In the latter eighteenth century, American architects rediscovered the simple and classic Colonial style found in the earliest architecture of New England, and brought it to the middle and southern colonies of the United States. Written in 1916, Volume II, Issue I of the White Pine Series of Architectural Monographs explains how this revival came about, and shows off examples throughout Virginia, Maryland, New Jersey and other modern-day states.
A personal account of travels to these homes by architectural historian Frank E. Wallis, this monograph is an ode to what Wallis deems the true American typology of architecture. The buildings in which many of our nation’s most important historical events have occurred, including the signing of the Declaration of Independence, was Colonial.
Fresh from a trip to Europe, Wallis drew comparisons between the venerated architecture of the Old World and the unpretentious Colonial style, nothing that “architecture does catch some of the characteristics of those people who create it; the manners and customs of the people, who must necessarily express themselves in brick, wood, and stone and color, must be and are reflected in the buildings.”
Virginia gets special attention in this historical record. “The streets in the little villages of the South are lined with these charming and restful homes, and you will also find in the type which we will call the outhouses of the great mansions, the same care in design and the same restraint in composition and ornament which are illustrated in the charming Williamsburg, Falmouth, and Fredericksburg examples: all of them supreme in their place, and all of them creating a restful atmosphere such as you may find between the covers of ‘Cranford,” writes Wallis.