Manship House Museum
Historic Structure Report and Condition Assessment
Architect, P.A. finished the Historic Structure Report and Condition
Assessment for The Manship House the end of 2009. The goal of the
problem-seeking or building
pathology process as applied to the Manship House investigation is an
assessment of its current condition followed by recommendations for
remediating conditions detrimental to its preservation. Essentially,
this involves a structured methodology tailored to a particular
building in a particular location, in this case the Manship House.
Manship House has been a long-standing representation of change in architecture
especially during the Civil War era in the South. Its style introduced picturesque Gothic
Revival architecture to the South, which was a shift away from the ubiquitous
classical styles of southern architecture.
At the time of its design and construction, the Manship House’s unique
style reflected Charles Manship’s interest in culture and travel and his sympathy
for the common American.
1857, Manship began constructing his house on a plot of land now located at the
northeast corner of the intersection of North
West and Fortification streets. At that time, the
land was considered outside the city and offered a respite from the activity of
The house’s Gothic Revival style, especially apparent on the exterior,
represents at a local level the broader transition in architectural taste away
from the Greek Revival. It was and is
perhaps widely recognized as one of the first examples of the picturesque style
and in the region.
deep veranda extends across the Manship House’s west elevation, interrupted only
by a prominent central gabled porch. In addition to three tall chimneys with
distinctive double diamond stacks, the central porch is the most prominent
feature of the house, and its steeply gabled roof with elaborate bargeboards
affirms its Gothic inspiration. A
gracious set of steps flanked by sidewalls, leads one up to the porch and
through a wide and flat pointed archway to a pair of arched entrance doors
flanked by glazed sidelights. Decorative
iron posts and railings in grapevine patterns embellish the west (front)
veranda and another along the house’s south side. Three massive brick chimneys
punctuate the otherwise simple roofline.
Most of the exterior is covered with hardwood lap siding and trim native
with walls accentuated by a detailed drip molding above each window. Although, it is not certain that Charles
Manship had a copy of Downing’s sketch, the Manship House still remains a prime
example of Downing’s ideas and an attempt to adapt the rural Gothic style to
the demands of a southern climate.
finishes, although quite handsome, are nonetheless appropriately modest. Instead of using expensive marble and more
exotic woods, Charles Manship used his considerable expertise in decorative
painting and woodworking to create faux finishes on less expensive wood,
plaster and wallpaper. He painted common
pine and cypress doors and trim to resemble mahogany. He used a painting technique called graining
to render wallpaper over plaster as fine oak paneling, while other wooden
features such as fireplace surrounds were grained to resemble marble.This technique was a popular method during
the 19th Century for enhancing ordinary materials to appear richer
and more costly. |Charles Manship’s
interest in architectural design and his use of his own house as a showcase for
his decorative painting skills resulted in a unique building that represents
the changing architectural tastes of the time and exemplifies the common
application of the decorative arts in house construction prior to the Second
World War. The Manship House stands as an important artifact that connects us
directly to the life of one of Jackson’s
most important early leaders.
the years, the foundation of the Manship house underwent considerable
settling, creating a drastic difference in finished floor elevation
between and front and rear of the house and resulting in multiple
severe cracks around doors and windows. In addition to the foundation
issues, water had been entering the roof at the gaps between the
fireplace chimneys and the surrounding roof decking boards.