The following examples illustrate the most common architectural styles in Staunton's historic districts. Many of the buildings in the neighborhood actually are simplified, or vernacular, versions of these more ornate styles. Some buildings exhibit elements from several styles. The stylistic features identified in these samples are examples of the kinds of distinctive elements that should be preserved when you rehabilitate your house.
Late 18th/Early 19th Century Vernacular (1790-1820)
Many of the earliest dwellings in Staunton reflect the simple building traditions of the area. Houses were constructed frequently of log and then were clad in wood clapboards. Forms are rectangular with simple gable roofs and tall brick chimneys. Windows are small compared to wall area and have patterns of six-over-six or six-over-nine panes. Entries are usually small porticos with the occasional full-width porch. Most late-eighteenth-century houses in Staunton are vernacular in form. One exception is the Jefferson- inspired neoclassical Stuart House (located on Church Street), executed in brick with a grand portico in 1791 (Pictured: Smith Thompson House, c.1792, 701-703 W. Beverley Street).
Brick became the popular material in the early nineteenth century. Staunton's several examples of the Federal style share common characteristics such as symmetrical facades with central entryways (often under small porticos), tall interior end chimneys, hipped roofs, and simple classical cornices. Fanlights and sidelights often surround six-panel doors (Pictured: 501-503 N. Augusta Street).
Greek Revival (1840-1860)
Although similar to the Federal style in overall appearance, Greek Revival-style houses introduced several new changes such as paired windows, often with decorative surrounds. Roofs are hipped or gable and occasionally have a central gable or pediment in the entry bay. Porticos are usually one story and classically designed with pilasters and columns, although several local examples have monumental two-story porticos gracing their facades (Pictured: Woodrow Wilson Birthplace, N. Coalter Street).
Adapted from picturesque Italian residential examples, the Staunton derivation of this style exhibits shallow hipped roofs, the trademark bracketed cornice, and decorative brickwork, often in the form of segmental arches over openings. Partial-or-full-length from porches dominate facades and usually have bracketed supports and cornices and sawn millwork balusters. This is one of the most common styles found throughout Staunton's historic districts (Pictured: 515 W. Frederick Street).
Folk Victorian (1870-1910)
Another of Staunton's most frequently used dwelling forms, the Folk Victorian was very popular because of its modest costs and simple construction using balloon framing. It had various plans, similar to the Italianate, with a central-hall I-house form, an "L" or "T" shaped plan and a side-passage town-house plan. Wood clapboards (often grooved German siding) sheathe these houses which are covered with metal hipped or gable roofs. Decoration is limited to sawn millwork on porches or occasionally on decorative gables or cornices.
Queen Anne (1880-1900)
These dwellings, commonly known as "Victorian", are characterized by a complex roof, vertical proportions, asymmetrical facades, and a wrap- around porch. More elaborate examples are richly decorated with brackets, balusters, window surrounds, bargeboards, and other sawn millwork and use a variety of surface materials like shingles, wood siding, and brick. Roof turrets, decorative tall brick chimneys, and a variety of gable forms highlight the skylines of the large-scale residences. Smaller examples have a simpler form and vertical proportions (Pictured: "Oakdene", 605 E. Beverley Street).
American Foursquare (1900-1930)
Another common form found in Staunton in both large-scale and smaller, simpler versions is the American Foursquare. It has a trademark hipped roof with a deep overhang, a dominant central dormer, and a full-width front porch, often with classical details. Its name comes from its square shape and four-room plan. Many versions of this house were sold in prefabricated form from companies like Sears, Roebuck and Company.
Another house form that often was sold in prefabricated packages is the bungalow. It is usually one or one-and-one-half stories, often with a large central roof dormer. Front porches frequently are contained within the overall roof form. Materials vary for bungalows and include wood siding, wood shingles, brick, stone, stucco, and combinations of the above. The selection of materials and the decorative details often relate to the stylistic version of the bungalow design. Variations include Craftsman, Tudor, or simple vernacular.
Colonial Revival (1900-1940)
A very popular twentieth-century style found throughout Staunton is the Colonial Revival. Based loosely on Georgian and Federal precedents, this style is constructed usually of brick or wood with gable or hipped roofs. Windows have more horizontal proportions than the original styles. The typical Colonial Revival has a symmetrical facade, a classically inspired small portico, and a center-hall plan. The Dutch Colonial version has a gambrel roof and some simpler examples have a side-passage plan and entry.