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Merton S. Goodnow Residence
Purcell and Elmslie
Hutchinson, Minnesota  1913

Text by William Gray Purcell
Parabiographies entry, Volume for 1913

Job Date (in Parabiography): January 28, 1913

Dr. MERTON S GOODNOW, Hutchinson, Minnesota

Dr. Goodnow, a dentist, was a man of ideals who was eager for a work of worthy architecture. We did him a very good job.

This Goodnow home was an interesting variant of the Jones-McCosker-Oscar Owre plan type, one of our first small dwellings in all brick construction. The site was beautiful with fine old trees. Mr. Elmslie caught the feeling of the site. We wanted to keep the lines of the building as low as possible, because the area of the plan was small and the house was a considerable height above the street.  Low eave lines meant minimum height second floor windows. Miss Parker and I worked out the minimum top glass line for a second story window, which would accommodate the sight line of a standing six-foot man, to be 5' 8-1/2" (5' 11" window head). This dimension has influenced all my window-door-ceiling relations ever since.

We also tried to establish the heights at which the sloping ceiling of a bedroom could meet the side wall without giving the sense of bumping one's head in moving about the room near the wall. It was still to be a number of years before these studies were carried to their logical conclusion by establishing minimum door heights for the smallest houses and thus securing a feeling of ampleness in under-roof bedrooms which had no all-over flat ceiling.

There were some design adjustment snarls on the southwest side porch of this house which we never resolved, despite many alternate studies - one of those things for which there just seemed to be no solution.

The Goodnows had twenty years of enjoyment in this house, Dr. Goodnow dying about 1933, and the house sold to the leading garage man in Hutchinson.


   Collection: William Gray Purcell Papers, Northwest Architectural Archives, University of Minnesota [AR:B4d1.7]
research courtesy mark hammons