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Thursday, March 31,2011

Eyesore of the week

120 W. Church St., Williamston

by Amanda Harrell-Seyburn


Property: 120 W. Church St., Williamston

Owner: Stanley and Margaretta Freburg

Assessed value: $61,300

Owner says: Could not be reached for comment

Architecture critic Amanda Harrell-Seyburn says: This address boasts one of the most amazing bay windows in the Lansing area. All too often, bay windows are lost to neglect and deterioration, removed to avoid maintenance despite their functional practicality. However, bay windows are not just decorative. Popularized in the late 19th century, bay windows — projected multi-panel windows with a minimum of three panels at different angles — were favored by Victorian-style architecture for both the increased natural light and illusion of space they provide. Extending from the first to the second story, this 90-degree bay window on Church Street is particularly exquisite. It’s a great example of how windows can add immense style and visual delight to a building.


What happens when you combine a bay window with a dormer? Something spectacular. Found in the Maritime Province of Nova Scotia, this vernacular-style window can be found 40 miles west of Halifax in Lunenberg, a picturesque fishing village founded as a British colony in the 1700s.Lunenberg_Window.jpg

Take a walk down Montague, Pelham or Lincoln streets in the heart of Old Town Lunenberg. The brightly colored buildings march down the streets featuring an array of eclectic architectural styles, ranging from cape cods to second empire with vibrant colors from reds, yellows, blues and turquoise. Amidst the architectural styles and colors, it is hard to miss the most architecturally distinctive feature of the village appearing on nearly every house: the “Lunenberg Window,” otherwise known as the “Lunenberg Bump.”

At its most basic, the Lunenberg Bump is a five-sided, projecting dormer that projects from the center of the facade over the entrance. Sometimes two smaller dormers flank either side. Complex variations of the window include single- to triple-tiered styles, a Lunenberg Bump and bay window combination that features a bay window (polygonal or square) extending from the first through the second floor. Then it’s topped with a protruding dormer. The result is nothing short of spectacular — but then again, you wouldn’t expect anything less from a Unesco World Heritage site.


This two-story, half boarded-up home is visible from Putnam Road, the main street running north and south through downtown Williamston. And drivers traveling north just past the Red Cedar River will be hard-pressed not to miss this eyesore.


The light blue and partially brick exterior is accompanied by boarded up windows and a deteriorated roof in back, evidence of a fire. The driveway is littered with multiple Speedway coffee cups, children’s toys and two damp and torn mattresses. More than one broken window decorates the base of the house.


— Andy Balaskovitz


Rendering: Lunenberg House, Lunenberg, Nova Scotia. Pen & Ink Drawing by Amanda Harrell-Seyburn


“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 Andy Balaskovitz at 999-5064.

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