Category: General How the West Was Framed: 19th Century Home Construction in Newton and America

How the West Was Framed: 19th Century Home Construction in Newton and America

April 23, 2022

Join Newton Public Library and the Warkentin House Museum at the Warkentin House, 211 E 1st Street, for a lecture by architectural historian Warren Ashworth, 4 p.m. Saturday, April 23.

Admission is free. Donations to the Warkentin House Museum will be gratefully accepted.

The event will also be streamed live on the Newton Public Library Facebook page.

Ashworth will share some background on balloon framing, what we now call "framing," or "stick framing": that is, building a structure with 2x4s or 2x6s on 16" centers. This unsung invention was born in 1833 in Chicago and contributed immensely to the swift pace of westward expansion in this country, even though, 40 years after its genesis, it was still frowned on in the eastern states.

Ashworth will reflect on some historic homes in Newton, including the Warkentin House and Ambleside, and how they could never have been built without the more flexible method of framing.

The subject of balloon framing is touched on in the "Tempest" chapter of "We, the House," the new novel by Ashworth and his wife, Susan Kander. On Friday, April 22, at 7 p.m., Kander and Ashworth will give a reading from "We, the House," also at the Warkentin House. For more information on that event:

About Warren Ashworth:

Warren Ashworth is a licensed architect practicing in New York since 1980. His specialty is hospitality design with an emphasis on restaurants. He has always engaged in residential design, as well, and feels that the very private aspects of that work continue to inform the very public aspects of restaurant design.

For 24 years Warren partnered with renowned architect Larry Bogdanow. During his tenure there, Warren was involved in the design and construction of more than 125 restaurants. Of these, Union Square Cafe is their best known. Beyond the New York metropolitan area, they designed many restaurants in San Francisco, Chicago and Orlando.

In 2004, Warren established his own practice, Warren Ashworth, Architect PLLC. Since then, he has completed the very successful Landmark Restaurant in Chicago, BLT Steak in Washington D.C., and BLT Market in New York with MB Interiors; and Kelley and Ping in New York. He was the recipient of the 2004 Chicago Landmark Preservation Award for his design of a new retail building in the Armitage Historical District there.

Aside from his design practice, Warren has had articles published on the subject of American domestic architecture. He is the editor of Nineteenth Century, a twice-yearly peer-reviewed journal. He teaches at the New York School of Interior Design in New York City and lectures in various other locations on the subject of architectural history

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