By the early 20th century, the once-rural property was surrounded by urban growth. Two of the Snowdens' sons, John Bayard Snowden and Robert Brinkley Snowden, were partners in a real estate firm. In 1910, they broke up the property around Annesdale, keeping about seven acres for the house grounds and developing a new residential area called the Snowden Homestead, with streets named for the Snowden children: Agnes, Dorothy, Minna, Bayard (now Central Avenue), and Brinkley (now Sledge Avenue). Now known as Annesdale-Snowden, the area is a Memphis Landmarks district and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
The house at 1409 Agnes Place is exemplary of popular middle-class housing built in the first quarter of the 20th century. It is not a "pure" style but rather a composite of elements -- in this case, the Colonial Revival style, which became extraordinarily fashionable after the Philadelphia Centennial Exhibition of 1876, with details influenced by the Craftsman style, popular from around 1900 until the 1930s. The steeply pitched gambrel roof places the house in what is generally known as the Dutch Colonial style, but the square balusters that screen the pergola-like front porch are clearly drawn from the Craftsman and Mission styles popularized by Gustav Stickley in his magazine The Craftsman. The house has an unusual gambrel dormer over the front porch, a feature that creates interesting spaces in the second-floor bedrooms.
The first floor has a spacious and pleasant living room with a corner fireplace embellished by an original Craftsman tile surround. A wide, cased opening connects the living and dining rooms. The staircase between the living and dining rooms features a distinctly Craftsman balustrade alternating square and rectangular balusters with diamond-shaped cutouts. A short hallway between the dining room and kitchen contains a half-bath and stairs to the full basement. The kitchen has been updated but still has room for additional cabinetry or perhaps a work table or island. A breakfast room with a laundry area adjoins the kitchen. A pair of arched doorways lead from the breakfast room to a den added some years ago; this sunny, south-facing room could also be used as a dining area or home office.
The second floor has four almost identical bedrooms and a bath opening off the central hall. One of the rear bedrooms has its own full bath and a walk-in closet added at the same time as the den below.
A rear deck opening off the kitchen and den provides a pleasant outdoor living space overlooking the deep backyard; it would be positively splendid with a pergola-styled roof. The property does not have the garage or backhouse typical of Midtown neighborhoods, but it does have a big building at the rear of the lot that was once a bar patronized by workers at the commercial and distribution businesses developed across the back street during both world wars; this would be a great space for a workshop, home office, or guest quarters.
This picturesque house offers an adaptable floor plan, lots of space, and an expansive setting -- a winning combination for comfortable, contemporary living in a historic but lively and stable neighborhood.
1409 Agnes Place, 2,100 square feet, 4 bedrooms, 2 1/2 baths
Realtor: Prudential Collins-Maury, Inc., Agent: Joe Spake, 751-4385 or 753-0700