20 No. 3rd Street: former Dr. Innes House (Easton, PA downtown historic district)


Currently the home of Quadrant Book Mart & Coffee House, the Gothic/Jacobian Style house once had an indoor conservatory.  The property was sold to Charles Innes in 1847, with “right to use the Southern Wall of the Stone Messuage” (a dwelling house with outbuildings and land assigned to its use).  According to historian Richard F. Hope,

…the actual features of the house, which include ‘a polychromatic exterior finish’ (that is, a contrast of building materials colors between the stone corners and the brick walls), as well as the apparent flat root (instead of a gabled one more usual in early Gothic buildings), suggests that the visible architectural style more nearly reflects the later ‘Victorian Gothic’ of the 1860-90 period, as remodeled from an earlier, simple style of building.  That same flat roof, as well as the recessed front entry, and very simple entablatures retained above the windows, may indicate that the earlier house style was in fact ‘Greek Revival’, typical of an earlier period.

Hope also indicated that comparison of purchase and sale prices of the former owner (Beidelman) and Innes suggest that Beidelman built the house.  Dr. Innes began residence in the property at least by 1852, however.  In 1874, the current street numbering scheme was initiated, and Innes’ property became 20 No. 3rd Street.  Hope suggests that the large increase in sale price in 1887 suggested “significant improvement was made to the property” and that the 1880s was “consistent with the time period when the ‘Victorian Gothic Revival’ architectural styles were in vogue” and that the current facade could date from that period.

Hope documented the successive occupants of the first floor retail space and upper floor residences throughout the following years until in 1976, Easton Redevelopment Authority obtained the building by eminent domain.  The proposed urban renewal project to widen Church Street from Fourth to Third called for the removal of the Innes house and two buildings on 4th street.

This plan engendered a multi-year political controversy in Easton, which raged between pro-development and pro-preservation forces.

The controversy was eventually settled with widening Church street half way, and leaving the building at No. 3rd in place, though by then owned by the Northampton County Industrial Redevelopment Authority.  Bookseller Richard Epstein transferred his Quadrant Book Mart to the property in 1979, and finally was able to purchase the property in 1990, only to sell it in 2003.  It continues as a bookstore, art gallery, and meeting place for political and arts community members.

Note: The Hulick Mansion next door was constructed in 1885.  To read about it, visit the Suzassippi’s Lottabusha County Chronicles.

This entry was posted in Historic Downtowns, Pennsylvania and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to 20 No. 3rd Street: former Dr. Innes House (Easton, PA downtown historic district)

  1. Susan Lentz says:

    I’ve been offline for a while (moving) so I may be just out of touch, but I don’t know where this great building is. Really enjoyed the article though!


  2. It’s great seeing old buildings and some history!


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