The Foss Mansion
The house construction is masonry on three sides, wood on the back, covered with white stucco, with a red clay tile hip roof. The southern-facing main façade features three symmetrical bays, including a two-story tall pair of bays flanking the central entry, which is sheltered by a portico topped by a segmented-arch pediment. The cornices of the portico, doorway pediment, and roof, including the lines of the roof dormers, are all supported by ornate brackets, or modillions. The two-story porch is supported by four Corinthian columns and features Palladian entryways and windows.
The front entry door, constructed of solid wood and accented by leaded glass sidelights, is topped by a rectangular transom and leads to a tiled vestibule opening onto a central hall.
The newel posts of the flying staircase feature three designs and a mahogany bannister. Five bowed stained-glass windows, two of which are on interior walls, and a handsome grandfather clock, grace the circular landing where the staircase splits.
From the central hall and to the left is a living room of 22×26 feet, featuring an ample fireplace and French doors opening onto the tiled, palm corridor. A half bath is located to one end of the corridor, the porte-cochère on the other.
To the right of the grand central hall is the library with a second fireplace, beyond it is a tiled solarium. The dining room is also accessed from the central hall as well as through a French window entrance in the solarium. The oak paneled dining room’s fireplace mantel piece in this room is carved with floral garlands and flanked on either side with built-in china closets. Sliding pocket doors close both the dining room and library.
The kitchen, located in back of the dining room, is accessed through the butler’s pantry. The pantry contains a zinc vegetable sink and dumbwaiter, which ascends from the ice room to the second floor. Two small pass-throughs go from the kitchen into the dining room, providing food and dish access. A back staircase off the back of the kitchen leads to the upper floors.
Each of the five spacious bedrooms on the second floor has its own bathroom. One of the five rooms was reserved for the second floor servants. The back staircase leads to additional servants’ quarters, storage, and a large room finished with tongue-in-groove boards that served as a recreation or billiard room on the third story.
The basement is reached by a stairway in the back hallway. Divided into many rooms, this floor was for functionality and housed the furnace, coal storage, vegetable/root cellar and laundry room. During WWII, the Women’s Literary Union granted the Red Cross to use a room in the basement for home nursing classes.
In addition to the woodworking craftsmanship throughout the home, other remarkable features include a central vacuuming system, original paintings and décor, period wallpaper, Persian rugs, and flower gardens like those Mrs. Foss enjoyed during her life in the mansion. A detached two-car garage, designed with a turntable, is located off the porte cochere. Once driven onto the turntable, a car could be turned by manual crank to position it to face the street for ease in exiting the garage. The garage has a basement, as well as chauffeur quarters upstairs.