As a celebration of historic preservation month, we’re featuring seven of the many buildings that house our window inserts. We’re looking at the structure, stories, and historic windows which were saved because of the preservationists involved. Without those who believe in the importance of conservation of materials and preservation of our history. None of these buildings would be here today to admire or learn from.

This blog features the first two buildings on our tour of American historic preservation: a home with beautiful Colonial windows and The Lamar House, which has Italianate style windows. Both were saved from landfill by the help of preservationists and Indow window inserts.

Preserving Colonial Windows

historic preservation of colonial windows with indow inserts

Characteristics of Colonial Windows

  • This Georgian style was imported from England
  • Double hung with many small lites
  • Common divisions:12 over 12, 12 over 9 as with this window

Allistair McHarg’s Colonial home, and hist Colonial windows, were built in 1756. That’s long before any thought to modern efficiencies were dreamt of. He says that after surviving all these years, more than America has been around, walking around his home is like walking on the deck of a ship—cattywampus.

The modern efficiencies started to be a concern for Allistair and his wife Ellin during the New Hampshire winters. They knew they didn’t want to change a thing about their home—from the center chimney to the Colonial windows—just improve upon what was already there.

That’s what lead them to Indow window inserts. “I didn’t want to do anything that would ruin the historic integrity of the pre-Revolutionary War, center-chimney colonial that once served as a tavern and schoolhouse in Sandown, New Hampshire,” says McHarg, “When it came to addressing the drafty but still-beautiful old windows, we took care. Historic preservationists had told us that a sure way to hurt the value of this unique structure was to replace the windows.”

The McHargs’ colonial windows were out of square, a bit like everything in their home. That’s why Indow custom-made inserts worked so well for them. It kept their historic windows intact and blocked out all drafts, and as a surprising bonus, noise!

Preserving Italianate Windows

historic preservation of Italianate style windows with Indow inserts

Characteristics of Italianate Style Windows

  • Tall and narrow
  • Often curved or arched top
  • Rich ornamentation of crowns and decorative hoods
  • Mass production of glass was just beginning, so some have a sole pane and some have 6 over 9 to 4 over 4 sash division

The Lamar House has an impressive amount of history built into its 159 years. It’s the birthplace of Supreme Court Justice Joseph Rucker Lamar. President Woodrow Wilson Lamar’s childhood friend, grew up right next door. Thankfully, non-profit Historic Augusta is dedicated to preserving this history for future generations.

The Lamar House acts as Historic Augusta’s headquarters, so they wanted to ensure the building was as energy efficient as possible without sacrificing any of its historic markers. This includes its beautiful, old Italianate style windows.

“We’re bombarded with ads for replacement windows,” says Erick Montgomery, Executive Director of Historic Augusta. “If your windows are 75 to 150 years old, for less money you can repair them, and you can achieve energy efficiency by installing interior storms, which are aesthetically very pleasing. There’s an alternative.”

Montgomery is so concerned about the loss of historic windows like the beautiful Italianate style windows of the Lamar House that he’s dedicating his time to education. Part of his busy schedule goes toward encouraging best practices in the treatment of historic buildings in Augusta, including historic window preservation. He even created a window insert showcase inside the Lamar house and data showing energy savings on their site to prompt conversations about window conservation.

Learn more about restoring your historic windows.

Learn more about preserving & modernizing your historic windows.