S.R. Johnson - Watson House
608 Ferry St.
Lot :: E 1/2 Lot #2 and 14' x 126' Lot #3 in Peifer and Spencer's Addition
The Watson House was built in 1844 by St. John's for its first rector, Rev. Samuel R. Johnson. He became Rector in May 1837 and always refused a salary from the church. To thank him, the church built this "splendid edifice," as it was called in its day, at a cost of around $3,000.
The house fell out of church hands around 1860. In 1979, the house was part of the Potter Apartment operation. In 1981, it was repurchased by the church with money from the estate of Mary Jane Watson and later restored. When St. John's acquired the house, it was in a terrible state of disrepair. Because of the importance of the house to the history of the church, St. John's stabilized it and began its restoration to its former glory. The Watson House is now used as offices for the church and has received a Wabash Valley Trust Plaque.
This house is one of the oldest documented residences in Lafayette, dating to 1844. It is a rare example of the Federal Style in Lafayette, although it also has influences from the Greek Revival period, such as the front doorway with square sidelights. The most distinguishing feature of this house is its Federal style chimney massing. Other Federal elements include the nine-over-nine windows and the use of jack arches.
The house presents a simple vernacular side-hall floor plan. The hall is very wide with a grand staircase giving the home a sense of grandeur. The stone retaining wall along the front sidewalk helps to elevate the view of this grand home.