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Begged, Borrowed, Stolen


Sad to say that I have an Iomega external hard drive, acquired as a backup for a lot of miscellaneous by important files, but which is nwt inaccessible. The design is/was deficient in a major way: the USB connection was extremely fragile and became disconnected. After an expensive experiment, I’m left with one possible solution: pay a data recovery service from $500 to $2,000 to do their thing. This could have been avoided if Iomega had simply equipped their drives with a SATA port that allows the USB connection to be bypassed. In its proprietary wisdom, Iomega chose not to equip their drives with this valuable feature.

If the external drive were accessible, I could post a copy of the “Biographical Dictionary of the Agincourt Project,” a compendium of every personal name associated with the project to date—and much in need of updates. It would appear—absent 2,000 bucks for the data retrieval service—I’ll be reconstructing this from memory.

Who’s on First?

There are three categories in the Biographical Dictionary: 1) Imaginary characters like Anson Tennant who have been created during the evolution of Agincourt; 2) real people who have come to play during the last five years in the sandbox that is the Agincourt Project (current students, faculty, graduates, friends, acquaintances, hapless passersby and others with time on their hands); and 3) real people who are deceased but whose talents, reputations, etc. have been conscripted into the evolving story. I suppose the largest group in category three are architects—designers I admire and hope to understand better by imagining designs for a wide variety of projects. Chicago architect Francis Barry Byrne was channeled by my friend Richard Kenyon as the architect circa 1950 for the new Catholic church of Christ the King. Most of the others on this short list were chosen from my own list of personal favorites.

Many of you will know there is a special place in my pantheon of architectural demigods held by William Halsey Wood [1855-1897], architect of Newark, NJ who designed more than forty Episcopal churches during a brief career cut tragically short by tuberculosis. It would be too easy, though, to ask Wood to have designed a church for us; the danger of cobbling together a pastiche of his architectural themes would not be worth the risk. The same would be true for the banks of Louis Sullivan or the single-family houses of Frank Lloyd Wright. So for Halsey Wood, I chose a county court house to be his Agincourt commission.

Wood designed a large number of churches and up-scale single-family homes. But evidence of commercial work is non-existant and there are only a handful of institutional commissions, so I felt safe invoking his name for the Fennimore County court house of 1888-1889. You can see it’s compact Richardsonian Romanesque roof scape across the street from Asbury Methodist and First Baptist. 


Designing a Richardsonian Romanesque court house was relatively easy, since I’ve been a fan of that great architect’s work for nearly fifty years. But putting a Halsey wood spin on it won’t be obvious until the elevations and masonry details appear here later.

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