Grown out of the Italian Renaissance in Europe and ancient Greek and Roman influences, the Georgian architectural style was developed by English architects who “emphasized classicism, order, and symmetry regardless of function” (Historic New England). Georgian architecture spread across the Atlantic and was popular in America from about 1700-1830. It is the oldest style of the historical homes remaining in Essex, NY.
Admired for its symmetrical design, classic proportions, and decorative elements, […the] basic Georgian proportion was typically geometrical, with the main block of the building frequently augmented by hyphens and wings. [… However, the] static configuration does not necessarily optimize the actual functioning of a home. The somewhat less symmetrical Federal style that followed was likely in response to this problem. (Wentworth Studio)
Georgian homes were typically constructed of brick, but it was also common to build with wood and finish with clapboard or shingle cladding; sometimes stone and stucco were also used in Georgian architecture (Wentworth Studio).
Georgian Architecture Features
Pattern books imported from England served as inspiration for colonial architects. “Typically, pattern books focused on the design details for windows, doors, fireplaces, and molding elements, which were adopted or modified by the builder,” and these select Georgian elements along with the rigid symmetrical form typified the Georgian style (Wentworth Studio). Georgian homes were all constructed as “variations on a simple English theme: a symmetrical, two-story house with center-entry façade, combined with the two-room-deep center-passage floor plan” (Historic New England).
An austere, solid Georgian house was equipped with massive, central chimneys to heat the home. Georgian roofs were generally designed as hip roofs, sometimes embellished with dormers or balustrades with decorative moldings and trim (Wentworth Studio).
Georgian home entryways were used as a place to embellish and were often fitted with decorations such as pediments, arched tops, ogee caps, and wooden pilasters flanking the entrance (Wentworth Studio). The windows of this type of home were also used to add decorations, and pediments or brick headers often inlaid with designs would be fitted above windows on wooden and stone houses respectively.
Common features include:
- Square, symmetrical shape
- Paneled front door at center
- Decoration over front door
- Flattened columns/pilasters on each side of door
- Five windows across front
- Paired chimneys (one on each end of home)
- Medium pitched (hip or gambrel) roof
- Nine or twelve small window panes in each window sash (Georgian Colonial House Style)
- Paneled front doors, capped with a decorative crown (entablature); often supported by decorative pilasters; and with a rectangular transom above (later high-style examples may have fanlight transoms) (Historic New England)
Buildings Exhibiting Georgian Details in Essex, NY
If you know of any more buildings in Essex have some Georgian architectural features please share your insights in the comments!
“1690s – 1830: Georgian Colonial House Style.” About.com Architecture. N.p., n.d. Web. 05 Mar. 2013.
Hislop, David C., Jr. Essex on Lake Champlain. Charleston, SC: Arcadia Pub., 2009. Print. Images of America.
“Historic Essex.” Historic Essex. Essex Community Heritage Organization. Web. 28 Feb. 2012. <http://www.essexny.org/>.
Historic New England. “Architectural Style Guide.” Historic New England. N.p., n.d. Web. 05 Mar. 2013.
Howe, Jeffery. “Georgian Architecture in America.” Georgian Architecture in America. Boston College, n.d. Web. 01 Mar. 2013.
McNulty, George F., and Margaret Scheinin. Essex; the Architectural Heritage. Burlington, VT: Queen City Printers, 1971. Print.
Wentworth Studio. “Historic Styles / Georgian 1700-1830.” Georgian Style Architecture Facts and History. Wentworth Studio, 2013. Web. 01 Mar. 2013.