504 Fifth Ave




Daniel C. and Anna (Egge) Jordahl


504 Fifth Ave Decorah, IA 52101

Year Built


Architectural Style

Cape Cod

As the following newspaper article shows, this house was announced as a Charles Altfillisch design. But one of Altfillisch’s surviving project books, in addition to including costs and specifications, includes this note: “Plans were furnished by the Arch. Small House Bureau of Mps. Fees: $150.” On the one hand, given that this house is quite similar to other Altfillisch Cape Cod and Colonial Revival houses, the note might raise the question whether Altfillisch in fact purchased many of his house designs during this period. On the other hand, this is the only example we have found in any of the surviving Altfillisch records of a purchased design, which might suggest that it was a one-off experiment on Altfillisch’s part. In any case we have included the house in order to be as honest as possible about the relatively limited information about Altfillisch’s design work that has survived.

The house is a classic Colonial Revival/Cape Cod house from the 1900-1950 period when the design was perhaps the single most popular American house style. In addition to the gabled entryway, the house includes two classic front-gabled dormers. The current (2021) owners added a room to the rear that is mostly invisible from Fifth Avenue.

The Jordahls were the grandparents of Leigh Jordahl, who was for many years a Luther College professor of religion and head librarian and co-author of the college’s quasquicentennial history. Leigh and his wife Lois lived in this home when they first moved to Decorah in the 1960s.

Current house owner Richard Amundson remembers that as a boy he caddied for Charles Altfillisch, who was an avid golfer and who designed various iterations of the Oneota Country Club. Rich notes that he always tried to caddy for Altfillisch because he was unusually generous–$.50 per ball!–to caddies who recovered the balls Altfillisch had lost in the woods.

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