The Dr. H.G. Farish House
144 Main Street, Liverpool
In Liverpool, in the third quarter of the nineteenth century, the Gothic style was reserved for churches. Dwelling houses were to be commodious, neat, elegant, and vaguely classical, so this Victorian Gothic house was considered newsworthy enough to rate a notice in the May 31st Liverpool Transcript of 1866 under the heading NEW BUILDINGS: "Dr. H. G. Farish is about completing a handsome storey-and-a-half cottage on the corner of Main and Duke Streets". A month later the same paper report- ed that Dr. Farish had removed to his new house.
He began to assemble the land for the building site in 1854 and on it he had piled the house lumber to season for three years. The house retains its fretwork in the peaked gable, though the bargeboards have long since succumbed to the weather. The window in the centre gable is a good example of a Mersey River Gothic window, skilfully curved, rather than terminating in the simpler angular peak used by carpenters elsewhere along the South Shore. It is worth pausing to look at the detail of the doorway. The door panels are the shape of lancet windows and the panes of coloured patterned glass in the sidelights and transom have somehow escaped damage over the years.
Despite its Gothic airs, it retains the balance, neatness, and elegance long associated with Liverpool houses. Surrounded by the flowers, trees and shrubs which the good doctor loved, the house was considered by the Liverpool Advance in 1914 to be one of the show places of the South Shore.
It has been a doctor's home and office for over one hundred years. First it was the home of Henry G. Farish, M. D., who came from Yarmouth in 1850 to establish a practice which covered a radius of 40 miles and 8,000 potential patients with one other doctor to assist. He continued in practice as late as 1910 when he was 84 years old.
In 1930, Dr. J. C. Wickwire bought the house for a combined home and office which he occupied until 1973. He has renovated the interior somewhat, but the exterior has been little changed, except for two eyebrow windows under the eaves which were cut to relieve the summer heat upstairs.