The “Owl House”
2018 this event has passed
Smedley’s house, 26 Prescott Avenue, a Victorian Tudor mansion originally called “Oakridge Cottage,” was designed in 1896 by William W. Kent, also a resident of the Park. Building the house of stone, stucco, and wood, Kent made interesting use of the half-acre of rocky terrain on which the house sits. Of the 22 rooms, 18 face south, making them sunny in winter and shady in summer. The exterior is noted for a number of special touches such as leaded windows with bottle glass and carved stucco medallions. A substantial porte-cochere protects the front entry, but the most significant features of the façade are the two gables, in particular the largest with the owl finial, and the windows of the art studios. Although the house had an original art studio, soon after Smedley moved into the house he added a second 25-by-60- foot studio that rises two stories and has a small musicians’ gallery that looks down from the second floor. It was said that Smedley built his studio less than a foot from the property line in a pique over inventor Ward Leonard’s addition of a garage inches from Smedley’s lot. After the Gill family moved into the house in 1946, the artist studio was converted to a theater/gym for the energetic and talented Gill family and their friends.