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
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
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.