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National Register of Historic Places Program

The National Register of Historic Places is the official list of the Nation's historic places worthy of preservation. Authorized by the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966, the National Park Service's National Register of Historic Places is part of a national program to coordinate and support public and private efforts to identify, evaluate, and protect America's historic and archeological resources.

 

Property Name Lapham, Ambrose S., House
Reference Number 14000541
State New York
County Wayne
Town Palmyra
Street Address 352 West Jackson Street
Multiple Property Submission Name N/A
Status Listed 9/3/2014
Areas of Significance Architecture
Link to full file https://www.nps.gov/nr/feature/places/pdfs/14000541.pdf
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Constructed 1869-1870, the Ambrose Lapham House is significant under criterion C as an excellent example of mid to late nineteenth century Italianate style architecture in the village of Palmyra. The building was constructed when the village was flourishing due to economic activity generated by the Erie Canal and the New York Central Railroad. Ambrose Lapham, a Palmyra native who made his fortune in banking in the Detroit area, selected Palmyra as a place to retire, remembering the rural, pastoral landscape of the Finger Lakes. His house was built in the Italianate style, popular in the mid nineteenth century, which reflected his wealth and character and was a style promoted in popular literature as being appropriate for a suburban setting. The house was designed by A. J. Hopkins, an Oswego architect and landscape architect who incorporated many typical Italianate features into the design. His overall plan for the house was two symmetrical blocks, the rear block slightly recessed from the main block. The entire building was of brick, except for the cupola, windows and roof. Following the Italianate style, the house had a low pitched, overhanging roof decorated along the eaves and fascia board with paired brackets and inset wood panels. Hopkins used the window openings to add more detail by making them rounded at the top with cast stone lintels. Where possible, he added more bracketing, especially on porches, most notably the main entrance porch. Other classic Italianate features included double doors and square chamfered columns on the porch. Perhaps as a nod to Andrew Jackson Downing, the grounds included a rustic summer house or gazebo reminiscent of garden elements published in Downing's Landscape Gardening and Rural Architecture (1849). After Lapham's death in 1883, the house was sold and much of the original property was sold off. The house retained its suburban character, which was enhanced by its location near the fairgrounds, as well as its large setback and lawns. The house is one of the largest in Palmyra and certainly the largest, most opulent nineteenth-century residence on West Jackson Street and retains a high degree of integrity.

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Properties are listed in the National Register of Historic Places under four criteria: A, B, C, and D. For information on what these criterion are and how they are applied, please see our Bulletin on How to Apply the National Register Criteria