DAR House – Porter Sheldon Mansion
70 Prospect Street
“Site Seeing” An Architectural Sampler, Fenton Historical Society, 1991
(The Fenton Historical Society sponsored a tour of several prominent buildings in Jamestown on August 16, 1991.)
This large white frame house reflects two standard 19th Century architectural schools. The numerous decorative details – dentils, arched porch, 3-sided one and two story bay windows, cast iron porch roof edgings – all are consistent with Queen Anne designs, English in origin. By contrast, the heavy mansard roof and imposing dormers are an important part of French Second Empire architecture. The overall effect is one of rambling elegance disciplined by the formal roof.
This combination of styles may have come about through repeated remodeling procedures. City records mark a building on this site as early as 1845. A builder-carpenter, Joel Partridge was resident at that time and may also have constructed the house. Photographs dating from shortly before the turn of the century picture the house much as it appears today.
The home is most familiarly known as the residence of the professionally and socially prominent Porter Sheldon family who became owners in 1880. Family members occupied the house for almost 100 years. The local chapter of the DAR received the property as a bequest from Dorothy Tew Johnson, Porter Sheldon’s granddaughter, in the late 1970s. The handsome first floor rooms which serve as DAR club rooms, will be open for the tour. The upper floors are private apartments.
Porter Sheldon, a lawyer, was active in Republican politics and served one term in the United States Congress. He is said to have been personally acquainted with every United States President from Lincoln to Theodore Roosevelt. In the 1880s he was one of the founders of the American Aristotype Co. which produced stable photographic paper. The company later became part of the Eastman Kodak Company in Rochester.
The Sheldon family memorialized in present day Jamestown by generous grants from the Sheldon family is memorialized in present day Jamestown by generous grants from the Sheldon Foundation for numerous civic endeavors.
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