o this day, the name “Dr. Hart” remains inscribed above the front entrance in a colorful stained-glass transom, a feature visible to all who, by chance or design, gaze up at the building’s beautifully detailed façade. Yet, that is not the end of the tale. Those who treat themselves to even the briefest visit inside will catch a glimpse of Dr. Hart's 19th Century ingenuity. Dr. Hart's elegant design was a subtle means to make double use of the stained glass transom bearing his name. When you step through the front door, your eyes are immediately drawn to an antique piece of furniture purchased by Dr. Hart himself and situated today in the building's foyer, exactly as it was over 100 years ago. By placing a simple mirror on the upright portion of the piece at about a foot above eye level, Dr. Hart devised a way for his guests and patients, upon stepping inside, to again see his name in stained glass.
One would think that using a mirror to reflect the image of a name would yield a view in unreadable reverse. In fact, this is exactly what you would see if you stood in the foyer looking up at the back of the transom: “Dr. Hart” in reverse. Yet, turn around and look up at the mirror: reflecting the back of the stained glass, the mirror reverses the backward “Dr. Hart,” appearing in the mirror the way it should be, from left to right, just as the old doctor planned.
Reflection of Stained Glass in Mirror
We may never know what inspired Dr. Hart to cleverly arrange the stained-glass and the mirror this way. It seems certain, however, that the guests and patients of Dr. Andrew J. Hart stepped through the front door of this grand house, as people do today, with a sense of that special ingenuity that distinguished the Victorian Age.