Created By: Visit Madison, Inc.
ARCHITECTURAL STYLES Federal, Greek Revival, and Italiante are three architectural styles that are prevalent in Madison. Not all elements are found on every building, and some buildings will be a mixture of style elements. Architectural design isn’t always pure!
FEDERAL STYLE Federal Style was the predominant style of architecture between 1780 and 1820. Federal was a term people thought identified with America rather than imperial Britain. It was a new vernacular style for a new country. Besides these features pointed out, a Federal style house also might have had dormers, a balustrade around the roof line and cornices with decorative moldings. It might have also been wood rather than brick.
GREEK REVIVAL Greek revival style was fashionable from roughly 1820 to 1860 and is one of the most prominent found in Madison. It was a style that people saw as a way of identifying with the birthplace of democracy and turning further away from Britain, especially after the War of 1812. As with other styles, not all Greek Revival houses will look exactly alike. Some will have a low-profile, triangular-shaped gable facing the front of the house. Others will be symmetrical and will have large porches with columns across the front.They are all still Greek Revival.
ITALIANATE Italianate was the popular style in the 1850 to 1890 time period. Rather than being a political statement, design had become a question of decoration adding some pizzazz. And because more was being done with machines, it had become easier to add decoration. Along with the features seen below, Italianate houses are tall in appearance (2, 3, or 4 stories). They might have square towers or cupolas as well as balustrade balconies on the porch roof. Also common are side bay windows.