|A building's decorative features and elements provide clues to a
building's architectural style. Architectural styles reflect the prevailing fashion of the
time, while simultaneously expressing the owner's needs and regional influences. The
following is a list of architectural styles found in Oglethorpe County. These buildings
are used for residential, religious, and governmental purposes and reflect specific
Oglethorpe County is relatively removed from major urban areas and its
architecture is a product of its own time and place. Most vernacular buildings reflect the
owner's background, occupation, and income. Because of limited access to architects,
highly-skilled craftsmen, and building materials, Oglethorpe County's first settlers based
their early building designs on traditional building forms and construction methods.
Constructed by local builders or slave labor, "folk" houses have very little
ornamentation and are easily identified as a house type. The overall character of these
house types reflects their function and the needs of their owner.
African-American House Types - In
the early 19th century, a one-story, front-gable house began to spread throughout the
South. Similar to folk houses found in the West Indies, Haiti, and Africa, this
front-gable house (called the shotgun house) is one room wide, one-story tall, and at
least two rooms deep. The subtypes of shotgun houses are the single shotgun and the double
shotgun. In her work, The Historic Farmstead Architecture of Oglethorpe County, Karen
Hudson claims the most common subtype in the county is the double shotgun.
Georgian House Types - The typical
Georgian house floor plan is two rooms deep by two rooms wide and divided by a central
hallway. Two chimneys on each side can exist on the interior or exterior. A sub-type of
the Georgian house type, the Georgian Cottage, includes a one-and-a-half story elevation
and is often found in rural areas. The T.H. Hawkins House and
the Fielding Dillard House in Arnoldsville are two-story
Georgian house types.
The Georgian cottage and the pyramidal cottage bear a strong resemblance to one
another. Square in plan, the pyramidal cottage consists of one or one-and-a-half story
house with four rooms and no central hallway. The pyramidal cottage type can be
differentiated from the Georgian cottage by the absence of the hallway, pyramidal shaped
roof, and the absence of two-paired chimneys on each of the building's sides. The Chafin House, located on Church Street in Lexington, is an example
of a late 19th century pyramidal cottage.
Pen Type Houses - The term
"pen" refers to the single, eave-oriented dwelling that was a sort of building
block that evolved over time. The single-pen or "cabin" is the simplest of
pen-type houses. The Fielding Dillard Farmstead in
Arnoldsville is a 1850 single-pen building, originally used as a dwelling but later as a
Building additions, such as interior partitions and sidewards additions, allowed
home owners to expand their existing living space. Through these building methods, the
single-pen evolved into the double-pen house. Eventually, the double-pen developed into
its own building form, rather than being an addition to the single-pen. The single-pen's
transformation led to the creation of four double-pen subtypes: "hall and
parlor," "central hall," "double-pen," and "saddlebag."
The two-room, eave-oriented plan, lateral arrangement, timber-frame or light-pine
construction, and one to one-and-a-half-story height are elements found in the double-pen
subtype. The individual characteristics that separate the double-pen house subtypes from
one another is the location of the chimneys, doors, and the presence of a central hallway.
The hall and parlor subtype evolved by dividing the single-pen into two unequal
rooms. The chimney and door are located in the larger room; hence the name "hall and
parlor." The Hattie L. McClain House, located in
Arnoldsville, is an example of an early 20th century hall and parlor building type.
Another subtype was formed by adding a second partition to the hall and parlor
house form, forming an interior hallway between the two rooms. This subtype, called the
central hall, usually has one or, more often, two end chimneys and one or two doors. The
number of chimneys and doors is often dependent upon whether or not the house was an
enlargement of a single-pen or built as a central hall. The M.F.
Burt House, outside Vesta, is an example of a central-hall house.
If the central hallway remains open, as if the house was incomplete, it is called
a "dogtrot." Doors lead from the breezeway into each of the pens and the
chimneys are usually located at the gable ends. Frequently, the open passage of a
"dogtrot" is enclosed, causing the house to be confused with a central hall
type; thus, making it difficult to find a "dogtrot" in its original condition.
"Dogtrot" houses are rare in many counties across Georgia.
Rectangular, single-pen houses were frequently enlarged by adding a single-pen to
the gable end without the chimney, resulting in the double-pen house type. The double-pen
has one and/or two exterior chimneys. A late 19th century double-pen dwelling exists on
the M. F. Burt Farmstead located outside Vesta.
Like the double-pen, most saddlebag houses probably originated from the single-pen
type. As one of the most recognizable house types, the saddlebag consists of a central
chimney flanked by two rooms. Both the double-pen and the saddlebag generally have two
doors that lead into each pen's area. The door's arrangement and location can vary but is
most consistent in the saddlebag. An example of a late 19th century saddlebag can be found
on West Boggs Street in Lexington.
As Oglethorpe County residents became more affluent, they constructed more
elaborate two-story homes. The "I-house" type is found throughout Oglethorpe
County and especially in Lexington. Its floor-plan includes a two-room wide by one-room
deep arrangement, rectangular in form, and having exterior, gabel-end chimneys. The flour
subtypes associated with I-houses include: double pen, hall and parlor, saddlebag, and
central hall. Early I-houses (i.e., c. 1780- 1820) may contain Federal style architectural
details, especially examples found in Lexington. These early I-houses are uncommon in
Georgia; their presence in Lexington has greater importance. The later, more common,
I-houses (i.e., c. 1840s-80s) often lack decorative, architectural details and appear more
as a popular type of folk architecture.
The plantation plain is another two-story building type. It has either a central
hallway or hall and parlor plan. It is easily recognized by its front, two-story block and
a one-story section at the rear. The rear section has a shed roof and functioned as an
enclosed porch, bedrooms, or kitchen. Many plantation-plain types include a front, shed
porch that can resemble the rear section--unifying the house's form. The Daniel-Bryan House in Philomath and The Sims-Brooks
House in the Lexington District are both examples of the plantation-plain house
type. The plantation plain type is also indigenous to Georgia and the southern states.
Colonial Revival - Popular in
Georgia from the 1890s to the mid-twentieth century, the Colonial Revival style stemmed
from a renewed interest in early English and Dutch colonial homes found along the Atlantic
and mid-Atlantic regions. Queen Anne elements are also found in early examples of this
style. Colonial Revival houses are usually symmetrical, although some possess the
asymmetry of the Queen Anne style. The style's identifying features include an entrance
surrounded by pilasters or columns, topped with a crown or pediment. Fanlights and
sidelights are found around the entrance. Like the original Federal homes, cornices are an
important architectural detail. Cornices are often decorated with dentils and modillions.
A hipped or side-gabled roof that includes dormers is common. Windows are rectangular,
double-hung, and with multi-paned sashes--usually 6/6, 9/9, or 6/1. The McWhorter-Epps House on Main Street and the Maxwell-Johnson
House on Meson Street exemplify early examples of the Colonial Revival style in
Oglethorpe County has many Colonial Revival houses that are of the asymmetrical
variation, serving as a transition between the Queen Anne style and the Colonial Revival
style. Although the dominant influence was the federal style, some Colonial Revival
buildings were inspired by Post- medieval English or Dutch Colonial architecture. An
example of the Dutch Colonial style is the Maxwell-Boggs House
in Lexington. The steeply pitched gambrel roof, with side gables is indicative of this
Craftsman - Influenced by the
English Arts and Crafts Movement and architecture of the Orient, the Greene & Greene
Brothers began the Craftsman Movement in the late 1800s and early 1900s. Until the 1930s,
Craftsman was the most popular style throughout the country and in Georgia. In both small
towns and cities, Craftsman residences--often called bungalows--appeared everywhere.
The Craftsman style's elements include: "natural" or "earthy"
colors of construction materials, such as fieldstone, stained shingles, and earth-colored
stucco. Occasionally, bungalows are constructed of brick. These different types of
building materials are often used in varying combinations. Craftsman houses have a strong
horizontal orientation, emphasized by a low-pitched gable or hipped roof with wide,
overhanging, and open eaves with exposed rafters. Gables feature decorative brackets or
braces along the eaves. False beams or half-timbering is commonly added under the gables.
Porches are supported by short, square columns, resting on massive piers or a solid
balustrade. Windows are usually rectangular, and double-hung, with a single-paned, lower
sash window and a multi-paned upper sash. Windows are commonly grouped together. As in
most towns, there are several Craftsman bungalows in Lexington, such as the Roberts House on Boggs Street, the Gillen
House on Main Street, and the Mathews House on Church
Federal - Federal style homes are
more highly developed and refined than the preceding Georgian style. Largely inspired by
the work of English architect, Robert Adam, the Federal style of architecture was popular
in the Georgia Piedmont area from the 1790's to the 1830's. One of the main features of
Federal style buildings is their emphasis on symmetricality. Generally rectilinear in
plan, Federal homes follow strict design principles. Often the "box plan" is
modified with the addition of side wings or attached dependencies. A semi-circular or
elliptical fanlight usually exists over the main entrance, including an elaborate door
surround with sidelights, a decorative crown, or slender columns and pilasters. Southern
variants of the Federal style often have porches, consisting of small, classically
inspired, entrance porticos. Double-hung sash windows with multiple panes, usually 6/6 or
9/9, separated by thin mutins, are aligned vertically and horizontally in symmetrical
rows. The cornice is often embellished with dentils or other decorative moldings. Roofs
were either gabled or low to moderately pitched. Two examples of the Federal style are The
Upson-Howard-Evans House, c. 1814, and The Lumpkin-Maxwell- Montgomery House, c. 1790-1827--both houses are
located in Lexington.
Folk Victorian - Folk Victorian
styled houses are typically folk or vernacular house types with applied Victorian details.
Largely the result of the widespread availability of inexpensive pre-cut Victorian
detailing, Folk Victorian houses represent an attempt by homeowners to modernize the
appearance of older houses and make some stylistic improvements. The Folk Victorian
style's identifying features are: porches with spindle work detailing or flat, jig-sawed
trim. Detailing can also include gingerbread or other similar elements. Cornice line
brackets are common. The Victorian detailing is likely to be found on vernacular house
types, such as I-houses, shotguns, and pyramidal cottages. Folk Victorian houses in
Lexington include the Paul House on Main Street, the Foster House on Dupree Street, and the Crawford
Rental House on Church Street.
Gothic Revival - Inspired by English
Medieval architecture and the influential American Architect, Alexander Jackson Davis,
Gothic Revival style buildings were constructed between 1840-1880. Although Gothic Revival
was not as popular in southern states as it was in the northern states, there are a few
examples of the style in Oglethorpe County. Identifying features of the Gothic Revival
style are the steeply pitched roofs, which is either side-gabled or front- gabled,
earthtoned colors, and pointed and arched windows and doors. Jigsawn vergeboards decorate
the gables and porches are often supported by flattened Gothic arches. In the Gothic
Revival style, verticality is accentuated by both decoration and design. In England, a
revived interest in the liturgy caused many to fervently believe Gothic Revival was the
most appropriate style for ecclesiastical architecture. Although Oglethorpe County
residents may not have read English ecclesiological theory, the Presbyterian
and Baptist churches in Lexington do reflect the influence of the Gothic Revival.
Lexington's Knox-American Legion building (c. 1857) is a
plantation plain house with decorative arched panels and attenuated clover-leaf columns.
These details represent vernacular interpretations of the Gothic Revival style. Throughout
Oglethorpe County, steeply-pitched, cross-gabled dormers can be found that reflect
vernacular interpretations of the Gothic Revival style.
Greek Revival - The Greek Revival
style (1825-1860) affected every strata of Georgian society during its thirty-five year
period. Because elements of the Greek Revival style were easily replicated by local
builders and the bold, relatively uncomplicated, details of the style were affordable,
this style remained immensely popular throughout the South. For those content with their
existing home, Greek Revival elements were often attached or added as decorative and
stylistic elements to building types. The Greek Revival style soon became a symbol for
southern living. Greek Revival buildings are usually rectilinear in form with large, heavy
proportions and an emphasis on symmetry. The most recognizable feature of the Greek
Revival style is its prominent columns and/or pilasters. The columns often span the entire
facade. Many Greek Revival homes have accurately proportioned Greek columns with capitals
and bases. Vernacular interpretations have square columns, which were simple and
inexpensive to construct. Roofs are usually low-pitched hipped, gabled, or flat. Porches
having either less-than-full-width porticos or full-width verandas are supported by
classical columns or square piers. A wide band of molding, often undecorated, emphasizes
the porch and main roof's cornice. This molding is meant to represent a classical
entablature. An elaborate entrance is another dominant feature of this style. The typical
central entrance consists of an elaborate door surround containing a rectangular transom
and sidelights surrounded by pilasters. Doors are either single or paired, featuring one
to eight panels--four being the most common. Double-hung windows, typically with 6/6
sashes, are arranged symmetrically on the facade. In an attempt to imitate marble of
ancient Greek temples, Greek Revival houses were almost always painted white. Many Greek
Revival homes exist throughout Oglethorpe County. Some examples in Lexington are: The Platt- Brooks-Smith House, The Chedell-Broad-Titus House, and the Willingham-Watkins-Fields House.
Other examples of Greek Revival architecture are The Arnold-Armour
House in Philomath, The Bush-Harris House in the Grove
Creek District, and The Birdsong-Hogan House in the Lexington
Italianate - The Italianate style is
based on the informal Italian farmhouses and rural villas of Italy. Similar to the Gothic
Revival, the Italianate style was a response to ideals of classical art and architecture.
Italianate building plans are typically symmetrical in form often in varying shapes. The
roofs are usually hipped or gabled. Details of the Italianate style include tall and
narrow windows, typically 1/1 or 2/2, and frequently found in pairs. The windows' lentils
are arched, curved, or flat, and often topped with elaborate crowns or hoods. Large eave
brackets placed under the cornice and underneath the roof's overhang are another
distinguishing characteristic of this style. Porches, especially in the South, are
relatively restrained and supported by slender columns or square posts with decorative
sawn brackets. Large-pane glazing in the doors and elaborate enframements, similar to
those over the windows, are not uncommon. These buildings have a vertical emphasis. The Oglethorpe County Jail in Lexington reveals strong, formal
Italianate influences, displayed in the hipped roof with the center gable, decorative
cornice, bracketed entrance, and arched, hooded windows. In Lexington, the Bush- Turner House on Church Street and the Arnold-Pace
House on Main Street, possess Italianate porch details. The Edwards-Byrd
House (c. 1859) in the Wolfskin District is associated with the Italianate style.
Queen Anne - The Queen Anne style
was inspired by late medieval Elizabethan and Jacobean architecture and represents the
most popular architectural style during the turn of the century and into the early
twentieth century. The Queen Anne style's primary characteristics are recognized by
an irregular plan and asymmetrical facade-- typically including a steeply pitched roof of
irregular shape and a front, cross gable. This style features a variety of materials,
textures, and details. Walls are the primary decorative element and are rarely left
unornamented. One-story, symmetrical porches are common. Slender turned posts, decorative
sawn brackets, and spindlework are found on the porches and in the gables. Gables are also
often decorated with patterned shingles or elaborate motifs. Queen Anne doors and window
surrounds are often chaste in decorative elements--windows are double-hung with 1/1 sashes
and doors are usually half-glazed with delicate decorative detailing. Examples of the
Queen Anne style found in Lexington are the Howard-Cunningham House
on Main Street and the Gillen Retirement Home and Lallie's Hill on Church Street. A variation of the Queen Anne style
is called "free classic" Queen Anne. Popular around the l890's, this sub-type
uses more classically inspired details, such as classical porch columns, Palladian
windows, and cornices with dentils. The Swan-Mathews House
and the C.R. Crawford House on Church Street in Lexington are
examples of this variation.
Richardsonian Romanesque/Romanesque Revival
- In the mid-1800's, European Romanesque and medieval buildings were used as models
for commercial and public buildings. Henry Hobson Richardson, a talented American
architect, created this style for large, grand, and free-standing buildings--such as
churches, libraries, jails, and courthouses. Richardsonian Romanesque buildings are always
constructed of masonry, usually ashlar or brick. Polychromatic surface treatment is often
employed through the use of different colored and textured stone or brick. Syrian arches,
which spring almost from floor level, are a prominent feature of this style. These arches
typically rest on squat columns, massive piers, or are incorporated into the wall surface.
Column capitals having naturalistic motifs or interlacing patterns are common. Deeply
recessed double-hung windows, typically 1/1, are found in groups of two or more.
Colonettes or decorative columns sometimes surround the arched windows. Towers were
another popular feature used in the Richardsonian Romanesque style and particularly
courthouses. The only example of Richardsonian Romanesque style architecture in the county
is the Oglethorpe County Courthouse located in Lexington.
Built in 1887, the courthouse is a brick and granite building with a central clock tower.
Granite arches, decorative terra cotta, and limestone ornamentation are details
contributing to the building's imposing appearance