Mariner Street is a sleepy, two-block stretch of Allentown extending from Cottage Street on the south to North Street at its upper end. It is characterized by austere two-storey ltalianate houses interspersed with carpenter cottages. It is wonderful to consider that these houses have withstood the passage of 120 years and remain, with few exceptions, as their builders intended them.
Stop at No. 66 Mariner, an example of a simple Italianate workman’s cottage wearing the grandiose finery of a later age very well. The original one-and-a-half storey structure has a shallow gabled roof with dentilation in the eaves, round arched windows light the loft storey, while longer, segmentally arched windows lighted four-overfour distinguish the main floor facade. The added front porch has a simple canopied porch supported by Doric columns, and a spindled balustrade of exceptional delicacy.The south-side bay window, characteristic of later Queen Anne architecture, has upper sashes bordered with stained glass. The brick, gable-roofed rear section was also a later addition, and boasts stained and leaded glass windows and is supported by Ionic columns at the corner.
Don’t approach the corner of Mariner and Allen Streets too quickly; you will need some perspective in order to take in the Buckingham, at No. 87 Mariner, Built in 1896 to accommodate the guests expected at the Pan-American Exposition, the five-and-one-half storey Queen Anne structure topped by a Mansard roof sported a fifth floor restaurant, and a roof-garden from which to watch the sun setting over Days Park. In the roof, gabled and shed dormers alternate behind a faux balustrade. Three-storey bays extend from the first floor entablature upward to the balustrade, covered in pressed tin and decorated with ribboned gar_ands. Engaged modillions and quarter-circle moulding support the bays above the entablature, while the whole structure rests on an exposed, rusticated stone foundation. Guests entered the hotel through a crested Tudor arch, which announces the establishment’s name with exquisite craft.
The Buckingham’s near neighbor, at No. 84 Mariner, was built by Frederic Robins, several years before he undertook construction of the Buckingham, and is itself a notable neighborhood beauty. The four-storey Italian palazzo is cornered by moulded brick quoins and skirted along its first storey by moulded brick bands in classic Greek key pattern splayed over the window caps. The structure has a parapeted flat roof supported bya dentilated cornice graced by Acanthus carved medallions. The mock-entablature between the third and fourth stories is marked by bead-and-reel patterning. The two buildings, massed against one another, provide a remarkable European ambiance to the quiet street corner.
As you continue up the street, take a moment at No. 109 Mariner, a two-and-half storey Colonial Revival structure built in 1898 unique in its facade. In a departure from the typical Eastlake styling, this porch, is supported by fluted Doric columns engaged by half rounded arches providing glimpses of the first floor bay and entryway. The center arch has deep floral figuring in the connective spandrels, and supports a medallioned pediment. The second storey bay windows are crowned by the sort of broken-scroll pediments characteristic of colonial-era chests. The gabled roof is protected by a bargeboard finished at each terminus with floral designs, The most unusual features of the roof are the three massive brackets carved into the portrait of a bearded, patriarchal face, unlike anything else in the neighborhood. The turn-of-the-century enthusiasm for Colonial, Federal, and Georgian style is well represented on upper Mariner Street, and you will note the addition of 18th century style elements to many of the Italianate buildings on the street, especially from No. 154 northward. This house, built so much later than most of the others, is probably original in its design elements.
At No. 118-124 Mariner Street are four houses built by W. S. Tiffts in 1870 who apparently had a passion to build in Allentown. The fifth Tifft house, once No. 116, is gone now, but Tifft also built at Nos. 121 and 123 College at the same time, as well as an entire block of brick Italianate houses on Allen Street, between Park Street and Irving Place.
On your walk, take notice of the small Eastlake porch fronting No. 141 Mariner. Its present treatment as a three-color “Painted Lady” highlights one of the most delightful and fanciful carpenter’s concoctions to be seen anywhere.
No properties were found on this street.