In 1898, carpenter Warren J. Lamb built the two-story home at 126 Fourth St. E. Lamb’s handiwork became part of several early homes in Kalispell, but this one is, perhaps, a showcase of various architectural styles that were popular in the day and the ideals of the era.
The home was built around the time that the Spanish-American War broke out. Annie Oakley was clamoring for women’s rights and espousing their virtues as sharpshooters and soldiers. John D. Rockefeller and his Standard Oil Company owned more than 80 percent of America’s oil and citizens were developing a more positive outlook as the U.S. began to recover from the economic turmoil of the Panic of 1893.
On the outside, the house is an interesting mix of popular styles from the late 19th century. These styles include Prairie, Craftsman and Arts and Crafts combined in a unique mix that we can still appreciate today.
The inside of the home, while still reflecting the ideals of its origins, also serves as a source of memories of the people who inhabited it.
The home takes part of its name from James. J. Grant who purchased the home in 1907. Grant lived in the home with his wife Mary and their five children. Indeed, the house was a home for seven people at a time without many of our modern-day conveniences.
Grant was an Irish immigrant who served in the American Civil War. Perhaps, most notably, he was a scout for cavalry commander General Custer. Grant continued his service-minded career pursuits and, putting aside his mining and farming work, he served as a game warden, deputy sheriff and deputy U.S. Marshall.
In 1926, the other part of the home’s namesake took ownership. Cecil Clifford and his wife Margaret lived in the home until 1953. Both Cecil and Margaret were ordained Methodist ministers. Cecil went on to become a doctor and director of religious education.
The Cliffords may also be responsible for giving the home its third moniker. In the late 1920s, their son left to attend college. During this time, they corresponded by writing letters (telegraphs were fading out of fashion and long-distance telephoning was unreliable, if not financially unpleasant). Through their correspondence, and perhaps their son’s pining for home, the home took on the name “Homomyne” (a play on words for “home of mine”). The name stuck and was taken up by relatives, friends and neighbors at the time.
Today, the home still retains many of its turn-of-the-last-century charms. It’s hard to miss the low-hipped roof with exposed rafters and wide eaves that hark to an eclectic mix of Prairie and the Arts and Crafts styles that were popular in the 1890s. The mixed use of geometric lines and patterns are also a nod to these styles and hallmarks of the Craftsman style as well.
As a carpenter, Lamb also made interesting appointments on the interior as well. For example, built-in shelves parsed the living room and dining rooms. Lamb also crafted wood paneling for the walls along the stairway. And the red and green exterior colors reflect the original red and green light fixtures and wall sconces inside the home.
While the echoes of five children playing about, and the reflections of the “Homomyne” may seem like little more than a memory today, they still remind us about how every home has a story to tell.
JC Chaix is a writer and certified home inspector and appreciates history, art and architecture.
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