Queen Anne Variations

The Queen Anne style was characterized by amazing variety of form and detail, and Oakwood is a veritable museum of these.

323 East Lane Street. Photo: Jim Lamb

A popular roof form was the “gable on hip,” with a small gable appearing above the front hip, as in 323 E. Lane St. and 500 Polk St.

Although the semi-octagonal “cutaway” was the most popular type of bay window, there were other types: 327 E. Jones St. has a two-story bay window. 401 N. Person St. has a curved “bow window” and a rectangular bay window set diagonally on a corner.

In addition to octagonal towers, there were also round towers, as in 105 S. Bloodworth St., and square, as in 405 Polk St.

There were often porch projections with interesting roof shapes, such as semi-octagonal as in 517 N. East St. or round, as in 401 E. Jones St. . The roof on this porch was of a type often called a “witch’s hat.” The porch on 302 N. Bloodworth has both a rounded corner and a semi-octagonal projection.

525 East Jones Street

525 E. Jones and 414 N. Bloodworth have second-story balconies, of a type often called “consumption porch.” Sleeping in the open air was considered healthy for people with consumption (the old name for tuberculosis).

Although scalloped siding was the most popular variation in siding, the Queen Anne style also featured many others: 304 N. Bloodworth has German siding on most of the house, and wooden shingles in a staggered pattern in the gables. The gable on 312 Oakwood Ave. has wooden shingles in an unusual shape. 116 N. Person St. has half-timbering of English Renaissance inspiration.

Roofs were usually shingled in slate, often with interesting patterns such as the alternating bands of rectangular and scalloped slates on 325 Polk St. and 515 N. Bloodworth St.

Although woodwork turned on a lathe was most characteristic of the Queen Anne style, there was much other interesting woodwork: Particularly popular in Oakwood was the Chinese-inspired fretwork balustrade; as on 508 Oakwood Ave. and 522 N. Person St. The balustrade on 401 N. Person St. has both turned and carved elements. Carved sunbursts can be seen on 414 N. Bloodworth St. and 325 Polk St. . The latter house also has a sawnwork ornament in the gable. And most turned porch posts were adorned with sawnwork brackets.

Stained glass was a popular feature of Queen Anne houses. 114 N. Bloodworth St. and 311 N. East St. have oval stained-glass windows. 401 E Jones has round “rose windows,” also called “wheel windows” because the mullions radiate like wheel spokes. 401 N. Person St. has a keyhole-shaped stained-glass window. Windows on 319 Polk St. and 414 N. Bloodworth are framed with small colored panes.

A number of houses in Oakwood were built in traditional North Carolina vernacular forms, but with Queen Anne details. 209 Linden Ave. is a traditional “triple A” house, but with turned columns and a spindlework frieze, and scalloped siding in the gable. 515 N. Bloodworth St. is a traditional “gable-front-and-wing” house, but with turned woodwork on the porch and a two-story cutaway bay window.

While we think of Queen Anne architecture as antique and charming, in its day it was considered bold and experimental. It was certainly far more adventurous than earlier styles, as its great variety in Oakwood demonstrates.

NEXT: Second Empire