History

The Allen House, an 1886 stick style Victorian located in Amherst, was built by Lysander H. Allen, a local wire goods manufacturer. The house was also the life-long home of his son, Professor Harry Allen of Amherst College, and of Janet R. Strong who prudently preserved the unique charm and original character of the house.

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The Allen House Inn is located on three scenic acres across the road from the Emily Dickinson homestead. Until the late nineteenth century, the Allen House property was part of the original Emily Dickinson family farmland.

The Allen House is one of the finest examples of stick style architecture remaining in the world today.

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The Allen House is designed in the stick style of architecture which was popular from about 1860 to 1890. It was one of several styles of architecture employed during the Victorian era. Architectural critics of the day were stressing honesty in architectural design. That is, they believed that a building should visibly reflect its materials and method of construction. They were reacting against the excesses of the ornate Victorian styles. The more linear geometric stick style is a result of this reform movement. Of course, the actual structure of a stick style is not visible; the stick pattern is purely decorative. However, this pattern was reminiscent of medieval English building traditions in which the actual structural skeleton of the building was visible from the outside.


Stick Style Allen House

1895

The Allen House exterior exhibits many of the identifying characteristics of the stick style. The characteristics include:
  • Overhanging eves, usually with exposed rafter ends.
  • Wood construction with boxy projections: bays, wings, and towers.
  • A grid-work of raised boards called "stick work" overlaying the clapboarded wall surface.
  • Irregular, asymmertrical forms and rooflines.
The exterior features of the Allen House also include front veranda with oriental Chippendale and pagoda roof, ornately carved Swiss-Austrian bargeboard (vergeboard) under gables and multiple relief shingles (fish scale or varigated shingles). The original six color exterior paint scheme has been faithfully restored to accentuate the architectural details of the house.

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Allen House Victorian Inn
599 Main Street, Amherst, MA 01002
Telephone (413) 253-5000




Copyright 1997 Allen House Inn
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