Shingle Style 1874 to 1900's
The "Truly American Style"


Shingle style Carriage House
Cohasset, MA about 1912


Mary Fiske Stoughton House
Cambridge, MA 1882
H.H. Richarson

Interior detail, Paine Estate
Walt ham, MA 1883
H.H. Richardson


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Classic American Shingle Style originated in New England coastal towns and flourished from the 1870's into the 20th century. It evolved from the Queen Ann style, so popular earlier in the century, but ornamentation was reduced on the exterior. Turrets and verandas are more fully integrated into the design and details are used sparingly. The most important feature is the covering of the entire building with rough natural shingles without interruption at the corners, almost as if the shingles are stretched tightly around and over the structure like a girdle. Unity is the guiding principal behind the style. The shingled walls meld many irregular shapes into an almost seamless mass that is varied, unified and free.

" The Shingle Style, like the Stick and the Queen Anne, was a uniquely American adaptation of other traditions. Its roots are threefold: (1) From the Queen Anne it borrowed wide porches, shingled surfaces, and asymmetrical forms. (2) From the Colonial Revival it adapted gambrel roofs, rambling lean-to additions, classical columns, and Palladian windows. (3) From the contemporaneous Richardson Romanesque it borrowed an emphasis on irregular, sculpted shapes. Romanesque arches, and in some examples, stone lower stories.

"The Shingle Style is an unusually free form and variable style. It has remained primarily a high fashion architectural style, rather than becoming widely adapted to mass vernacular housing. Fine examples of the style remain in Cohasset MA, Newport R.I., coastal Maine, Long Island N.Y., and spread throughout the country.

Notable New England architects who made the style famous were H.H. Richardson and the firm of Mead, McKim and White.

Interior emphasis was toward comfortable, convenience. Rooms flow into each other to serve the family and guests in a more casual relationship. Kitchens are closer to the diners. What seems natural today was a sharp departure from the rigid Victorian styles preceding and influenced the low slung lines of the Prairie style captured by Frank Lloyd Wright.




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