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Help Identify An Old Photo Architectural Style

Jun 21 '13 16 Last Comment
steper
Jun 21, 13 3:54 pm

Greetings,

I have an old photo sent to me from the local museum. I am trying to determine the architecture style. I was thinking Georgian but the porch design makes me think it is not. I was also getting  Greek Revival but again, the porch blows that to bits. Can anyone help me? This image was taken around the 1920s, as far as I am aware.

Thanks for your time. I appreciate your insight!

 

gruen
Jun 21, 13 10:48 pm

I'm thinking its a mix of styles. The main mass is somewhat Italianate, especially the heavy cornice and flattish roof. Porch looks late Victorian to me, perhaps with catalog bought scrollwork. Lets face it- it's a box with some stuff stuck on it, and no specimen of any particular style. Call it American Venacular with a twist.

observant
Jun 21, 13 11:50 pm

These questions come up regularly and the answer in most cases is that the style is eclectic, or there wouldn't be so much controversy.  One thing it's not is Greek revival.  There is something Italianate about it, in the massing of the hip roof, the heaviness of the overhangs, and the brackets.  However, the brackets are paired and almost have a train station like vocabulary about them.  The porch has Victorian ornamentation where the posts meet the beams, and only there.  The porch railing is generic, though.  Also, with a very quick glance, without looking at small elements, the tall/skinny proportions of the windows and overall feel say French Second Empire.  If the Victorian gingerbread was gone and the 2nd story windows were segmental arch topped, I'd say French Second Empire.  So, it's an eclectic mix of traditional American / Victorian and/or stick style / Italianate / French Second Empire.

steper
Jun 22, 13 12:01 am

Observant, Your mention of train station resemblances astounds me. In fact, this was the first building plotted in a town built entirely around a railway. I can't thank both of you enough for your feedback. I wasn't hoping to find out it is some unique piece of architecture. My interest is solely in its uniqueness in the community. Thanks for your feedback!

oneLOSTarchitect
Jun 22, 13 9:03 am

It's called American Four Square 

curtkram
Jun 22, 13 9:13 am

what's the interest in identifying a 'style' for old houses?  is this a bit of information one would be interested in using in conversation?  perhaps you're writing a book?  surely if someone said this was italianate instead of greek revival, you wouldn't use that information to inform design choices when redoing the kitchen?  if it was just a cookie cutter sears standard-built home, detailed with pre-cut lumber that happened to be in their lumber yard at that particular moment in time, would that really  make a difference?

being the oldest home in an area does provide a bit of charm, and because it was first there is a good story to tell.  if it were me, i would try to find out about the first homeowner and tell their story instead.

oneLOSTarchitect
Jun 22, 13 10:53 am

There is no way that is Greek Revival. It's American Four Square with a bit of Italianette in there 

oneLOSTarchitect
Jun 22, 13 10:54 am
gruen
Jun 22, 13 11:17 am

Agree American Foursquare

anonitect
Jun 22, 13 11:31 am

If they are looking for historic designation, the NPS wants a style, and American Foursquare isn't one of the options

steper
Jun 22, 13 12:46 pm

The home used to be an old church, and then the first schoolhouse in the neighborhood. It was constructed in 1857. This photo was taken assumingly 75 years later when the home was turned into a duplex. It is now an abandoned single family home. The history of the building interests me. The building itself, i'm sure, has little semblance to its original look now. It sits in a historic district but is not "historic" assumingly because of the transformations it has undergone over the past 150 years. I have searched local museums and county museums for its mention and have dug up little information other than the mentions of the buildings existence and some old letters from children who went to the two room schoolhouse around the time of the civil war.

observant
Jun 22, 13 1:12 pm

I read  the American Foursquare link - some interesting things.  Later renditions could have Italianate, Craftsman, or cornice bracket elements.  However, I don't see any dormers.  It said they were popular along rail lines, too.

I see the Bates Motel look minus the mansard.  That's where I picked up Second Empire.

Curt, the lumber yard connection is funny.  Sounds like VE is something you do well!

But if you look at the NPS options, you'll see how the styles run together when close in sequence, and piggyback on elements.

Miles JaffeMiles Jaffe
Jun 22, 13 2:54 pm

Too big to be a four square, which was intended as an economical design and so called because the plan is more or less quartered into four squares.

Doesn't look like a Sears.

Janosh
Jun 22, 13 6:42 pm

This book is pretty much the one for broad classification of historical residential styles: http://www.amazon.com/A-Field-Guide-American-Houses/dp/0394739698

won and done williams
Jun 22, 13 10:07 pm

Not foursquare. It's too old (and not four squares). I think the first few posts were the closest. A uniquely American structure like a Sherwood Anderson short story. I like it.

snooker-doodle-dandy
Jun 23, 13 10:50 am

American Four Square:  My grandpa's house was built in 1910 and it was American Four Square.  Low Hip roof, Single Chimney.  Large Dormer windows.  Main entry door located on axis of house.  Ya some carpenter got a little fancy and tossed on a porch, and a bit of  the Italian  eve brackets.  The massing and window placement has American Four Square written all over it.

thomas carlsonthomas carlson
Sep 30, 13 7:26 am

Georgeon or greek, whatever may it be; this monument is part of human history. I wonder what all great works were displayed here.

www.synarts.com/

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