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Folk And Vernacular Victorian

Folk Victorian refers to a style of American home that is relatively plain in its construction but embellished with decorative trim. Folk Victorians were built from "plan books," provided by architectural companies and in circulation from the mid 1800s into the early 1900s. The books contained from a half dozen plans up to a hundred or more, with layouts drawn to scale and usually showing front and side elevations, but without the details of modern blueprints.

These home were usually square or L-shaped, and often sported gables and porches. However, they did not have turrets, bay windows, or other complicated construction. What gave these plain homes their Folk Victorian nomenclature was the prefabricated trim, which was machine produced and could (and was) shipped by rail just about anywhere. These machine-made embellishments appeared as brackets under the eves of gabled roofs and as spindle or flat porch railings and trim. As the railroad expanded, it brought Folk Victorian to American small towns.