Chimneys as Decoration: The Campbell House

                                                                                                           September 7, 2015
What’s a chimney? 
The place that takes smoke up and outside when you light a fire inside a house. 

When that fire was in a fireplace the chimney needed to be right above the fire to carry away the smoke. The fireplace was inside the house; the chimney was too. Both radiated heat into the house. The chimney was mostly invisible until it exited the house above the roof.
The chimney shown, c. 1710, has 5 flues serving 5 fireplaces. 

By 1860 we had invented stoves, stove pipes and furnaces.
The pipes took the smoke to the chimney - wherever it was. The chimney could be outside the house, visible. It became not just useful but decorative.
These stoves (left)  are from the 1895 Montgomery Ward catalog. One burns wood, the other coal. Both are definitely decorative! The furnace (right), from the Sears Roebuck 1910 catalog, is just as clearly utilitarian, belonging in the basement . 

The Campbell House Chimney 

William Bull, Bennington’s Victorian architect, designed this house for William Campbell at 207 W. Main Street, Bennington, in 1894.  Bull knew the house would be seen from many different angles. The house sits at the intersection of  two prominent streets, Main and Dewey. Campbell's factory was located across Main Street along side the river - approximately where the parking lot for St. Francis de Sales Church is today.  Bull created wonderful aspects and details to be enjoyed by the Campbells, by visitors and those just passing by.

The house has several chimneys. The one most visible from Main and Dewey Street is on the right above.

It begins as stone, rough ashlar with accented  corners, set against the first floor wall. At the 2nd floor it angles and then morphs into brick, tucked behind a 2nd floor overhang. As it rises through the eaves the brick is embellished with arches, ribs and corbels. Definitely decorative!

It is also very high –precariously so. An iron rod fastened to the roof is required to hold the chimney securely: decidedly boring. But look: an iron confection  in the center of rod’s span! The utilitarian tie rod becomes an airy delight: just a little string up there tied in a bow. 


Catalogue No. 37, Montgomery Ward & Co. Spring and Summer 1895, Dover Publications, NY, 1969, unabridged facsimile with introduction; images from Page 421.
Sears, Roebuck Home Builder's Catalog, The Complete illustrated 1910 Edition, Dover Publications, Inc. NY, 1990; image from page 98.

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