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Wednesday, September 15,2010

Eyesore of the week

413 S. Pennsylvania Ave., Lansing

by Amanda Harrell-Seyburn

Property: 413 S. Pennsylvania Ave., Lansing Owner: Ingham County Land Bank Fast Track Authority Assessed: $27,000 Owner says: It's coming down


The Ingham County Land Bank purchased this home in May for $9,000 after the original owners contacted the Land Bank with concerns about maintaining the home. About six weeks ago, a fire ravaged the northeast side of the house, which police are still investigating, Land Bank Chairman Eric Schertzing said.


In the meantime, the house sits next to another red-tagged home, adjacent to two gas stations.


Melted siding, broken glass and garbage litter the narrow space between the alley and the north side of the house. The spacious front porch is a receptacle for more broken glass, garbage, curtains, wood and a window screen.


Tired of looking at this eyesore on your daily commute? No worries, Schertzing said: It’s coming down soon.


— Andy Balaskovitz


Architecture critic
Amanda Harrell-Seyburn says: Look closely. Obscured by the heavily
boarded-up face of 413 S. Pennsylvania Ave., the pointed arch of a
Gothic-style window peaks out from beneath a plywood board located just
below the gable. Typically found on Neo-Gothic style buildings of the
same period, the pointed arch window is most certainly a later addition
to the house. It replaced a double-hung window or vent typically found
on this traditional, early-20th century wood frame house.


The pointed arch and apex is not commonly associated with residential architecture. Gothic architecture is predominately used for civic buildings, most notably cathedrals of the Gothic period (12th-16th century) including Sainte Chapelle, Chartres Cathedral, Salisbury Cathedral and Wells Cathedral, to name a few.

Aesthetic and structural, the pointed arch allowed buildings to rise to new heights that were not previously possible. The pointed arch supported the roof allowing walls to be thinner than ever before to create lofty buildings, permitting another hallmark of Gothic architecture: the extensive use of stained glass.

The pointed arch saw a revival during the Neo-Gothic period (also known as the Gothic Revival) of the mid-19th to mid-20th century in the United States. In keeping with the Medieval Gothic period, Neo-Gothic architecture was predominately a civic architecture most commonly used for churches and universities buildings. Neo-Gothic residential architecture was briefly popular in the mid-19th century between 1840 and 1860.

Notable use of the Gothic arch nearby includes St. Mary Cathedral Parish in Lansing and The People’s Church in East Lansing.



“Eyesore of the Week" is our look at some of the seedier properties in Lansing. It rotates each week with Eye Candy of the Week. If you have a suggestion, please e-mail eye@lansingcitypulse.com or call 371-5600 ex. 17.

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