Architectural Styles


National Style and other early pre-railroad vernacular forms
1850s to early 1870s 

Of the earliest American-era buildings in the area, vernacular National style houses are rare and often hidden from public view. These buildings are modest in size and plain in appearance, so are not always recognized as potentially historically significant as architectural specimens  Some of these mid-nineteenth-century vernacular houses are of board-wall construction. They have simple, steeply gabled roofs and rectangular footprints, and their board-and-batten siding is integral with their structure although they may have been clad with lapboard or channel rustic siding. 

The name National style is representative of the universality of their forms and reflects on their simplicity. National style houses can have added detailing that shows some stylistic influences, such as turned porch posts, Tudor headers, or Gothic Revival eave trim, but most are very plain. 

Early vernacular wood-frame residences—usually balloon frame—also most often took a National-style form; these simple houses also had moderately to steeply pitched, gabled roofs covering simple rectangular floor plans or “L”-shaped plans; however, changes in construction techniques and the availability of locally milled materials allowed somewhat larger footprints and provided a more polished exterior siding material. In addition to a widespread use of channel-rustic siding, the houses had boxed eaves, simple projecting porches, and plain, flat-board trim characteristic of this era. Windows, if they haven’t been replaced, are usually two-over-two or six-over-six double hung wood sash. 

Many of these early buildings have been re-clad with stucco, asbestos shingles, aluminum, or plywood envelopes. The re-clad houses are generally reversible to their earlier character, although recent remodeling trends that include new window inserts reduce the integrity of these rare houses to where they no long can convey their historic character.
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