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Como Orchard Summer Colony (University Heights), Darby, Montana (1909) (S.144)
 
Three Bedroom Cottage Photographed by Douglas M. Steiner, 2009
The Como Orchard Summer Colony was marketed to University of Chicago Professors as "University Heights Community and Orchards." The area is still called University Heights today. Purchase five to ten acres and a cottage, and the company would manage the orchard and market the crop. Perfect for a professor. Vacation for three months and enjoy the Bitterroot Valley. The Clubhouse was conceived as the center of the community. It contained two communal Dining Rooms and a two story lounge in the center for gathering. As a result, most Cottages were designed without kitchens. Of the over fifty cottages that were planned, twelve were constructed. Today, one three-bedroom Cottage and the Managerís Office remain and are maintained.
       Unlike the "cold inhospitable place" discovered by Lewis and Clark in September 1805, I found the Bitterroot valley beautiful and inviting. Driving from Hamilton to Darby early Saturday morning, I was overwhelmed with its beauty. As I parked, two deer were grazing not more than 30 feet away.
       Like the Clubhouse, this cottage was built on a 3.5 foot grid and is approximately 1850 square feet. In 1982 the last Cottage was in a "bad condition" and scheduled for demolition, according to Hildebrand and Bosworth, In their 1982 article they document
  many changes. A small porch was added to the Northwest corner after completion (now enclosed). An interior wall in the west wing dividing the Entry Hall from the Storage was removed. Changes were still visible on the the walls and ceiling surfaces, as well as the back of the fireplace.
       It was not demolished and many changes were made to the remaining cottage. The exterior horizontal board and batten siding that enhanced its deterioration was replaced. The Porch on the west wing was enclosed. The porch that was added to the Northwest corner was also enclosed. The small exterior Porch, Stairs and half wall on the Southeast corner were replaced with exposed stairs. Besides the interior wall already mentioned that was removed in the west wing, that space was turned into a Kitchen and Dining area.
       Although many changes were made to the remaining cottage over the past one hundred years, Wright details still exist. Interior walls are thin, only 1/2 to 3/4 inches thick, like those he designed in his later Usonian homes. Many of the original Mullion windows still exist, as does the stone fireplace. They were built as summer Cottages so lacked central heating.
       Text by Douglas M. Steiner, Copyright September 2009.
 
 
Plate XLVII(b). Typical cottages, Como Orchard Summer Colony. Wright included three variations of the small cottage. Options were many. A single living room with fireplace and porch. A "duplex", two living rooms, fireplaces in the center, and porches on either end. A living room, bedroom, bath and porch. Two parallel cabins with bedrooms in between forming two, two bedroom duplexes. Options were available on larger units by adding bedrooms, a kitchen or dining room.
 
Plate XLVII(b). Typical cottages, Como Orchard Summer Colony. This version appears to be a living room, bedroom, bath and porch. Wright designed built-in planters like many of his buildings at that time.
 
Unlike the "cold inhospitable place" discovered by Lewis and Clark in September 1805, I found the Bitterroot valley beautiful and inviting. Driving from Hamilton to Darby early Saturday morning, I was overwhelmed with its beauty. As I parked, two deer were grazing not more than 30 feet away.
 
 
Although many changes were made to the remaining cottage over the past one hundred years, Wright details still exist. Partition walls like those he designed in his later Usonian homes. Mullion windows, stone fireplaces and designed ceiling details. They were built as summer Cottages so lacked central heating.
 
Example of the original exterior horizontal board and batten siding that still exists on the managers office.  Moisture seeped behind the siding and enhanced the cottage's deterioration. Board and batten siding still existed on the cottage in 1982. The battens were removed and original board's covered with new siding.
 
1: Viewed from the Northwest. The North wing, on the left, includes a Bedroom on the left (double windows) and Storage on the right. The porch between the North wing and the West wing on the right was added and enclosed. The West wing, on the right, was converted to a Dining area and Kitchen. The original Kitchen window on the far right was replace with a shortened window to allow for an interior Kitchen countertop.
 
2: Viewed from the Northwest. The North wing, on the left, includes a Bedroom on the left (double windows) and Storage on the right. The porch between the North wing and the West wing on the right was added and enclosed. The West wing, on the right, was converted to a Dining area and Kitchen. The original Kitchen window on the far right was replace with a shortened window to allow for an interior Kitchen countertop.
 
3: Viewed from the North. The East wing Porch on the left is now enclosed. The North wing, in the center, includes a Bedroom on the left (double windows) and Storage on the right. The porch on the right was added and enclosed.
 
4: Viewed from the Northeast. The East wing Porch on the left is now enclosed. The North wing, on the right, includes a Bedroom on the left (double windows) and Storage on the right. The porch on the far right was added and enclosed.
 
5: Viewed from the East. The South wing on the left includes two bedrooms. The small exterior Porch, Stairs and half wall on the left between the South wing and the East wing in the center was replaced with exposed stairs. The East wing Porch in the center is now enclosed. In 1982 before new siding was installed, an original window existed under the porch to the right of the existing door. The North wing, on the right, includes a Bedroom and Storage.
 
6: Viewed from the Southeast. The South wing on the left includes two bedrooms. The small exterior Porch, Stairs and half wall in the center was replaced with exposed stairs. The East wing Porch on the right is now enclosed. In 1982 before new siding was installed, an original window existed under the porch on the West side.
 
7: Viewed from the South. The West wing on the left was converted to a Dining area and Kitchen. The South wing in the middle includes two bedrooms. The small exterior Porch, Stairs and half wall to the right was replaced with exposed stairs. The East wing Porch on the right is now enclosed. In 1982 before new siding was installed, an original window existed under the porch.
 
8: Viewed from the Southwest. The porch on the far left was added and enclosed. The West wing on the left was converted to a Dining area and Kitchen. The Bath is visible between the West and South wings and extends out to the eves. The South wing in the middle includes two bedrooms. The East wing Porch on the far right is now enclosed.
 
9: Viewed from the Southwest. The porch on the far left was added and enclosed. The West wing in the center was converted to a Dining area and Kitchen. The Bath is visible between the West and South wings and extends out to the eves. The South wing on the right includes two bedrooms.
 
10: Viewed from the West. The porch on the left was added and enclosed. The West wing in the center was converted to a Dining area and Kitchen. The Bath is visible between the West and South wings and extends out to the eves. The South wing on the right includes two bedrooms.
 
11: The Fireplace and Chimney was constructed of stone. The original chimney was increased in height before 1982.
 
12: The porch between the North and West wings was enclosed. This is the original door and window.
 
 
13: Detail of the original mullion divided glass doors.
 
14: Detail of the original mullion divided glass window.
 
15: Plate XLVII(b). Detail of one of the optional designs proposed for the Como Orchard Summer Colony.
 
16: The West wing originally was divided by a wall that ran from the left side of the window on the right to the fireplace on the far left. The Entry Hall was in the foreground, now the dining area, and the Storage area on the far side, now the Kitchen. The window on the left is an original. The two on the right were replaced. The center was replace with a shortened window to allow for an interior Kitchen countertop..
 
17: The West wing originally was divided by a wall that ran from the fireplace on the left and followed the foreground ceiling detail board that runs from left to right.
 
18: Viewed from the Northwest corner of the Living Room. Original mullion divided glass windows and doors.
 
19: View of the Northeast corner of the Living Room. Original windows and doors.
 
20: View of the Northeast corner of the Living Room. Original windows.
 
21: View of the East end of the Living Room. Original windows and doors. Doors lead to enclosed porch.
 
22: View of the Southeast corner of the Living Room. Original windows and door. Door leads to small exterior Porch.
 
23: Viewed from the Southeast. Original stone Fireplace, insert was not. The Storage Room on the west side of the North wing can be seen through the doorway on the right side of the Fireplace.
 
24: Viewed from the Southeast. Original stone Fireplace, insert was added.
 
25: Viewed from the Northeast. Original stone Fireplace, insert was not. Bedroom doorway on the left, Bathroom can be seen through the doorway on the left side of the Fireplace.
 
26: Detail of the interior wall to the left and right of the Fireplace. Walls are thin, only 1/2 to 3/4 inches thick, like those he designed in his later Usonian homes. Doorway is framed by a 2x4.
 
27: Viewed from the fireplace. West Bedroom in the South wing.
 
28: Viewed from inside the larger Bedroom in the North wing. Closet door on the far left, Built-in storage. Southeast corner of the living room is visible through the open door. Double doors on the right are not original.
 
29: Viewed from the Northeast corner of the East wing Porch. Porch was originally open, but now enclosed. Original doors lead to Living Room.
 
30: Detail of the doors and windows between the Porch and the living Room. Originally the exterior side before Porch was enclosed.
 
 
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