One of the most difficult things for an average person to do when looking at early residential or public buildings is to classify what period they were built, especially the colonial houses that first dotted the landscape. What has made it even more difficult is those architectural styles overlapped throughout the years. Early homes do share similar sizes, shapes, and ornamentation. When North America was colonized, settlers brought with them building-traditions from their home country. The region where they settled also influenced the early architectural styles: French Colonial, Dutch Colonial, Spanish Colonial, German Colonial, and others.

Colonial Sense will bring you articles from the Colonial period up to the Greek Revival years of early architecture. Even though we use the term "colonial" loosely, we are referring to the architecture in the Georgian and Greek Revival periods. These periods of style are not only present in residential homes but are viewed in public structures such as churches, colleges, and the nation's most famous buildings.

These periods are broken down into Colonial, Georgian, Federal, and Greek Revival. As you follow these guidelines, remember that the periods do overlap and should never be cast in stone. The history of early architecture gives us an appreciation of the men and women who lived in the buildings, and we are forever influenced in our building traditions of today.

Source: Overview by Bryan Wright; tables adapted from an article by James C. Massey and Shirley Maxwell

Related Links:

Colonial Sense: Houses
Colonial Sense: Towns

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