Neoclassical Revival Variations

The Neoclassical Revival style is also sometimes known as the Georgian Revival or Colonial Revival. This is quite understandable, as during much of the actual Neoclassical period (approximately 1740 to 1820), the King Georges were on the throne in Britain and America was still a colony. During the 1890s, the new Neoclassical Revival houses were often described as “in the Colonial style,” but this is a misnomer. They may have seemed similar to Colonial houses in comparison with Queen Anne houses, but they were generally far more elaborate than Colonial houses; they received more inspiration from the Neoclassical buildings of Europe. Furthermore, there were actually many different styles of architecture in Colonial America – early Medieval-based Colonial, later Neoclassically-based English Colonial, as well as Spanish Colonial, German Colonial, Dutch Colonial and French Colonial. And by 2007 we have seen two later revivals of Colonial American architecture, and in comparison with these, the Neoclassical Revival doesn’t look Colonial at all.

The term Georgian Revival is more properly applied to the post-World War I phase of the style, when houses were built in a closer imitation of English and American Georgian architecture.

117 North Bloodworth Street.  Photo: Jim Lamb

While the fancier Neoclassical Revival houses had Ionic or Corinthian columns, the majority of Oakwood’s Neoclassical Revival houses have the simpler Doric columns. 116 N. Bloodworth St. has fluted Doric columns. It has a gable in the shape of a pediment, with a Palladian window/vent with diamond-shaped windowpanes. Another typical feature is the shallow pediment over the entrance, supported by elegant brackets of a type known as “modillions.”

The porch at 117 N. Bloodworth, is supported by pairs of small Doric columns, known as “colonnettes,” on brick pedestals. The pediment over the entrance is supported by elaborately carved modillions.

406 and 408 Polk St. have square Doric columns, another Neoclassical Revival variation. These houses also have Doric pilasters on the corners.

221 and 225 Linden Avenue are fine simpler examples of the symmetrical late Neoclassical Revival design. They have Doric columns, Palladian window/vents in the dormers, and the tin finials on the roofs that are typical of the Neoclassical Revival. 521 E. Jones St. is another good example. The details are simple and the columns are very heavy.

107 N. East St. has square Doric colonnettes on brick pedestals. This house is in a new form known as the “foursquare,” so-called because it was square on all sides, and had four rooms on each floor. This form became popular in the 1910s and continued into the 1920s. The three Sears catalog houses at 602, 606 and 610 E. Lane St. are also foursquares. The hip roof with a dormer in front is typical of the foursquare form. 602 and 606 have square Doric columns, and 610 has Doric colonnettes on brick pedestals. All three have the typical diamond-shaped windowpanes in the dormers.

NEXT: Neocolonial