Thursday, December 15, 2016
Obviously, these are all lumped together because there all from Springfield, Ohio. They're also all in one post because all three buildings were designed by the same architect, local Springfieldian Charles Creager. I did my due diligence and ran the standard computer searches. I found his name listed with buildings he designed, but no real data on his life other than he was a Springfield native. Let's just say he wasn't the Louis Sullivan of central Ohio. So, he left some buildings behind, but he's the kind of guy who's famous for being a good imitator, but nothing beyond that. So, who was he imitating?
Creager built in the Richardsonian Romanesque style. Richardsonian comes from Henry Hobson Richardson, an American architect who found his main inspiration from the Romanesque architecture of southern France. When I was at Penn State, I took an American Art History course, and one of the buildings we studied was The Allegheny County Court House and Jail. I can't remember the professors name, but he was really taken by the building. I grew up in a small town about fifty miles from downtown Pittsburgh, as in the Allegheny County seat. Over the years, I had been by the building, but had never been in. Inspired, I drove to Pittsburgh, and wandered around the place. (Remember the good old days when you could walk into a government building and just wander around?) Got to say, I'm more of a modernist. To me, it just seemed heavy and oppressive.
So, interesting story. When I started my research, I started by typing in Springfield Ohio Courthouse, and what popped up on the images page? Springfield Courthouse from The Simpsons. No, that's not the interesting part. When I was younger, there was a fifteen year span where I didn't own a television. So there I was, sitting in the Burger King, and I overheard a bunch of kids talking about Homer Simpson. I was impressed, so I told them I was an admirer of The Day of the Locust too. It was one of my favorite novels. I didn't know that Homer Simpson from the Nathaniel West novel, was not the subject of their conversation. They looked at me like I was some sort of idiot.
One last thing, the middle card was addressed to "Mr. F. H. Mattes, Newton Falls, Ohio." It was never mailed. For those interested, I just posted a couple of illustrated, novelty postcards addressed to Mr. Mattes on my Fair Use blog.