312 W. Green Street, The Lindley House

Project Overview

Architect: Rudolph Zerses Gill         Year Built: 1895       Architectural Style: Queen Anne

 

Architectural Description

The Lindley house is a fine, intricately detailed Queen Anne-style house. Currently the home of the Lindley House Bed and Breakfast, 312 W. Green Street was designed by Urbana native and University of Illinois Graduate Rudolph Zerses Gill in 1895 for his clients Dr. Austin M. Lindley and his wife Minnie. Dr. Lindley and his wife lived in the house until 1922. The house is a grand scale, measuring two and a half stories, and each time one looks, a different subtle Queen Anne detail is discovered. This style of Queen Anne is sometimes referred to as "gingerbread ornamentation." The main form of the house consists of pairs of steeply-sloped intersecting gable roofs, a common form of Queen Anne architecture. Some other notable features of the house are the asymmetrical façades, the ornately turned spindle porch, varying window types, the differentiating wall surface and wall surface materials, the complex roof line, and the bright colors.

A variety of window styles is a typical characteristic of Queen Anne architecture. Many of the windows are simple double-hung windows with Classical window frames with pilasters on either side which support a small dentil molding below the cornice. The most distinguishing window is the oriel, which protrudes from the second floor and is cantilevered out and supported by brackets. The base of the oriel has delicate floral detailing. Another prominent window is the Palladian window found in the center of the largest gable on the main façade. A Palladian window is a large window divided into three parts; the center portion is arched and the two parts on either side are smaller than the center part and are rectangular. There two bay windows on the house, one on each of the east and west facades. Several other windows are rounded arch windows, segmental arch windows, and small rectangular single-pane windows, all which have varying window “hoods.” Stained glass is present in the panes of the oriel window and several other small windows. Some windows have decorative wood muntins which divide up the window panes.

A common feature of Queen Anne architecture is to avoid a smooth wall surface by adding many textures and protruding elements. The overall façade of the Lindley house is asymmetrical. The house is painted bright colors, including purple and blue accent colors, which adds to the playfulness of the style. The majority of the wall surface is horizontal wood clapboard siding painted seafoam green. Tan wood shingles cover the triangular portions of the gables. Simple half-timber detailing can also be found in the triangular portion of several gables. Cream-colored wood banding accentuates the corners of the house, the varying floor levels, and the window frames. Several areas of the house protrude farther outward than the level below it. Together, these intricate details break up monotonous wall surfaces. The roofline of the Lindley house is relatively complex, another Queen Anne characteristic. The ridges of the gables are articulated with intricate roof decoration, known as roof cresting. There are several intersecting, different-sized gables that add to the complexity of the roof. A cornice clearly delineates the triangular portion of the gables from the rest of the house. Intricate brackets support the cornice line below the gables and below the second level. Finials, or ornaments that terminate points of pediments, spires, or the like, can be found at the apex of gables. The interior of the Lindley House is just as exquisite as the exterior. Interior details include inlaid parquet floors, an oak gingerbread staircase, many original brass lighting fixtures, beveled and stained glass windows, butternut pocket doors, and decorative woodwork.

 

Historical Description

Lindley House was built for Dr. Austin M. Lindley, an Urbana surgeon and physician, and his family. Dr. Lindley was the son of Dr. Mahlon and Salome Lindley. The elder of Dr. Lindley’s offices was at 119 West Main Street, which is in the center of the downtown development, and their family home was at 401 South Race Street. His wife’s, Minnie Hubbard Lindley, relatives were among the first settlers In Urbana. Thomas Hubbard, Mrs. Lindley’s father, was recognized for his role as Urbana businessman, alderman, and the first attempt at banking (“Chuck Flynn’s First Column”). Minnie Hubbard Lindley’s father, Thomas, was honored as an Urbana pioneer and recognized for his role as Urbana business, alderman, and the first attempt at banking (“Chuck Flynn’s First Column” Champaign-Urbana News Gazette June 18, 1978). Minnie Hubbard Lindley left Lindley House to her niece, Ida Hibbard Fisher and her husband Guy in 1922. The Lindley’s lived at 312 West Green Street from 1895 until 1922. Other occupants included the Conservatory of Central Illinois, Crossroads Realty Company, and it is currently occupied by Lindley House Bed and Breakfast.
Located at 312 West Green Street, Lindley House was included in the early neighborhood development. Dr. Austin M. Lindley, a prominent Urbana surgeon and physician, and his wife, Minnie Hubbard Lindley, whose relatives were among the first settlers in Urbana, built the home in 1895 and lived there until 1922. An article in the Urbana Weekly Courier on October 25, 1985 states “The mansion is a subject if envy and speaks well for Dr. Lindsey’s business success”. In addition, Lindley House was described as “a modern residence in every particular and is certainly the greatest architectural feat, RZ Gill has done since his residence in our city”. An article in the Champaign Daily Gazette on September 21, 1895 describes the $6,000 home by “Dr. Lindley has overlooked nothing to make this a home of convenience, and comfort. The house is provided with gas, electric lights, steam heat, bathroom, speaking tubes, and in fact everything else tends to complete a first class up-to-date, modern home”. The first floor of Lindley House was used as Dr. Lindley’s office and the second floor was the family’s residence (Champaign Daily Gazette September 21, 1895).