The Noftzger-Adams House, Historic Landmark

Nomination form prepared by Parks M. Adams, owner, on July 30, 1978.

Physical Appearance

The Noftzger-Adams House is a large, brick, Second Empire Victorian structure located in downtown North Manchester, Indiana. It was built in 1880 on a site comprised of two city lots. The building is a 40 x 50 foot rectangle facing south with a bay of windows on both the east and west sides. It has two stories plus a full basement and unfinished third floor.

The house is divided into three bays extending the length of the building. The center bay is the hall, flanked with solid brick masonary walls extending to the third floor. The east and west bays are subdivided into three rooms on the first two floors and the basement. The third floor is one big room interrupted only with posts to support the roof.

The foundation and basement are quarry run, buff-colored shale. Above this, the walls are hard-burned, smooth-finished red brick with only 3/16 inch mortar joints. The roof is mansard type with sheet tin on the flat portion and slate on the sloping portion. The slate was removed in 1976 because it was beyond repair; however, samples were saved and the pattern diagrammed in anticipation of its eventual duplication. The slate was blue-gray in a hexagonal pattern with repeating three-colored flower-like design. At the base of the sloping roof is a 30 inch wide flat area around the house with a built-in gutter for collecting rain water. This portion of the roof is cantilevered from the top of the brick walls with tension members on the inside of the third floor wall, extending down seven feet to tie into the floor joists. From the underside of this cantilever is hung the roof cornice with large two by three foot by six inch wooden cornice brackets—decorative only. The windows are capped with fancy imitation stone lintels made of sheet tin and painted grey. There are 40 windows, some eight and others nine feet tall, all with interior wooden shutters.

The house has a very ornate front porch 7 x 40 feet with ten box columns. Each column is made up of 116 pieces of wood. These were in bad repair and are now being completely duplicated, using the original as a pattern. There is a smaller, much less ornate rear porch. There are five chimneys, of which three have decorative sheet tin caps.

Major Interior Features

There are double front entry doors. The outer are solid, and the inner doors contain large, original, etched glass panels. The main stairs are four feet wide with a landing halfway in an eight foot wide hall. There is also a three foot wide rear servants’ stair that turns 180 degrees. Both have walnut railings.

The woodwork on the main floor is ash, trimmed with walnut, and in good condition. There are three large sliding doors, two into the hall. The woodwork on the second floor is poplar with wood graining. In two rooms and on the doors facing the hall this graining is still intact. There are three fireplaces of marbleized slate with fancy grilled covers and cast iron hearths with brass rails.

The walls are plaster with plaster cornice moulding present in four rooms on the first floor. Also three ornate plaster ceiling medallions are present. The ceilings are twelve fe4et high on the first floor and eleven on the second. The hardware is ornate cast brass for hinges, door knobs and lock plate covers. There are no hardwood floors, since wall to wall carpet was originally used over all.

Five of the original gas light ceiling fixtures remain. Three are fine Italian red brass and cloisonné with four arm gas fixtures. Two of these have period shades.

No out buildings are present. The barn fell down in 1976.

Statement of Significance

The Noftzger-Adams House is significant because of its architectural value. It is a large, brick, Second Empire Victorian single family dwelling, located in the downtown area of a town of 5500 people settle in the 1840s. There have been no exterior alterations to the house proper except removal of a side porch off the kitchen and loss of the slate roof. It is hoped that the slate can be replaced.

Distinctive architectural features that have been discussed in the preceding section include: 1) brick work with narrow mortar joints, 2) sheet tin lintels over the windows, 3) cantilevered cornice, 4) ornate front porch, 5) slate roof with pattern (replacement anticipated), 6) unusual original gas light fixtures, 7) fine woodwork and hardware.

The original owner was Levi J. Noftzger, a local hardware merchant. He apparently used the latest ideas for his day. The house had central gravity heat with sheet tin ducts placed in the walls. The house was the first in North Manchester, Indiana to have indoor plumbing. It was gravity lead plumbing. There were also piped gas lights throughout the house.

The owners are in the process of restoring the house with Mrs. Roll McLaughlin as interior design consultant. A pictorial record of the restoration is being made.

Geographical Data

Acreage of nominated property is 0.60 acres. The house is located on lots number 64 and 65 in the original plat of North Manchester, Wabash County, Indiana. It is on the northeast corner of Market and Third Streets. The street address is 102 E. Third Street, North Manchester.