The Ralph Hascall House was built c. 1800 in Georgian style (“Essex: An Architectural Guide.”) for Ralph Hascall, a lawyer, State Senator (1811-1819), District Attorney of the County (1818-1821) and Essex town officer (1820-21). Hascall was also involved in the creation of the Essex Presbyterian Church (History of Essex, New York).
The Ralph Hascall House has undergone many renovations over the years, but the original building — including the roof and front facade — are once again visible after a much publicized (and controversial, at the time) restoration.
The decision to reveal the original Georgian style of the 1810 Ralph Hascall House in Essex, N.Y., was not a radical one, but the decision-making process was. The town’s 880 residents, as well as preservationists and restoration architects, were invited to help determine the future appearance of the building. (New York Times, reprinted in newspapers across the U.S. including the Lakeland Ledger)
Ralph Hascall House Architectural Adjustments
The Hascall house was originally built with a hipped roof (having four sloped sides), but after remodeling it now has a common gable roof (with two sloped sides). However, the hipped roof still somewhat remains inside the attic of the present roof (“Essex: An Architectural Guide.” 13).
Later in its evolution, owners of the Hascall house added a porch to the first level of the house that extended across the full width of the house. Photographs of the ornamentation decorating the porch indicate that it may have been added by 1870 (Images of America: Essex on Lake Champlain. 106).
By c. 1900, another addition was placed on the front of the home. This time a sleeping porch was added on the second floor directly above the lower porch. These type of porches were also sometimes called cure porches because they were used for the treatment of tuberculosis to give patients some fresh air without exposing them fully to the elements. This name was common in communities of the Adirondacks (Images of America: Essex on Lake Champlain. 106).
The home’s original Palladian window was redesigned into a door on the upper porch, French doors replaced the windows on either side of the front entrance during the remodeling, and an oriel window was added at some point to the house as well (“Essex: An Architectural Guide.” 13).
These renovations significantly altered the facade of the Hascall house, but some features still retained traces of its origins. Today the house no longer has those porches, and the original entrance has been revealed.
The Hascall house has a handsome, classically derived Georgian entrance, with fluted (grooved) pilasters, crowned by semicircular fanlight with delicate radiating muntins set within a molded triangular pediment. (“Essex: An Architectural Guide.” 13)
Also, two of the original windows containing a twelve-light over twelve-light sash still remain on the southern side of the house (“Essex: An Architectural Guide.” 13).
The Hascall house was one of the first rescue restorations undertaken in the 1980’s by the Essex Community Heritage Organization (Images of America: Essex on Lake Champlain. 10).
Additional Resources for the Hascall House
This map (with satellite image overlay) will help you locate the Ralph Hascall House and see how its location relates to other historic buildings in the historic district.
View Flaneur’s Guide to Essex, New York in a larger map
References for the Hascall House
“Essex: An Architectural Guide.” Essex Community Heritage Organization, 1986.
“Essex Village Historic District.” Living Places. Ed. Julia Gombach. The Gombach Group, 2010. Web. 28 Nov. 2012. .
Hislop, David C., Jr. Essex on Lake Champlain. Charleston, SC: Arcadia Pub., 2009. Print. Images of America.
“Historic Essex.” Historic Essex. Essex Community Heritage Organization. Web. 28 Nov. 2012. <http://www.essexny.org/>.
McNulty, George F., and Margaret Scheinin. Essex; the Architectural Heritage. Burlington, VT: Queen City Printers, 1971. Print.
Smith, H. P. History of Essex County: With Illustrations and Biographical Sketches of Some of Its Prominent Men and Pioneers. Syracuse, N. Y.: D. Mason &, 1885. Print.
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