Early American Architectural Styles

In honor of Thanksgiving, we  complied a list of Early American Colonial House Styles. Pilgrims did not come from one place but rather multiple backgrounds settled in North America between 1600 and 1800. Men, women and children traveled from various parts of the world, including France, Spain, Latin American and Germany. This mesh of different backgrounds created various cultures  and architectural styles throughout North America. 
We are focusing on the earlier part of  the 1600-1700, as the mid 1700’s rolled in, many additional architectural styles were created. This was due in large part from the blending of different styles, progression in construction methods and new building materials. 
New England Colonial
  • Chimney placed at the center
  • Second story protrudes over first story
  • Saltbox roof shape that slopes down in the rear
  • Diamond-paned windows
Georgian Colonial
  • Symmetrical shape
  • Paneled front door at center
  • Decorative crown over front door
  • Flattened columns on each side of door
  • Five windows across front
  • Medium pitched roof
Spanish Colonial
  • Located in the American South, Southwest, and California
  • Flat roof, or roof with a low pitch
  • Earth, thatch, or clay tile roof covering
  • Thick walls made with rocks, coquina, or adobe brick coated with stucco
  • Small windows
  • Wooden or wrought iron bars across the windows
  • Interior shutters
German Colonial
  • Most often found in New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Maryland
  • Two-feet thick walls made with sandstone
  • Reinforced stone arches above the first floor windows and doors
  • Exposed half-timbering
  • Flared eaves
Cape Cod 
  • Steep pitched roof 
  • 1 or 1½ stories
  • Constructed of wood and sided in wide clapboard or shingles
  • Exterior siding originally left unpainted
  • Large central chimney linked to a fireplace in each room
  • Rectangular shape
  • Center-hall floor plan
French Colonial 
  • Found along Mississippi river valley, mainly in the south
  • wide hipped roof extends over porches
  • living quarters raised above ground level
  • wide porches, called “galleries”
  • no interior hallways
  • french doors 
Dutch Colonial
  • Located in New York State and nearby areas in Delaware, New Jersey, and western Connecticut
  • Stone or brick construction
  • Dutch doors 
  • Matching chimneys on each side, or a massive wishbone-shaped chimney at the front
  • Gambrel roof with flared eaves

We wish you and your family a happy, safe Thanksgiving from all of us at Purcell!

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