819 PARK – ROSS HOUSE
Built in 1896, this Queen Anne house was originally the residence of Noble Ross, an early Beloit industrialist. In 1885, Noble Ross, together with three other young men, formed the Beloit Iron Works, predecessor to the Beloit Corporation. Ross had been the “boss erector” for the Merrill & Houston Iron Works, which had fallen on hard times. The other three were also former employees of the Merrill & Houston Iron Works. Together they purchased the remains of the company to organize their own paper making machine factory. Ross was initially the factory superintendent, although all four men shared decision making responsibilities. By 1915, he was Secretary of the Corporation. He was active in its business until his retirement in 1920.
This large frame house exemplifies late Queen Anne style in Beloit. Its massing is controlled by a central cubic block with steeply pitched hip roof and flared eaves. But subsidiary projections give the house a liveliness in plan and silhouette: cross gables project from the side facades with pedimented gables and overhanging cornices; on the south facade, the first floor of the projecting bay is chamfered with large brackets supporting the second story overhang; dominating the front facade, a heavy engaged tower rises from the entry bay and culminates in a conical roof. Above that rises the molded chimney. But ornament is minimal and the house features a sobriety in its decorative plan which anticipates the early Colonial Revival. Thin Ionic columns support a simple, denticulated entablature on the front and side porches, an oval window with molded surround ornaments the front, interlacing cames decorate the first floor windows, and a rope molding ornaments the second story tower frieze.