The Horridge House

The Horridge House

The Horridge House is located at 612 First Avenue, Vinton, IA. Architecturally, this house is one of the most beautiful homes in Vinton and is believed to have been built in 1863. The house is named after the builders, George and Elizabeth Rock Horridge.

George Horridge was born in Pennsylvania in 1833. He was one of ten children, only two lived to maturity. His parents were natives of England. George moved to Linn County, Iowa in 1851 and to Vinton in 1858. Mr. Horridge started as a tinsmith with the firm of Rock & Brothers in 1860. Later, he continued in a partnership with the widow of Mr. Rock, Elizabeth. The name of the firm at that time was Rock and Horridge Hardware.

In 1863, Mr. Horridge married Elizabeth Rock. Elizabeth was also born in Pennsylvania. She and her first husband, A.H. Rock, had four children. Only two lived, G.T. Rock and Susan Rock. Susan married a wealthy lumberman and lived in Lake Charles, LA. In 1898, at the age of 65, George turned the hardware business over to G.T. and concentrated on the banking business. G.T. continued the business for some time, but later also moved to Lake Charles, LA.

Shortly after George and Elizabeth were married, the Horridge House was built. It is believed that the original structure consisted of the center hall, two large rooms at the front, the kitchen (now the dining room) and bedrooms upstairs. Later, a living room (now the library) and a kitchen were added. The kitchen then became the present dining room.

Elizabeth was twenty years older than Mr. Horridge and she died in 1900. In 1903, when Mr. Horridge was 70 year old, he married Carrie Smyth from Washington County, Iowa. The second Mrs. Horridge was thirty years younger than her husband. George died in 1931 at the age of 98.

Mr. Horridge had been a member of the City Council, school board and one of the principle contributors to the public library. An ardent Republican, he never missed voting in an election. He was also President of the Farmers Band and had been ruling elder in the Presbyterian Church for over 50 years. He gave the beautiful pipe organ that is still in use today. The church is next door to the Horridge House.

The second Mrs. Horridge added the downstairs sunroom, a large bedroom, bathroom and remodeled the kitchen. She also added an attached garage off the sunroom for her electric car. Upstairs, she added a full-windowed screen-in sleeping room, bathroom, one bedroom, a hallway and back stairs. The living room fireplace was constructed after one of her many trips to Europe where she purchased a large bas relief in Italy. This is still over the fireplace.

The French pier mirror is also one of her purchases. It is said she loved to travel and is remembered driving the Vinton streets in her electric car with her big hats waving in the wind. Carrie Horridge died in January 1949 at the age of 76. Both she and George are buried in the Evergreen Cemetery located in East Vinton.

The Vinton Historical Society took possession of the Horridge House in August 1972 at a cost of $18,500. Final payment on the house was made four years later in December 1976. It is one of three properties presently owned by the Historical Society. The other properties include the Ray House at 912 First Avenue and the Railroad Depot.