This article is a part of a series from the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission’s excellent field guide on the architectural styles found in Pennsylvania.  In it, they’ve assigned key periods of development – from the Colonial period in the 18th Century to the Modern Movements of the 29th Century.  This article focuses on an overview of the Traditional/Vernacular style in Pennsylvania from 1638 through 1950

PA Architecture Late 19th Century & Early 20th Century Movement 1890 – 1930

The late 19th and early 20th century was a period of transition architecturally, marking the entrance into a new era of building. This was the beginning of forward looking architectural design with styles not based on previous building forms. Changes in construction techniques, especially the development of sky scraper technology, and a desire to create houses that fit visually into the natural environment influenced the developing styles of this era. The first style to emerge from this architectural movement was the Sullivanesque style. Named for its creator Louis Sullivan, a prominent American architect, the Sullivanesque style was developed as a design for sky scrapers. Sullivan divided the sky scraper into three parts, an entry level, midsection, and highly ornamented top cornice. This style shows the influence of the Art Noveau movement in the curvilinear lines and complex patterns of the decorative elements. The Commercial style, sometimes called the Chicago style, is a more pared down design for sky scrapers based on a steel frame construction. Sometimes ornamented with elements of other styles like the Romanesque or Gothic Revival, the basic grid design of the Commercial style is still evident.

The other architectural style innovations of this period occurred in the design of residential structures. American architectural force Frank Lloyd Wright created the Prairie style, desiring to develop a new domestic form that fit naturally into the environment of the Midwestern prairie. Wright, along with other Chicago architects known as the Prairie School, designed houses with gently sloping roofs, deeply overhanging eaves, and horizontal emphasis. Vernacular versions of the Prairie style such as the American Foursquare house are far more common in Pennsylvania than pure examples of the Prairie style.

The Bungalow or Craftsman style is another residential style that developed at the turn of the 20th century and became widespread throughout the country in various vernacular forms. Bungalows were first seen in California and were inspired by the English Arts and Crafts movement stressing hand-crafted materials and harmony with nature. Known for their heavy columned front porches, front facing gables, and overhanging eaves, Bungalow style houses often have exposed rafters and other decorative wood trim as well. Pattern books and mail order catalogs enabled the Bungalow style to become very popular in the developing suburbs of the early 20th century. The styles of this period set the stage for even greater change in architectural theory and practice in the years to follow.

 

PA Architecture Traditional 1700 – 1870

This article is a part of a series from the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission’s excellent field guide on the architectural styles found in Pennsylvania.  In it, they’ve assigned key periods of development – from the Colonial period in the 18th Century to the Modern Movements of the 29th Century.  This article focuses on an overview of the Traditional/Vernacular style in Pennsylvania from 1638 through 1950

Identifiable Features

1.  Steeply pitched gable roofs
2.  Stone, brick, log or frame construction
3.  Double  doors, four over four front facade
4.  Dual gable end chimneys
5.  Usually two and a half stories
6.  Summer kitchen located just behind main house

PA Architecture Traditional buildings reflect the strong cultural ties of the state’s early settlers form the German (Deutsch) speaking areas of central Europe.  These Deutsch speakers, came to be described as the “Pennsylvania Dutch” —a rather misleading name based on the mispronunciation of “Deutsch” as “Dutch.”  This Germanic influence is most apparent in the southeast section of the state where German settlement began in the early 1700s.  While the German settlement later extended throughout the state, this southeastern area retains the earliest and the highest concentration of the early Pennsylvania German Traditional buildings.

Traditional_Vernacular - 2013-09-18_17.46.03

Buildings in this category take several easily recognized forms.  The earliest PA German Traditional buildings were of log or stone construction and of distinctly medieval form with steep roofs, thick walls and small, irregularly spaced windows.  These small early houses had floor plans which  followed traditional layouts—some very simple one-room buildings, but more frequently a 2 or 3 room layout with a central chimney and corner “winder stair” leading up to a loft or second floor.  The 3 room format called for a large kitchen or  “kuche” on one side of the center chimney and two smaller rooms including a  parlor or “stube,” and a bedroom or “kammer”  on the other.  This three room Germanic folk house is sometimes  referred to as a “Continental Plan” by architectural historians. The two room format known as  the “Hall and Parlor Plan” had only a kitchen (hall)  and a parlor with a central chimney wall in between.

In the vernacular tradition some early stone houses were built over a spring to provide running water and a cool area for food storage in the basement.   Some houses were also built into a bank or hillside, partially underground for similar cold storage reasons, as well as cost and material efficiency.  This bank style of construction is attributed to medieval Swiss tradition, so buildings opf this type are  sometimes called “Swiss style.”  Many banked houses were later expanded to become 2 or 3 stories with the ground floor  then used only as a kitchen or for  storage.Some early houses on the expanding frontier of Pennsylvania were constructed as fortified houses with extra thick walls  and small windows to withstand Indian attack.  Fort Zeller built in 1745 near Newmanstown, Lebanon County was not actually a fort but such a fortified  (thick walled) house built in this manner.

Another traditional early house form was the combination house and barn where both shared a common roof.  Few examples remain, since it was a more of a short term pioneering practice than a desired housing type.  Certainly, for early settlers faced with the need to provide prompt shelter for both the family and livestock such a solution would have been expedient.  As family fortunes improved, additional buildings were constructed to separate the farm animals from the family.

The buildings of the Ephrata Cloister in Lancaster County are unique surviving examples of medieval German building practices. The Cloister was begun in 1732 as a religious community for mystical German Pietists led by Conral Beissel and drawn to Pennsylvania for its religious tolerance.  Ephrata Cloister has one of the best preserved collections of 18th century German vernacular domestic and religous buildings.  At its peak in 1750 the Cloister complex included a chapel, mens and womens dormitories, a variety of mills, a bake house, a pottery, cabins, barns and stables. The  celibate community declined after the Revolution and became part of the 7th Day German Baptist Church in 1814.  Much of the complex remaineds today and is operated as a historic site by the PHMC.  Significant buildings include the 1740 chapel called the Saal, a half-timbered, 5-story, clapboard building with shake shingles and small attached stone kitchen and the 1742 sisters house known as the Saron, a steep-roofed, 4-story, log house covered with clapboards containing floors of narrow sleeping cells.  The small, unevenly placed, casement windows, steep gable roofs, shed dormers, plain white plastered interior, winding stairs,  and center chimneys are all indicative of medieval German building traditions.

Some 18th and early 19th German Traditional houses incorporated the customary German floor plan into a more formally designed exterior, adopting some of the elements of the contermporary Georgian style.  These German influenced houses usually had four bays, rather than the usual five of the Georgian style and lacked the Georgian  center hall as well.  The Cooke House in York County  and the Christian Stauffer House of Lancaster County are good  examples of this blend of Germanic form with Georgian proportions.  One of the most interesting and intriguing types of PA German Traditional houses is the Four over Four or  Pennsylvania German Two Door Farmhouse.  These houses are easily identified by their two front doors, placed side by side in the center of the house with a window flanking each and four windows on the second floor.  Houses of this type usually date from the mid-1800s and are often built of brick or frame. The Green House in York County is a good example of this form. One front door opens directly into the family sitting room, and the other into the more formal parlor.  This housing form does not exist in central Europe, and is prevalent only in Pennsylvania and its borders, so it appears to be a style developed here.  Much debate of the significance of the double front doors has produced some general consensus that it represents the adaptation of traditional German form to the formal symmetry of the popular Georgian and Federal styles.  For some architectural historians the twin front doors represent the development of a more utilitarian floorplan with the elimination of the Georgian/Federal style central hall, while presenting a more formal and symmetrical exterior appearance than the earlier medieval German buildings.  These distinctive houses can be seen especially in the southeastern and south central portion of the state, often with a detached one room “summer kitchen” just off the rear elevation.  The summer kitchen kept the heat from cooking or washing clothes from the main house during hot weather.

This article is a part of a series from the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission’s excellent field guide on the architectural styles found in Pennsylvania.  In it, they’ve assigned key periods of development – from the Colonial period in the 18th Century to the Modern Movements of the 29th Century.  This article focuses on an overview of the Traditional/Vernacular style in Pennsylvania from 1638 through 1950

PA Architecture Colonial Period 1640 – 1800

The Colonial Period in Pennsylvania covers the era from the arrival of the first European settlers in the mid 1600s to 1776 when the nation was formed and Pennsylvania was no longer a colony of England. While the earliest colonists to settle in what would become Pennsylvania were from Sweden, the Netherlands and Finland, colonists from England and later Germany would soon predominate following William Penn’s arrival in 1682.

The earliest settlements within Pennsylvania’s current boundaries (at one time the state of Delaware was part of Pennsylvania, making up the three lower counties) were Swedish, part of the colony of New Sweden. There were about a dozen small permanent Swedish/Finnish settlements along the Delaware River, the earliest in Pennsylvania being Finland and Upland founded in 1641 near present day Chester. With the arrival of William Penn, the Proprietor of the colony of Pennsylvania, and other English Quakers in 1682, colonial growth spread northward and westward from the mouth of the Delaware River. As a refuge from religious persecution, the colony grew and attracted settlers from many countries, but in the Pre-Revolutionary War period, most colonists were of English, German and Scotts-Irish ancestry.

The first buildings in Pennsylvania were simple, traditional structures, built according to folk designs common in the colonists’ country of origin. These traditional or vernacular buildings were built not just in the Colonial period, but throughout the settlement period of the state. This building tradition is important in its own right and is fully detailed on the Traditional/Vernacular style section of this field guide.

The only true architect-inspired style of the Colonial period often found in Pennsylvania is the Georgian style. This style, based on the classical forms of the Italian Renaissance, originally developed in England in the 17th century and was introduced in the colonies around 1700. It was the prevailing style in Pennsylvania for about 100 years, from 1700 until 1800.

This article is a part of a series from the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission’s excellent field guide on the architectural styles found in Pennsylvania.  In it, they’ve assigned key periods of development – from the Colonial period in the 18th Century to the Modern Movements of the 29th Century.  This article focuses on an overview of the Traditional/Vernacular style in Pennsylvania from 1638 through 1950

PA Architecture Early Republic Period 1780 – 1830 

The Early Republic Period marks the era when the English colonies declared their independence and the young nation was first established.  The predominant style in this period was the Federal or Adam style, a refined version of the previously popular Georgian style.  Federal style buildings were common in the period from 1780 to about 1830  and were distinguishable from their earlier Georgian counterparts mostly by the more delicate and elaborate classical  details on similar symmetrical facades.  The other style to develop in this period was the Early Classical Revival or Greek Revival style which drew its design inspiration more directly from the ancient buildings of Greece and Rome.  This Early Classical Revival style continued to be employed for much of the nineteenth century, especially for buildings in public use, schools, churches, banks and government offices.

This article is a part of a series from the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission’s excellent field guide on the architectural styles found in Pennsylvania.  In it, they’ve assigned key periods of development – from the Colonial period in the 18th Century to the Modern Movements of the 29th Century.  This article focuses on an overview of the Traditional/Vernacular style in Pennsylvania from 1638 through 1950

PA Architecture Mid-19th Century Period 1830 – 1860

The Mid-19th Century Period covers the revival styles popular in the middle of the nineteenth century, the Greek Revival, the Gothic Revival style, the Italianate Villa/Italianate style, the Exotic Revival style ( Egyptian Revival, Moorish Revival, and Swiss chalet), and the Octagon Mode. During this period, sometimes referred to as the Romantic or Picturesque era of architecture, Americans were looking for greater choices in building styles and for designs which were evocative of a romanticized past or region. During this period, several architectural styles became popular concurrently and it became desirable to have buildings of distinctively different, yet complimentary styles as part of the same streetscape. This was a real departure from the previous eras when a single formal style was dominant and used almost exclusively. This multi-styled approach to architectural design has continued to the present day in the United States.

The most common styles of this mid-19 th Century Period are the Greek Revival, the Gothic Revival, and the Italianate. The Greek Revival style (1820-1860) is definitely part of this period, but since it has its roots in the Early Classical Revival style, it is detailed in the Early Federal Period. The Gothic Revival and Italianate style were promoted via influential pattern books such as architect Andrew Jackson Downing’s Cottage Residences , published in 1842. The romantic designs presented in the publication and others were reproduced in exact and derivative form throughout the country. The Gothic Revival Style drew inspiration from medieval forms and the Italianate style was derived from the building traditions of the Italian Renaissance. The Exotic Revival style emerged in this period as well, producing intriguing designs for buildings showing ancient Egyptian, traditional Moorish, or medieval Swiss chalet influence. Never as widespread as the romantic styles, the Exotic Revival style is easily identifiable due to the unique architectural features it presents. Another infrequently seen, but remarkably unique style of  building of the Romantic era is the Octagon. The Octagon Mode was advanced through a 1849 pattern book which promoted it as a healthful and sensible innovation in building design. It enjoyed very limited popularity and perhaps only a few such mid-19th century examples remain in Pennsylvania.  The octogon form is more commonly seen in our state as a result of a vernacular building tradion for early one room schools.

 

This article is a part of a series from the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission’s excellent field guide on the architectural styles found in Pennsylvania.  In it, they’ve assigned key periods of development – from the Colonial period in the 18th Century to the Modern Movements of the 29th Century.  This article focuses on an overview of the Traditional/Vernacular style in Pennsylvania from 1638 through 1950 PA Architecturel Spanish Colonial Revival Style 1915 – 1940

Identifiable Features

  1. Low-pitched, clay tile roof
  2. Round arches at entryway, porch or windows
  3. Porch arcade with columns
  4. Low-relief carving at doorways, windows and cornices
  5. Stucco exterior walls
  6. Elaborately carved doors
  7. Decorative window grills of wood or iron
  8. Spiral columns
  9. Multi-paned windows
  10. Balconies or terraces
  11. Curvilinear gable

Spanish The Spanish Colonial Revival Style, also known as the Spanish Eclectic style, is a remnant of the traditional Spanish architectural themes seen in Spain’s early American colonial settlements. The traditional elements like clay tile roofs, round arch openings, and carved wooden doors follow the form of the early Spanish missions and are very distinctive.  Other ornate decorative features draw from later periods of Spanish architecture and show the influence of Moorish, Byzantine, Gothic, or Renaissance design. This revival style became popular in the early 20th century after the Panama-California Exposition was held in San Diego in 1915. Exotic-themed architectural revivals (Egyptian, Moorish, Dutch Colonial, Swiss Chalet) were popular throughout the country in the period from 1920 to 1940. Many good examples of the Spanish Colonial Revival style remain in Pennsylvania.

This article is a part of a series from the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission’s excellent field guide on the architectural styles found in Pennsylvania.  In it, they’ve assigned key periods of development – from the Colonial period in the 18th Century to the Modern Movements of the 29th Century.  This article focuses on an overview of the Traditional/Vernacular style in Pennsylvania from 1638 through 1950

PA Architecture Beaux Arts Style 1885 – 1930

Identifiable Features

1.  Flat or low pitched roof
2.  Wall surfaces with decorative garlands, floral patterns or shields
3.  Symmetrical facade
4.  First story rustic stonework
5.  Grand and imposing in size and scale
6.  Roof line balustrade
7.  Pedimented or arched windows
8.  Columns on porches and porticoes
9.  Quoins

Beaux

The Beaux Arts style, named for the premier French school of architecture, the Ecole des Beaux-Arts, was introduced to the United States by American architects like Richard Morris Hunt who attended the prestigious school in the late nineteenth-century.  Hunt designed the Newport, RI mansion of Cornelius Vanderbilt, “The Breakers,” in this style in 1892.  The Beaux Arts style was most often seen in places where turn-of-the- century wealth was concentrated, major urban centers and resort communities.  The popularity of this style was advanced by the World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago in 1893.  With its grandiose treatment of classic architectural forms, the Beaux Arts style was seen as an ideal expression of both corporate or wealth and civic pride.  Buildings of this style are both formal and monumental with abundant and opulent decorative details.  The Beaux Arts style is especially suited for public buildings designed to deliver a strong symbolic message, such as libraries, museums, court houses, train stations, and government offices.   Privately owned Beaux Arts style mansions delivered a message as well, one of personal wealth.  This style was popular in an era of great American palace building marked by eclectic use of historic architectural themes and elements.

The Beaux Arts style uses formal symmetry, Italian Renaissance form, and  classical Greek and Roman decorative elements like columns, pediments and balustrades to create a grand and imposing architectural statement.  Exterior decorative details include may include quoins, balconies, terraces, porches, and porticoes as well as ornamental windows and grand entrances. This style also featured lavish interiors including pilasters, arched openings, elaborate chandeliers, coffered ceilings, or marble fireplaces.   The State Capitol Building in Harrisburg ,completed in 1906  and  designed by Josephf Huston, is a penultimate example of this style.  Envisioned as a “palace of art,”  the Capitol building has opulent detail and classically inspired design.  Described by President Theodore Roosevelt at its 1906 dedication as “the handsomest State Capitol I ever saw,”  the State Capitol is Beaux Arts style architecture at its most extravagant.   Other examples include private mansions and a vast array of public buildings, courthouses, libraries and offices.

 

This article is a part of a series from the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission’s excellent field guide on the architectural styles found in Pennsylvania.  In it, they’ve assigned key periods of development – from the Colonial period in the 18th Century to the Modern Movements of the 29th Century.  This article focuses on an overview of the Traditional/Vernacular style in Pennsylvania from 1638 through 1950

PA Architecture Prairie School Style 1900 – 1920

Identifiable Features

1.  Low pitched hipped roof
2.  Wide overhanging eaves
3.  Emphasis on horizontal lines
4.  Massive square porch columns
5.  Paired double hung windows

Prairie

The Prairie style is a true American creation, developed by an American architectural legend, Frank Lloyd Wright. Wright was part of an impressive group of talented architects known as the Prairie School working in Chicago at the turn of the 20th century.   As a student of Louis Sullivan, Wright was part of a creative force that was changing the world of architectural design.  The time period itself was one of great change and growth as was reflected in the emerging new building styles.   Wright was especially interested in the design of houses, rather than public buildings, and he became the master of the Prairie style, a new domestic architectural form designed to complement the terrain and temperament of the mid-western prairies.  In describing the style Wright said, “The prairie has a beauty of its own and we should recognize and accentuate this natural beauty, its quiet level.  Hence gently sloping roofs, low proportions, quiet sky lines, suppressed heavy-set chimneys and sheltering overhangs, low terraces and out-reaching walls sequestering private gardens.”  Many other notable architects in Chicago and the Midwest generally designed well-executed Prairie style houses, mostly in that region.  The shape and form of the Prairie style house was distinctly different than previous domestic architecture.  Wright wanted to create organic homes with strong horizontal emphasis that did not resemble the traditional,  revival style houses popular in the past.  Wight’s interest in organic architecture, designed in concert with the natural environment continued to develop far beyond the Prairie style and period.  Wright’s masterpiece Fallingwater, was built in 1936 in Fayette County, Pennsylvania and reflects the evolution of Wright’s work and the Modern Movement in architecture.  Pure examples of the Prairie style are scare in our state, but it is represented in more vernacular forms which were made popular by pattern books.

The main vernacular form of the Prairie style seen most often in Pennsylvania and throughout the country  is also known as the “American Foursquare” or “American Basic.”  American Foursquare houses are generally two stories in height, square in shape, and have low-pitched, hipped roofs  with broad overhangs and symmetrical façades with broad front porches with square columns.   Their connection to the Prairie style is seen in the horizontal emphasis created by the roofline of the dominant front porch and the overhanging eaves of the roof itself. These vernacular buildings may also incorporate details from other styles, like Spanish Revival tiled roofs, or Italianate cornice brackets which make their association with the Prairie style more difficult to identify.  As with all vernacular building forms, designation as examples of a specific style may not be appropriate.   Like the Bungalow style houses popular in the same period, American Foursquare houses could be ordered in prefabricated kits through mail-order catalogs.  Sears Mail Order houses are well known, but other companies provided this service as well.  This American Foursqure building form, like the bungalow, was a popular and affordable housing choice in the growing suburbs at the beginning of the twentieth century.

 

This article is a part of a series from the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission’s excellent field guide on the architectural styles found in Pennsylvania.  In it, they’ve assigned key periods of development – from the Colonial period in the 18th Century to the Modern Movements of the 29th Century.  This article focuses on an overview of the Traditional/Vernacular style in Pennsylvania from 1638 through 1950

PA Architecture Bungalow/Craftsman Style 1900 – 1930

Identifiable Features

  1. One or two stories in height
  2. Overhanging eaves with exposed rafters or braces
  3. Front facing gables
  4. Multi pane windows
  5. Low pitched gable or hipped roof
  6. Full or partial front porch with study columns
  7. Prominent gabled or shed roofed dormers
Bungalow

The Bungalow or Craftsman style developed in California at the turn of the 20th century and was inspired by the English Arts and Crafts movement which brought a renewed interest in hand crafted materials and harmony with the natural environment. The original form of the Bungalow came from one story buildings surrounded by verandahs built in India in the 19th century to serve as rest houses for travelers known as “dak bungalows.”  This Eastern influence can be seen in the development of the form, setting and crafted wooden details of the Bungalow style. The Bungalow style emphasizes low, horizontal lines and a design that becomes a part of its natural setting. The hallmarks of the style, wide projecting eaves and overhanging gables with exposed rafters, and open porches with heavy square porch columns often atop stone bases, give these buildings a sense of solid construction. Architect brothers Charles Sumner Greene and Henry Mather Greene are credited as the most influential early practitioners of this style.  They designed Craftsman-type Bungalows as early as 1903 in Pasadena, California.  Their beautifully detailed early designs were well received and were promulgated throughout the country through popular magazines like House Beautiful, Good Housekeeping, and  Ladies Home Journal.  Pattern books with a wide variety of Bungalow designs and complete mail order house kits soon followed, allowing the Bungalow style to spread quickly across the country.  While examples of the Bungalow style can be found throughout the United States, the style is often associated with California, since it originated there, was well suited to the warm climate and became extremely popular there in the early 20th century. With appealing, small scale house plans readily available, the Bungalow or Craftsman house was an ideal answer to the need for affordable houses for the growing middle class and developing suburbs in the first half of the 20th century.

Bungalows are square or rectangular in floor plan, usually one or one and one half stories in height with low-pitched overhanging roofs, and often include large front porches with heavy porch columns. The columns may be tapered, square, paired, or set upon stone or brick piers.  Bungalows usually have a front facing gable on a front porch, a projecting dormer or at the main roof line. The overhanging eaves usually have exposed roof rafters or decorative braces and stickwork.  Bungalows are often of clapboard or wood shingle, but may also be of  stone, brick, concrete block  or stucco. Less commonly, bungalows of log construction were built in a subtype sometimes described as Adirondack Lodge Bungalows.  Another hallmark of the Bungalow style is an open floor plan of interconnecting rooms, with the front door often opening directly into the living space.

Bungalow style houses can be found throughout the state, in a variety of both high style and vernacular forms. Whole neighborhoods of bungalows developed in the period between 1900 and 1930.

 

 

This article is a part of a series from the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission’s excellent field guide on the architectural styles found in Pennsylvania.  In it, they’ve assigned key periods of development – from the Colonial period in the 18th Century to the Modern Movements of the 29th Century.  This article focuses on an overview of the Traditional/Vernacular style in Pennsylvania from 1638 through 1950

PA Architecture Early Revival Style: Roman Classical Revival 1790 – 1830, Greek Revival 1820- 1860

Identifiable Features

Early Classical Revival Style
1.  Full height entry porch (portico) with pediment and columns
2.  Lunette window in portico pediment
3.  Elliptical fanlight over paneled front door
4.  Symmetrically aligned windows and door (5 bay front facade most common)
5.  Side gabled or low pitched hipped roof
6.  Large windows and doors

Greek Revival Style
1.  Front gabled roof
2.  Front porch  with columns
3.  Front facade corner pilasters
4.  Broad cornice
5.  Attic or frieze level windows

The Early Classical Revival style developed at the end of the 18th century and reflected a desire to take architectural inspiration directly from the ancient buildings of Rome and Greece.  While earlier styles (the Georgian and Federal styles) were also inspired by these classical forms, they relied more on architectural details and did not attempt to recreate the look of those ancient buildings.  The Roman Classical Revival style (sometimes called Roman Classicism) and later the Greek Revival style emulated the form of classical Roman and Greek temples.  The Roman Classical Revival style was promoted and popularized by Thomas Jefferson, who found the impressively monumental architecture of ancient Rome a suitable model for the newly formed nation.   This style was thus a political symbol as well, likening the young United States to the once powerful and influential Roman Republic.  Jefferson designed his own home Monticello, the campus of the University of Virginia, and the Capitol of Virginia in this style, using ancient Roman temples as his guide.  The Roman Classical Revival style was rarely found north of Pennsylvania, with most examples occurring in southern states. The Bank of Pennsylvania, built in 1800 in Philadelphia, was an early important example of this style. early_classical_revival_greek_revivial_style
The emphasis turned from Rome to Greece as the Greek Revival style developed around 1820.  American interest in the culture of ancient Greece grew from sympathy for the Greek War of Independence (1821-1830) and emerging archaeological finds showing Greece as the earliest democracy. Also, Roman inspired architecture was associated with England, and after the War of 1812, there was a strong desire to shake off English influence and define a new national style.  The Greek Revival style has much in common with the Roman Classical Revival style in its reliance on the temple form, front pediment, and classical order columns.   There is considerable variation in the public and private buildings designed in this style.  Some buildings appear to be Greek temple replicas and others simply use the temple shape and form with distinctive details.  There are many more surviving examples of the Greek Revival style in Pennsylvania than the Roman Classical Revival style, because the later Greek Revival style was far more popular and wide spread.

A typical Roman Classical Revival style building in Pennsylvania would have a front facade dominated by a full height columned portico topped by a gabled pediment.  An elliptical shaped lunette window might be present at the center of the pediment, with a similarly shaped fanlight over the paneled front door.   A building of this style would also have symmetrical placement of windows and doors, usually in a five bay front façade pattern. Cornices are narrow, often with a narrow band of dentils or modillions.

A typical Greek Revival style house in our state has a front facing gable, sometimes with a return, a front entry with a flat entablature and pilasters, or perhaps a repeating pediment over the front door.  Most Greek Revival style buildings have broad cornices, some featuring small windows at the frieze or attic level. Some Greek Revival style buildings have true temple form with massive, bold columns across the entire front façade.   The columns may be rounded and topped with classical order capitals, or they may be square paneled posts.  This temple form is more common on high style mansions or public buildings like banks, schools or government offices.  Greek Revival style buildings can take several forms (even appearing occasionally as townhouses with strong columned front entries), but are most easily identifiable by the presence of a columned entry, a front facing gable or pediment, pilasters at the front façade corners, or a wide cornice with small windows.