Georgian 1690-1790

Federal (also called Adam and Jeffersonian) 1790-1830

Greek Revival 1820-1860

Gothic Revival 1830-1870

Italianate and Italian Villa 1840-1890

Second Empire 1855-1885

Richardson Romanesque 1870-1900

Queen Anne 1870-1910

Shingle Style 1880-1900

Colonial Revival 1890-1940

Bungalow Arts and Crafts 1890-1920

American Foursquare 1895-1930



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When the pilgrims first sailed into what is now Plymouth Massachusetts, in the winter or 1620, they faced a hostile, rugged wilderness and bitterly cold climate. Although over half of then died that first winter, the settlement at Plymouth took hold. By 1643 20,000 settlers had arrived from England. The prospect of land to farm and timber to build a home was a great incentive even for those who were not escaping religious persecution. The Pilgrims brought the memory of the basic 17th century dwellings, based on the medieval technique of post and beam construction with them. The first homes were simple timber structures with thatched roofs and white limestone walls. They soon learned that the harsh New England winters required adaptions to the traditional style. They protected the exterior with horizontal, hand cut clapboards and roof thatch with wood shingles to withstand the biting northeast winds. There are still examples of this early Colonial style existing today, the most famous, Turner-Ingersall House (House of the Seven Gables) in Salem, MA, Paul Revere House, Boston, MA, and many homes built before 1700 still being used as residences throughout New England.
As the New England colonies grew and prospered, the new architectural styles and building techniques that made their way across the sea from England were adopted by New England craftsman with a unique New England adaptation. With the beginning of the 18th century, the Georgian style was all the rage, replacing the Colonial. By 1780 the Federal style replaced the Georgian and was interpreted and brought to a high level of design excellence by America's first trained architects. Next there was a procession of distinctly American styles, from Greek Revival to present day, most originating in New England.
There is such a rich architectural heritage and wonderfully preserved stock of antique homes in our New England area, We thought you might like an introduction to the styles and their history. It's surprising how much the town's architecture reveals about the town's history if you know the dates of the predominant architectural style in town.

There is a wealth of information at local libraries and historical societies available for your own study if you want more information.
We hope you enjoy this feature and would like your comments.