2325 Basset Ave. Note the stall windows at the ground floor and the cupola which would have provided natural ventilation for horses. (Christopher Quirk)
2325 Basset Ave. Note the stall windows at the ground floor and the cupola which would have provided natural ventilation for horses. (Christopher Quirk)
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[Editor’s Note: Christopher Quirk is a local architect and resident of the Cherokee Triangle. Here, he takes a tour of the neighborhood’s plentiful alley architecture. This article was originally published in the Cherokee Triangle Association newsletter and appears here with permission.]

Architecturally, the historic alley structures in the Cherokee Triangle range from utilitarian frame structures to formal, brick buildings. As modes of transportation have changed from horse and carriage, to early automobiles, to large SUVs, the size and form of these service buildings have adapted. Historic outbuildings are an important part of the urban fabric and are considered contributing structures to the local preservation district. A walk down three alleys illustrates the character of these service roads.

Frame stable/carriage houses such as this one at 1297 Willow Ave. originally lined alleys. They have deteriorated and been replaced with modern garages. (Christopher Quirk)
Frame stable/carriage houses such as this one at 1297 Willow Ave. originally lined alleys. They have deteriorated and been replaced with modern garages. (Christopher Quirk)

The alley between Willow and Bassett avenues provides an overview of frame outbuildings. At the corner at Longest Avenue, a two-story carriage house (pictured at top) features a cupola for ventilation, stall windows at the ground level, and large doors. Moving north, on the Willow side of the alley, a large two-story building (1297, pictured above) is more utilitarian. It represents one of the few remaining typical late-nineteenth-century alley outbuildings.

The building at 1291 Willow Ave is actually two joined buildings. There is great variety in rooflines, window types, and siding. (Christopher Quirk)
The building at 1291 Willow Ave is actually two joined buildings. There is great variety in rooflines, window types, and siding. (Christopher Quirk)

Midway down the alley, a yellow structure (1291, above) shows how outbuildings grew and were joined. The resulting is an interesting roofline and a variety of siding and window types. Farther along the alley, there are two, modern two-level structures with garage below and living space above (1267, 1287). Between those two, there is even a carport converted to a garage (1275) using modern cement-fiber board and wood trim configured to resemble the board-and-batten exteriors of early stables.

Note the variety of openings and lack of symmetry at 1315 Cherokee Road, an example of a brick first and stucco second floor configuration. (Christopher Quirk)
Note the variety of openings and lack of symmetry at 1315 Cherokee Road, an example of a brick first and stucco second floor configuration. (Christopher Quirk)

For good examples of brick outbuildings, take a walk along the alley between Cherokee Road and Everett Avenue. Here, there are large brick structures that were clearly designed for use in the days of the horse and carriage. Asymmetrical doors and windows were placed where needed for stalls. Doors at the second levels allowed for loading of hay. In some instances, outbuildings are brick at the ground level with another siding material such as stucco (1315, above) or shingles (1279, below) above. While these material changes provide architectural interest, the choice and placement of materials was primarily utilitarian. Sturdy masonry at the ground floor stood up to carriages and stable maintenance. Lighter, less expensive materials used above were not in danger of impact. In the 1100 block, there are excellent examples of substantial carriage houses designed to coordinate with the main structures.

Attention to detail here included a shingled second floor and a cupola for ventilation. A chimney flue has been cut off at the roofline, but would have vented a stove to heat quarters at 1279 Cherokee Road. (Christopher Quirk)
Attention to detail here included a shingled second floor and a cupola for ventilation. A chimney flue has been cut off at the roofline, but would have vented a stove to heat quarters at 1279 Cherokee Road. (Christopher Quirk)

One last alley worth a walk is Ridgeway Avenue, off Willow between Cherokee Parkway and Longest Avenue. Designed as more of a street than an alley, it is broad enough to allow two way traffic. It served as the main access to houses set high over main roads. Outbuildings on Ridgway were constructed later than those along Cherokee Road.

This half-timbered carriage house reflects the architecture of the main house at 2303 Cherokee Parkway. (Christopher Quirk)
This half-timbered carriage house reflects the architecture of the main house at 2303 Cherokee Parkway. (Christopher Quirk)

A large half-timbered, brick carriage house (2303, above) sits alongside smaller Arts & Crafts–era, one-story garages built to house newly popular cars. These utilitarian garages are finished in lapped (2425, below) and board-and-batten siding (2501) as well as stucco (2327, pictured at bottom). Some are designed with large overhangs and exposed rafter tails to resemble garden sheds. Care has been taken to detail overhead garage doors as carriage house doors (2325). Recent accessory structures reflect the high level of outbuilding design found on Ridgeway.

Horizontal lapped siding with mitered corners and carriage house doors distinguish this garage at 2425 Cherokee Parkway. (Christopher Quirk)
Horizontal lapped siding with mitered corners and carriage house doors distinguish this garage at 2425 Cherokee Parkway. (Christopher Quirk)

Many of the early frame stable buildings deteriorated and have been removed. Recognizing that the experience of a historic neighborhood depends on more than just the main houses, the Cherokee Triangle Architectural Review Committee takes particular care in their review of new garages. Most recent structures utilize cement fiber board, a synthetic material with a longer life than plastic siding. Garage doors designed to resemble carriage house doors add visual interest. Dormers break up large roof planes and allow for dwelling or storage spaces at second levels. These design details pay homage to early outbuildings and enliven the alley experience. Take a walk and enjoy the variety!

At 2327 Cherokee Road, stucco and exposed rafter tails reflect the Arts & Crafts style of the main house. This garage blends into the garden. (Christopher Quirk)
At 2327 Cherokee Road, stucco and exposed rafter tails reflect the Arts & Crafts style of the main house. This garage blends into the garden. (Christopher Quirk)
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Christopher Quirk

Christopher Quirk

Architect at Period Architecture
Christopher is a local architect at Period Architecture with extensive experience working on historic preservation and traditional buildings. While at John Milner Associates, Quirk worked on the United States Marine Hospital in the Portland and has consulted for Locust Grove.
Christopher Quirk

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