Oliver Clapp House

At 11 Capitol Parkway in the Capitol Heights Historic District, is one of the more interesting houses there. It is mostly Craftsman Style or American Foursquare, which I have never heard of, built circa 1912, and it incorporates the generous, livable front porch and single dominant roof dormer common to those designs. But this one was constructed of site-cast (broken-stone face) concrete blocks, another oft-used feature of the style. Clapp could not resist incorporating a tiny bit of Greek Revival, but hey, who are we to judge; he probably did it to please his mother. I read where the house had eight fireplaces, was supported by site-poured concrete columns, and cost $5,000 to build (a large sum in 1912).

Clapp’s family had run a Marble Monument company, where he had started his career, but (surprise, surprise) Oliver became a concrete paving contractor. His company produced Montgomery’s famed hexagonal concrete sidewalk paving blocks, which were installed in most neighborhoods when I moved here in 1951. Then, after a series of trip-accident claims, these were diligently replaced with the poured concrete walks we have today, and the hex-pavers were discarded as rubble. But today, Clapp’s pavers are savored relics of our past, treasured by all the buffs who managed to hold onto some.

-Charles Humphries

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