Victorian Homes

In the United Kingdom along with its former colonies, the style of home construction known as Victorian generally means any house built during the reign of Queen Victoria (the 1840-1900). In the United States, Victorian house styles include Second Empire, Queen Anne, Stick (and Eastlake Stick), Shingle, Richardsonian Romanesque, and others. Architects and builders of this period applied decoration liberally, combining features borrowed from many different eras with flourishes from their own imaginations. There were brackets, spindles, scrollwork and other machine-made building parts to the design.

These styles were soon copied in the United States with reprints of Victorian pattern books. It included Italian Renaissance villa style, Gothic Revival style, Queen Anne style (with the rounded tall towers and expansive porches), Shingle-style (less formal appearance), and many others but all recognizable of being created during the 1800s. Some Victorian-style homes continued to be built into early 1900, to about 1910.

A few common design elements included terraces with kitchen in the back and gardens in the front and back area. Also triangular end section of a pitched roof. The windows were four or six panes with sliding sash windows. The floors were of terracotta tile and a fireplace in every room. Stained glass in the doors and the tops of windows was a nice feature. A large front porch enclosed along the sides was always included. Another feature, not always done but many times was to have the date the house was constructed placed above the door.

As poplar they were, especially in American from the east to the west coast, by the 1910s, this style had gone out of favor. In fact, anything Victorian style was thought of as ugly, excessive and un-American, calling these homes a tacky excess of the past.

With suffering though the war of 1917-1919 along with the Spanish Flu, people started seeing the once classical Victorian homes as a style had become signified of terror, death, and decay. This attitude even was seen in magazine articles, novels and later movies where a large Victorian house was seen as spooky and creepy. That same attitude of ghostly Victorian homes continued in the 1930s-1970s. Many of these style houses were abandoned and others stripped of the characteristic outside styling elements. By the 1980s many people were trying to preserve these fine homes.

Look back at some vintage family photos and see if there are Victorian-style homes in your family history. Not all had to be large in scale just the same ornate styles.

Photos: Examples of Victorian homes including the ones thought of as dark and haunting places.

Related Blogs:

Misconception of Your Female Victorian Ancestors

Ancestral Hometowns

Victorian Behaviors

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