Hanson-Downing House

H. Keith Sawyers photo.

The Hanson-Downing House in Kearney, NE. A picturesque house with asymmetrical composition and rich variety of textures and ornamentation, the well-preserved 1886 dwelling is an American interpretation of the “cottage orné” style.

The style was popular in England a century earlier. Boldly demonstrating the versatility of wood, the design is an assemblage of forms and details drawn from numerous sources, including Queen Anne and Stick styles. Cottage orné can be considered a variation or sub-category of the Queen Anne style.

Charles E. Hanson built the house in 1886, and Wallace A. Downing purchased it in 1887. Since 1930, it has housed the Kearney Woman’s Club. The club has returned the house to its historic color scheme and has undertaken many other restoration projects.

Understanding the style of a house will help you know which features are character-defining so you can prioritize their preservation. Twenty-five architectural styles and types are described and illustrated in Chapter 2 of “Restoring Your Historic House, The Comprehensive Guide for Homeowners.”

Signed and personalized copies of the award-winning and bestselling 720-page hardcover book are available directly from the author in our shop, YourHistoricHouse.com/shop/.

The classic volume on identifying historic house styles, “A Field Guide to American Houses” by Virginia McAlester, is available in our shop, along with select restoration and preservation titles by other authors.

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