OwnerHjalmar and Helen (Arnold) Carlson
Address303 Upper Broadway Decorah, IA 52101
Architectural StyleMidwest Modern Prairie Style Influences
Tour TypeSouth Decorah Tour
NRHP 1976 & DHPC Award 2018.
This home was built in 1960 by Norman Berg for Hjalmar and Helen Carlson. It is now owned by Ben and Padrin Grimstad. Featured in a 1962 article in the Cedar Rapids Gazette, the house was recognized for its blend of contemporary architecture with Southern Colonial, admired by Mrs. Carlson, and modeled after homes in historic neighborhoods in Lexington, Kentucky. The high-pillared entry is a recognizable southern colonial feature, but the use of steel railings gives the entry a contemporary look. The Carlsons chose to replace the white frame exterior traditionally associated with homes in southern cities with what the newspaper article calls “Santa Fe brick,” pinkish in color. Tall steel posts–like those on 217 Riverview Dr., but on this house later covered with square boxes–support a recessed entrance, and ornamental glass panels lend interest to the brick wall. Also contemporary in design are the suspended light fixtures over the 20 ft. staircase with steel dowel rods dropped from the ceiling. Walls inside the entry are paneled in Philippine mahogany, continued throughout the house, except for the birch-paneled bedrooms and oak ceilings. The home was unusual in its time for its open floor plan and slanted ceilings. Originally the interior walls were painted green, with some grass cloth, that blended in with the lovely outdoor setting on the sizable lot, over half an acre, sloping gently down to the river.