Colonial Revival: A Celebration of Colonial Architecture

By: Conrad Neuf , Contributing Writer
In: Old Houses, Old House Musings, House Styles, Green Renovations, In The News, Old House History
1915 Colonial Revival Near Baltimore

1915 Colonial Revival Near Baltimore

I recently blogged on a couple of architectural movements that are popular with old house lovers. The Victorian movement got quite a bit of its influences from other countries, and the various Arts and Crafts styles took homes in a direction that was the opposite of the dramatics of Victorian styling. Arts and Crafts homes were known for function and their simple style. There was an architectural movement that developed about the same time as the Arts and Crafts style, that celebrated our country’s history and the old houses of colonial times.

Colonial Revival: Celebrating Our Past

Colonial Revival became known as an architectural style in the 1890s and lasted into the 1950s. Some claim it was developed due to the manifest destiny attitude that prevailed in our country during the late 1800s and early 1900s. Architects wanted to style new homes to celebrate those of our country’s forefathers, and the public wanted to live in homes that showcased the greatness of our country, rather than borrowing styling from other countries. Whatever the reason, the Colonial Revival style spread across the country just as the Arts and Crafts and Victorian movements had. There are architects that believe it is the most popular architectural style this country has had.

Colonial Revival Restorations

Colonial Revivals are just as popular with old house lovers as Victorians and Arts and Crafts homes. They are also a source of pride for town and cities. Lancaster, Pennsylvania, has a Web site that proudly shows off some of the Colonial Revival buildings in their downtown area, and there are also some on display in Chatham, Virginia. A beautiful Colonial Revival mansion from the 1920s has been restored near California’s Silicon Valley, and Fullerton, California, is proud of their Colonial Revivals. There is a very nice Web site showing the restoration of a Colonial Revival home near Baltimore, Maryland. They have some outstanding photos of the process.

Speaking of Green Restorations

I mentioned some good green restoration articles in my last blog post. All of these old house restoration blogs I have been reading recently reminded me of a great experience I had several years ago. If you enjoy old houses, and you like the look of wood, you should take a tour of a reclaimed lumber mill if you ever get the chance. There are quite a few of them in central and southwestern Virginia where I live; the wood they are able to reclaim from old buildings is just beautiful and makes a great green building material for floors, cabinets, paneling, or any other place you might need wood in an old house restoration. There is a pretty good video tour of a reclaimed lumber mill on Matt Grocoff’s Greenovation.TV Web site, but to really appreciate the character of the wood, it’s worth a visit in person.