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Making a Federal Case Out of Historic Houses of New England

Making a Federal Case Out of Historic Houses of New England

Brendan and made several weekend trips to New England this summer which presented me the opportunity to engage in two of my favorite activities, exploring historic towns and looking at historic architecture.  Walks around Salem and Newburyport, Massachusetts, Kennebunkport, Bath, and Portland Maine yielded an embarrassment of riches in that regard.

From the photos I took, a clear consensus emerged. 

1.     I am a sucker for the classic New England Federal-style Sea Captain or Merchant’s mansion.

2.     Symmetry does it for me.

3.     I can’t resist a good cupola

To follow are some of my favorite homes from the aforementioned towns, grouped by style.  It’s heavy on the federal, needless to say!

Georgian Blue

The  symmetry and scale of this handsome Georgian mansion in Salem anticipates its lighter, more refined federal descendants that sit on the surrounding streets.

The  symmetry and scale of this handsome Georgian mansion in Salem anticipates its lighter, more refined federal descendants that sit on the surrounding streets.

Federal Front and Center

It was not my first stroll along Chestnut Street in Salem, and it won't be my last, as the thoroughfare is lined with one of if not The finest collection of federal homes in America

It was not my first stroll along Chestnut Street in Salem, and it won't be my last, as the thoroughfare is lined with one of if not The finest collection of federal homes in America

In the midst of all the brick, this massive grey clapboard stands out in Salem, especially love the palladian window on the side facade

In the midst of all the brick, this massive grey clapboard stands out in Salem, especially love the palladian window on the side facade

Of course, a broken swan-necked pediment on the side window isn't so bad either....

Of course, a broken swan-necked pediment on the side window isn't so bad either....

Newburyport can more than hold its own against Salem in the federal mansion department, as this brick example can attest

Newburyport can more than hold its own against Salem in the federal mansion department, as this brick example can attest

A typical Newburyport federal

A typical Newburyport federal

A setting high above the Main Street on spacious grounds lends many of the Newburyport mansions an even greater monumentality than those on Salem's narrower urban lots.

A setting high above the Main Street on spacious grounds lends many of the Newburyport mansions an even greater monumentality than those on Salem's narrower urban lots.

Farther north in Wiscasset Maine, the minimal classicism of this federal stands in nice contrast to.....

Farther north in Wiscasset Maine, the minimal classicism of this federal stands in nice contrast to.....

The nearby Nichols Sortwell mansion, which features slightly more embellishment.

The nearby Nichols Sortwell mansion, which features slightly more embellishment.

Romanticism

This unique double house in Wiscasset marries greek revival elements with romantic ornamentation

This unique double house in Wiscasset marries greek revival elements with romantic ornamentation

An Octagon house, Wiscasset

An Octagon house, Wiscasset

Greek Revival is Alive and Well in Bath, Maine

As well as this transitional greek revival/italianate one

As well as this transitional greek revival/italianate one

Italianate

Portland Maine's west end neighborhood contained some of favorite examples of the Italianate style, including this  monumental brick example

Portland Maine's west end neighborhood contained some of favorite examples of the Italianate style, including this  monumental brick example

and this more restrained bow-fronted one, seeming almost more at home in Boston

and this more restrained bow-fronted one, seeming almost more at home in Boston

For sheer exuberance, none can match the Victoria mansion though, open to the public as a house museum!

For sheer exuberance, none can match the Victoria mansion though, open to the public as a house museum!

Victorian/Queen Anne

this Queen Anne Victorian's paint job in Newburyport highlighted its stick-style trim really helps it to stand out - the onion dome doesn't hurt either!

this Queen Anne Victorian's paint job in Newburyport highlighted its stick-style trim really helps it to stand out - the onion dome doesn't hurt either!

Likewise, the right color palette makes all the difference for the Queen Anne beauty in Bath

Likewise, the right color palette makes all the difference for the Queen Anne beauty in Bath

Shingle Style in Kennebunkport

When it comes to shingle style, the winding drives along the point in Kennebunkport offer lost every variation imaginable.

When it comes to shingle style, the winding drives along the point in Kennebunkport offer lost every variation imaginable.

From the the relatively simple

From the the relatively simple

To the simply large

To the simply large

To the tastefully fanciful

To the tastefully fanciful

Colonial Revival Eclecticism

This lavish Colonial revival mansion in Portland Maine combines a stately Georgian revival portico with a red tile roof above, and a Queen anne-style balcony below it!

This lavish Colonial revival mansion in Portland Maine combines a stately Georgian revival portico with a red tile roof above, and a Queen anne-style balcony below it!

The style elements of York Hall in Maine may be more consistent, but no less dynamic.

The style elements of York Hall in Maine may be more consistent, but no less dynamic.

The Myriad Manhattan Residences of the Vanderbilt Cousins Part 3: The Children of Emily Vanderbilt Sloane and Eliza Vanderbilt Webb

The Myriad Manhattan Residences of the Vanderbilt Cousins Part 3: The Children of Emily Vanderbilt Sloane and Eliza Vanderbilt Webb

Myriad Manhattan Residences of the Vanderbilt Cousins Part 2: The Children of William K. Vanderbilt and Florence Vanderbilt Twombly

Myriad Manhattan Residences of the Vanderbilt Cousins Part 2: The Children of William K. Vanderbilt and Florence Vanderbilt Twombly