Colonial (Georgian and Federal) in New York

The Georgian period runs from 1714 to 1830. The style, named for the reigns of the first four King Georges of England, starts with the year of George I’s accession and persists until the death of the last of the Georges – George IV. It’s characterized by simplicity, symmetrical design, classic proportions, restrained decorative elements, and unpretentious elegance. The style was popular in England and, consecutively, it became the most dominant architectural trend in the colonies until the Revolutionary War.

A classic Georgian home is square or rectangular, made of brick, and features rows of symmetrical windows with dimensions determined by simple mathematical ratios.

  • Rigid symmetry determining window and door placement
  • Materials: Brick or stone
  • Hip roofs, sometimes with dormers
  • Window decorative headers
  • Entrance embellishments, such as pediments

The style was often used for designing churches.

The Federal was the predominant architectural style in the US from 1780 to 1830s. Very closely connected (and often used interchangeably) with the Georgian style, it is indeed very similar to it.

The Georgian style developed in England while America was its colony and was named after all the kings named George collectively. After the Revolutionary War, American architecture could not, understandably, be called Georgian. Thus, the Federal-style can proudly claim to be the first American style of architecture and owes its name to the Federal system of governance. Despite independence from England, the style is based on English aesthetics – it’s sober, modest, and restrained.

Typically, the Federal-style house is a simple square or rectangular box, no more than four stories high. Its main distinguishable characteristic is its time period: Federal building is the one built in the US from 1780 to 1830s.

Main characteristics:

  • Timeframe: built from 1780 to 1830s.
  • The facade is flat and relatively plain
  • Materials: most New York Federals are made of brick.
  • Size: the houses are two to four stories high
  • Windows are not grouped but distributed equally and are vertically and horizontally symmetrical
  • Roof is low pitched
  • Entrance is often decorated with elliptical or semicircular fanlight over the front door
St. Paul’s Chapel, 1766
Architect: Thomas McBean or Peter Harrison
Address: 209 Broadway
Style: Georgian

St. Marks Church-In-The-Bowery, 1799
Architects: Ithiel Town, John McComb Jr.
Address: 131 E 10th St
Style: Georgian
Merchant’s House Museum, 1832
Architects: Minard Lafever, Joseph Roberto
Address: 29 E 4th St
Style: Federal
Fraunces Tavern, 1719
Address: 54 Pearl St
Style: Georgian
James Watson house, 1793
Architect: John McComb Jr.
Address: 7 State St
Style: Federal
The Stuyvesant Fish House, 1845
Address: 19 Gramercy Park S
Style: Federal

Grove Court, 1853
Address: 10-12 Grove Street
Style: Federal
William F Hyde home, 1822
Address: 14-16 Grove Street
Style: Federal
Morris-Jumel Mansion, 1765
Address: 65 Jumel Terrace
Style: Georgian
Gracie Mansion, 1799
Location: East End Ave. at 88th St
Style: Federal
Mount Vernon Hotel and Museum, 1799
Address: 421 East 61st Street
Style: Federal
Constructed in 1799 as a carriage house for a large estate and converted into a day hotel in 1826
The Museum of the City of New York, 1930
Architect: Joseph J. Freedlander
Address: 1220-1227 Fifth Avenue from East 103rd to 104th Streets
Style: Neo-Georgian

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s