The Queen Anne Style, popular in America from 1880-1920, had its roots in the English style of the same name, spread through the use of pattern books and early architectural journals. Once it crossed the Atlantic, the style became distinctly American—particularly in its exploitation of turned wood elements and use of a variety of textures. The dominant features are an asymmetrical façade, frequent use towers or turrets, broad areas of shingles—often shaped, ornate bargeboards, and elaborate turned wood porch posts, balusters and newel posts. Predominantly wood frame, many of these houses would have been painted with multiple colors used to “pick out” various decorative elements. The floor plan of this style was typically irregular with rooms of varying size, often radiating off a large entrance area.
One of the most popular styles in American residential architecture, from the American Centennial in 1876 through the mid-20th century, the Colonial Revival Style draws from America’s colonial past, particularly delighting in the decorative details and the symmetrical proportions of 18th century Georgian architecture, which was derived from Classical Greek and Roman architecture. The classic Colonial Revival house has a symmetrical façade with a central entrance, classical ornamentation, such as columns and pilasters, pediments over the doorway and either a side-facing gable or gambrel roof. Some later examples of the style derive inspiration from America’s earliest buildings in the use of an overhang at the second floor and the use of casement windows and carved pendants. Whether grand or modest, the floor plans of this type of house reflect the balance of elements of the façade, with a central entrance hall and rooms, typically two, on either side.
Popular from 1890-1930s, the Tudor Revival style was inspired by “picturesque” elements of medieval English and European buildings. Some versions of the style replicated the half-timbering found during the Elizabethan and Jacobean eras of England. Many examples exhibit elements associated with vernacular cottages, such as simulated “thatch” roofs and stucco exteriors, smaller proportioned windows–frequently casements with small panes of glass, curious elements such as “dove cotes” and prominent chimneys—often a dominant design feature of the facade. Many examples have asymmetrical facades, with a sweeping roofline, diamond-paned windows and ornamental stone or brickwork. With the Tudor Revival, the large central entrance “hall” of the Colonial Revival is typically replaced by a smaller entrance vestibule-often projecting from the façade. The plan may be irregular, reflecting the exterior placement of elements, or it could be quite balanced.
This was a truly American house type, popular from the late 1890s through 1930. It was essentially a cube—two stories with an attic, with either a hipped or pyramidal roof. Large dormers made the attic space a usable room. A large, welcoming porch typically extends along the full front. The façade is symmetrical with a central entrance, although there are variations with a side entrance. Windows are large and grouped, providing more light than earlier house types. The Four Square—less a style than a “type” was easily “accented” with architectural features from other styles—typically Colonial Revival and the Craftsman style.
The Arts and Crafts movement began in England in the latter decades of the 19th century and was popular in America from the 1900s through the 1920s. The Arts and Crafts movement included furniture design and the decorative arts, such as fabric and ceramics, and became a popular and distinctive method of building and living. In America, this movement was championed by Gustav Stickley, who built his home “Craftsman Farms” in Parsippany, N.J. in 1911. The Craftsman Style was the culmination of this movement in built form as it expressed the “hand made.” The typical form of the Craftsman house would have a low-pitched roofline with wide, overhanging eaves and exposed rafter tails or brackets. A mixture of materials, particularly the use of rustic looking rubble stone for foundations, chimneys and porch posts, was typical. The floor plan was new as well, and featured an “open” plan, where rooms could flow into each other, sometimes separated by a screen wall of columns or bookcases.
Many houses in the College Hill neighborhood are not easily classified into particular styles because the architect or builder freely combined elements of several styles within one building resulting in a quite exuberant design. In particular, a simple, rectangular house form with regularly placed windows, as in the Colonial Revival style, sometimes has elements from the Tudor Revival, such as a steeply pitched gable over the entrance or an exaggerated chimney stack used in a decorative manner on the facade. The American Four Square house type in particular lends itself to the application of elements of an architectural vocabulary associated with variety of period revival styles.