ART TALKS: Joan Word leads virtual tour of historic Troy
Published 4:00 am Friday, April 24, 2015
Troy artist Joan Word took a group of local residents on a virtual tour of the historic homes in downtown Troy Wednesday and presented a “talk” on turn of the century architecture.
The Johnson Center for the Arts hosted the Art Talk, which provided information that included every style of architecture on College, Murphree and Orange streets. College Street is listed on the Alabama Register of Landmarks and Heritage and the National Register of Historic Places.
Word said her interest in architecture is rooted in childhood.
“When I was growing up, girls played with doll houses and boys had farm sets and gas stations,” she said. “I guess that’s when my interest in buildings began.”
Word said nearby Eufaula, being a river city, has a large number of homes with a wide variety of architectural elements. Eufaula can boast of many prominent early residents who could afford to build extravagant homes.
But Troy was landlocked and didn’t begin to see that type of construction until around1870.
“Prosperity came to Troy as the population increased from several hundred to several thousands from 1870 through the early 1900s,” Word said. “The houses on College Street were built by businessmen, educators, politicians – all prominent and influential men,”
Word showed slides of houses on College Street that were constructed in the style of the Victorian Era from 1860 to the early 1900s.
The styles from that era that line College Street include Greek Revival, Gothic Revival, Italianate, Second Empire, Queen Anne, Colonial Revival, Mission and Folk Victorian.
She also highlighted some of the popular house styles on Murphree and Orange streets built beyond the Victorian Era, through the 1940s.
“The Craftsman style was influenced by the arts and crafts movement in England,” Word said. “The Prairie style originated with Chicago architects, while the Tudor Revival style was inspired by the half-timbered dwellings of the Elizabethan Period.”
Word said the Cape Cod, one story house with its steep roof and narrow eaves, is the most common form of Colonial Revival architecture.
Vicki Pritchett, Johnson Center executive director, said she was fascinated by Word’s talk.
“The architecture in Troy’s historic neighborhoods is so incredible that I have to wonder if the people weren’t trying to outdo each other,” she said. “Thanks to Joan, I will be able to appreciate these historic homes now that I know more about the styles and will be able to recognize the architectural elements of these old house.”
Pritchett said it is amazing that a large number of historic homes remain in Troy.
“We have people who love old homes and still enjoy living in them,” she said. “We appreciate Joan sharing her knowledge of historic architecture with us. The enjoyment of viewing historic homes will be enhanced for all of us who attended.”
Kathy Sauer, Pike County Chamber of Commerce president, said Word’s Art Talk will provide interesting background information for attendees who plan to participate in the walking tours of downtown Troy and College Street on Saturday and Sunday.
The Chamber’s Walking Tour Saturday will begin at 10 a.m. and the Pike County Historical Association’s Walking Tour will begin at 2 p.m. Sunday. Both tours will be conducted by historian John Phil McLaney and will originate at the Pike County Chamber of Commerce Office at 101-A East Church Street in downtown Troy. The public is invited to participate in both walking tours.