Peak Popularity ~ 1740 - 1780

  Georgian describes a long era in which a number of kings named George ruled England.  King George III was in charge at the time America gained it's independence.  So, technically speaking, a true Georgian house must have been built prior to 1776.  (although Pennsylvanians continued to build them into the early 1860's) Most of the American houses of this period usually followed drawings of homes already in existence in England. The prevalent style that emerged during the reign of the Georges was one which grew from mainly classical influences. 

Defining Features

  • Wide boards used as siding - This was meant to look like the stone originals in England.
  • Arched window over a doorway or a separate window with an arch - Both known as Palladian after Italian Architect Andrea Palladio (1508 - 80).  There are Palladian windows in many buildings of this period.  Even Independence Hall.
  • Projections under the eaves called Modillions - Taken from Greek temple architecture.  Originally, Greek temples were built out of wood, and the wooden rafters which supported the roof projected beyond the walls.  In time, the modillions became a decorative echo of the original rafter ends.
  • Many smaller panes of windows - This is due to the fact that glass was difficult to manufacture in large panes until after the 1860's
  • Symmetrical - chimneys on both sides of house
  • Four over four floor plan -  Two rooms deep by two rooms wide



Confusing Fact: 

Georgian styled houses and buildings used three different rooflines that really change the look of the house.  The most prevalent style associated with these homes is the Hip roofline.

Hip Roofline: One formed by four walls sloped in different directions with the two longer sides forming a ridge at the top.

Gambrel Roofline: One having two slopes on two sides with a steeper lower slope than the upper, flatter sections.

Gable Roofline: One with a triangle, with the ridge forming an angle at the top and each eave forming an angle at the bottom.



Mount Vernon - Note Hip roofline


Typical Georgian style house - Painting by Harry Devlin


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