons known to have turned to Sternberg to design & build a personal residence include: C.N. Lewis, Albert. W. Oliver, Aaron Katz, Mark J. Oliver (atty), Hiram Imboden, M.W. Levy (bank president), Peter Getto, Reuben H. Roys (atty), Finlay Ross (Mayor), William H. Whitman, Jacob Henry, Robert E. Gutherie, J.R. Van Zandt (prominent busienssman), George Pratt (lumber baron), Charles W. Bitting, Alfred W. Bitting (prominent businessman), Judge James L. Dyer, Charles M Jones, Dr. C.E.M. Adams, Capt. Charles Smyth, Dr. J. Russell, Kos Harris (atty), William Greiffenstein (Mayor), Russell Harding (a railroad superintendent), Ben Aldrich (Mayor & prominent businessman) and many others... When this home was built in 1887, Mr. Hatfield being a leading attorney of the day, would have undoubtedly known that other prominent lawyers had already used Sternberg to construct their fine homes. It would have been quite unusual to select a designer and building who was outside of the "in-crowd". In addition to the social reasons for suggesting that this residence was designed & built by Sternberg, many of the design elements themselves suggest - even more so - that Sternberg designed and built this residence, such as: (1) multiple functional porches on multiple levels, indeed three porches on the main level and at least three on the second level, (2) ornate, highly corbelled chimney flues, (3) wood porch balausters that are highly similar (indeed if not virtually identical) to another confirmed Sternberg-designed-built property - the Harding Residence in Waco Avenue, (4) flaring fish scales separating the first and second floors highly similar to another confirmed Sternberg-designed-built property - the Jacob Aley Residence on Fairview, (5) a square porch directly over a triangular shaped main porch entryway (also seen on Sternberg Mansion and the Aley Mansion), (6) an asymmetrical roof line broken with varying pitches and shapes - at least 5 different pitches are observable here, (7) two-story bay windows, (8) designs within the slate tile roof in patterns and colors known to be used by Sternberg, (9) ornate exterior gingerbread trim, (10) detailed brickwork just below the roofline on the 2nd floor (also seen on the Levy Mansion and the home on University Avenue - both confirmed Sternberg structures), (11) exposed exterior stair cases - uncovered by a porch (also seen on Sternberg Mansion, the Pratt-Campbell Mansion and the Aley Mansion and several others - all confirmed Sternberg structures) and other design features. Note the railings on the porch in this photo and how they're constructed (a board above and two down, a board below and two up, a board above and two down, a board below and two up...). Then compare this w/ railings on the Harding Home (photos in photostream). The Harding House is a CONFIRMED Sternberg design-build and the railings are IDENTICAL. This is strong evidence that the Hatfield residence was designed and built by Sternberg. While another architect and builder COULD have copied the railing, it's unlikely as home designers wanted to have their own exclusive designs they could call their own and so as to attract customers from their own exclusive ideas. Copying designs of other architects / designers (like today) is not a smart idea. Frequently over and over very similar (if not the exact same) ideas can be seen in Sternberg-designed / Sternberg-built homes. The fact that the railings are identical vs. just being similar is a strong indication that this property was designed and built by W. H. Sternberg. On very high-end homes, Sternberg was known to incorporate a "zig-zag" line or lines (or something similar to that) at the apex of the roof. While Sternberg ALSO included other designs within the roof (such as diamonds as in Sternberg Mansion and the M.J. Oliver home) or horizontal bands of decoration through the roof (as in on the Levy Mansion and the M.J. Oliver home) a zig-zag line of sorts was frequently done on very high-end homes as an additional decorative aspect and the Hatfield residence certainly fit this category of home. The turret of this residence has what appears to be "V"-shaped or "U"-shaped decoration (perhaps "V"s interspaced with "U"s). While not exactly a "zig-zag" per se, it certainly resembles a zig-zag and the turret would have been the most likely place for this. Its placement of this design on the turret is similar to the placement of the "V"-shapes on the tower of the Greiffenstein Mansion which is strongly suspected to be a Sternberg design-build. Sternberg Mansion had INVERTED "V"-shapes at the apex (connected chevron designs). Any thoughts, ideas, comments, and/or additional information about this photo or this place are welcome and appreciated.

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  • Published 02.04.23
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