Commercial Architecture May 2017 - 20
A STORY ALMOST LOST
His home was not only where he and his wife raised their
children; it is also where he raised two other children
born from an allusively documented relationship with
a female slave, E. Clarke, a half-black, half-white slave
purchased by Watterson's wife from her cousin's estate.
Two children, listed in records as "quadroons," meaning
they were only a quarter black, born from a half-black
mother and a white father, were later recorded. Census
records suggest that E. Clarke eventually became a free
woman, as did her children by Watterson.
The complicated relationship between the two families ended with Watterston's death in 1854. But if not
for the sake of historical documentation, a striking resemblance between Mary Clark (his second daughter)
and George Watterston, and the preservation of their
home, this story, which is part of the historical fabric of
American history, could have been lost.
When Watterston died in 1854, the property passed
to his son, David. It remained in the Watterston family's hands for almost a hundred years until 1905 when
a lawyer, Patrick H. Kennelly,
purchased it. Under Kennelly's
ownership further modifications
were made to the property.
A three-story bay window,
Above. The transition from the historic main house added much
needed space and bridges 200 years of history.
with a flat roof, was constructed on the rear side of the prop-
Right. The underground garage holds spaces for eight vehicles. Cars
exiting the garage simply drive into the elevator.
erty; an outline of the bay window was included in a 1908
In addition, in 1916, Kennelly erected a stable and a
two-story garage, called the carriage house, at the rear of the
The stable and garages (all
of which open to the alley) were
part of the historical development of the Watterston House.
They are contributing struccornices, fireplaces constructed of marble mantelpieces, and slated hearths. Watterston used this main level
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as his study and library, which ran the entire depth of
The second and third levels of the house were used
as bedrooms for Watterston, his wife, six surviving
children, and about a half dozen slaves. Each room
Leo A Daly website
contains a fireplace with wood mantels.
More about the Watterston House.
More about George Watterston.
Tribal Leaders Conference Center website
COMMERCI A L A RCHI T EC T URE
tures to the historic nature of
the original property.
F.C. Curtis owned the property from 1944 to 1967.
Another owner, whose name could not be identified,
then owned the property before it was sold at auction
to the Watterston House Associates in the 1970s.
"The Watterston House serves as more than the
headquarters of NIGA; it is a museum, a collection,
The original historic main house features 14 pine-
and celebration of Native American peoples and their
floored rooms. Its arched stairhall, decorative cornic-
culture. Through the practice of architecture, we have
es, and marbled fireplaces remain to this day, evidence
the opportunity to shed light on the unwritten docu-
of the house's place in early American history and ar-
ments of history," states a Leo A Daly description of
the project. CA