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Versatile Victorian

A Queen Anne cottage in Annesdale Park.

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When work began on Annesdale Park in 1903, the development was boldly publicized as the "first subdivision of real estate in the South planned upon metropolitan lines." It's thought to be the city's first subdivision where streets and other improvements were paid for by developers and then deeded to the city -- gas streetlights, sewers, water and gas mains, paved sidewalks, alleys and streets, and concrete curb lining the six miles of major streets. Trolley service from downtown was extended to Raleigh Avenue (now Bellevue) specifically to provide service to the new subdivision.

The area was developed by two brothers, Robert Brinkley Snowden and John Bayard Snowden, and T.O. Vinton, described as a "self-made man." The brothers had formed the real estate firm of Snowden and Snowden; Robert B. Snowden and Vinton were vice presidents of the Bank of Commerce and Trust Company. The Snowdens' father, Colonel Robert Bogardus Snowden, was president of the bank and of the Citizen's Electric Street Railway. The Snowden brothers spent their childhood years at Annesdale, the Italianate villa that their grandfather bought in 1869 as a wedding present for their parents. They named their new subdivision after their nearby childhood home.

Land for Annesdale Park was acquired from descendants of Anderson B. Carr, a trader and lumber-mill owner who settled in Memphis in 1818.The first street developed in the neighborhood was named for Carr. Construction in the subdivision continued until the mid-1920s, but most of the houses were built between 1904 and 1910.

The dark-green house with a broad, wraparound porch at 1330 Vinton Avenue was one of the earliest houses built in the area, and it shows the lingering influence of the Queen Anne style of Victorian architecture. Its low-pitched hip roof with a gable dormer centered above the entrance is typical of late-Victorian residential architecture, as is the curving porch supported by Doric columns rather than the elaborate, turned posts typical of earlier Queen Anne houses.

The front entrance is a grand, oak door flanked by leaded side lights. The entrance hall has parlors with ornate mantels on both its east and west sides. Pocket doors separate the east parlor from the master bedroom, which has an adjoining bath and dressing area. An elaborate oak screen wall defines the entrance vestibule; the remainder of the vast hall, which is about 60 feet long, makes a grand sweep straight through the house, ending at a large, oak-framed window with a view to the rear garden.

The interior-arrangement possibilities in this house are marvelously flexible. The central part of the hallway has a fireplace and makes a cozy sitting room. The rear part of the center hall, now used as a dining area open to the kitchen, could also be a den or music room. The middle bedroom on the west side of the house connects with the kitchen through a short hallway and could be used as a formal dining room, with its two large closets serving as capacious china pantries. The library at the rear of the house could be a home office or small bedroom; it opens to a covered porch and has a pleasant view to the garden.

The backyard is enclosed by a high fence and is divided into three distinct areas -- two square terraces separated by a square filled with specimen trees and dense understory planting, an arrangement which imparts a decidedly "secret garden" aura to the property and fulfills the developers' goal, stated in the opening-day ceremonies for Annesdale Park in 1903, "to make it a paradise."

1330 Vinton Avenue

3,100 square feet, 3 bedrooms, 2 baths;

$247,500

Realtor: Sowell and Company

Agent: Linda Sowell, 278-4380, 454-0540

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