423. Rowhouse (FY 1007)
840 W. Fourth Street
Contributing, ca. 1915
This is the easternmost in a string of four identical rowhouses (see also #424, 425, and 426). The rhythm of the row is one of its most striking features. The row is a handsome two-and-a-half-story brick structure of Colonial Revival design with a steep slate-shingled gable roof with molded cornice and cornice returns, interior chimneys, gabled dormers (two per unit), and twelve-over-one sash windows with granite sills and lintels. Each unit has a hip-roofed entrance porch with a full Classical entablature, clustered Tuscan columns on granite plinths, and a heavy turned balustrade. Even the rear of the well-preserved row is uniformly-expressed, with dormers, segmental-arched windows, hip-roofed ells, and hip-roofed entrance porches with square posts and plain balustrades. The interiors are finished with standard Colonial Revival details. Attached to the west end of the row is a commercial structure (see #427) which was part of the original development.
Prominent real estate investor Frank Miller (see #108), probably with his son A. Clinton Miller, developed the property between 1912 and 1917, judging from the Sanborn Maps. When Frank Miller died in 1919 his estate inventory included “Brick flats and drugstore – Burke and 4th.” In 1915, 848 W. Fourth (#427) was occupied by McArthur’s Drugstore, but the accompanying flats at 840-846 were still vacant. By 1920 they were rented, occupied by a variety of individuals and families through the 1930’s. By 1940, however, the city directory was listing commercial (Fuller Brush Company and an artist’s studio) as well as residential uses, but the row remained primarily residential until at least 1970. It is now used for offices. (SM, TR, CD, ER)