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would they have painted it

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  • would they have painted it

    Good evening all,

    I have a question, though not On30 related, it does affect my 1900 to 1929 On30 railroad. I know that in this early time frame most houses where not painted other then the front, but what about commercial buildings? I am building a brick front, clapboard side and back walls three stroy hotel. Would the walls on this small hotel have been painted or left to weather out? I have seen pictures of weathered out walls but also painted walls in TODAY'S timeframe of old buildings. So as always any help or opinions would be helpful.



  • #2
    Steve check contemporary photos for paint guidance. I suspect that most got paint at least once then repaints on the front or exposed side at a corner location. Paint implied "substance" instead of down and out -- see The Painted House.

    Bill Uffelman

    Las Vegas NV


    • #3
      Both my grandparents houses (one in Napervill Ill. and the other Credition ON)were painted white in the 20-30's.
      Chuck Faist

      Burlington, Ontario

      Enjoy yourself it is later than you think!


      • #4
        Good afternoon guys,

        Thanks for your responses, I have decided to go with a very light coat of white and then follow that with a dry bushing of light weathering gray and then wiping that off with a paper towel.

        This time frame can be very tricky to model, espically when it comes to what and what doesn't get painted. In some parts of the country, it would have been looked upon as being boastful to paint the entire house.

        Anyway, I thank you and will continue on.



        • #5
          These are just a few thoughts on this from someone who is both an On30 modeler and lay historian. I would say how much to paint would depend on what side of the tracks you are modeling. In this part of the country-small town Michigan, not painting would have been looked down upon, rather like not mowing the grass in today's culture. Painting one's house was a sign of prosperity, so a housewife whose house was left bare would likely feel like she didn't measure up.But if you're modeling more rustic areas that On30 typically portrays, logging camps, mines, etc. then paint could be in short supply, especially the haywire outfits we love to portray, so then the poor houswife might henpeck the menfolk into painting at least the front.Also if you are modelling a specific area, check with that areas historical society, or a nearby open air museum as to what colors were in use, etc. Some of us history folks spend all kinds of time researching the subject,indeed the Hume house museum in Muskegon,Mi has 13 different colors of paint on the exterior.


          • #6
            Just to add some more info. This is a picture of Baraga, Mich around 1900 and there doesn't seem to be much paint on these buildings.

            Now it just may be this town or section of town that didn't get painted.

            The web site for Baraga County Mich has hundreds of photos from this era.

            Dave Mason


            • #7
              Good day all,

              Well I live and model the eastern shore of Maryland. This is an aera that time has passed by. Not only do we not have any big box stores and probably never will, but the population of just around 20K hasn't changed in 200 years. I find the picture of the Michigan town to be much like that here on the shore. The other question that got answered without asking was the color of clothing.

              Again thank you for your help and if others have pictures they would be most helpful. I painted the sides of the hotel a washed out white with a coat of very thinned gray, gives me the look that I want and makes it look like there was no white hash in many years.



              • #8

                Post a couple of pictures of your building here on your thread (topic).
                Tom M.


                • #9
                  Steve, I would suggest you reverse that order on the paint..first the grey base coat, then the white.

                  Use a very, very thin wash of white over the grey and after it dries, go back with a dry brush application of white. The grey will show through (as aged wood) and the dry brush white will make the "color coat" look worn and layered. Danny