ABCs of American Architecture (Victorian Period)
Anne period was introduced in England by an architect by the name of Richard Norman Shaw. Some say the movement should have been Queen Elizabeth, some say Neo-Jacobean. Whatever we call it, it was a popular style for English manor houses, and became so widely adapted in America, that whole neighborhoods in our cities and in our county are Queen Anne. It is an exceedingly picturesque Victorian style, expressing exuberance and comfort. The broad expanses of wall exhibit a multitude of finishes. Usually, the first story is brick and the upper stories shingles or horizontal boards. There may be turrets with different types of roofs on a single structure. Gabled roofs are generally used, with cross gables, porch gables and patterned tiles accenting their importance. Chimneys are frequently an important part of the design, with corbelled bricks or a variety of color used for emphasis.
The basic characteristic of the Queen Anne style here in America is variety. Many forms, textures, materials and colors are used in combination. Look for brick, slate, different shapes of shingles. You will find straight-topped windows and arched ones. Stained and leaded glass is common. Bay windows interrupt broad wall expanses and frequently, the verticality of the High Victorian gives way to horizontal lines, the forerunner of a characteristic of twentieth century building.
Once again, we look to our historic district for some outstanding examples of Queen Anne houses, near the Library, the Bretz House, 101, epitomizes the elements of the style, including a conservatory and an outstanding example of stained glass. The 200 block of Washington Street has a number of very large and varied Queen Annes. The Boyd House, at 501, like the judge who built it, is dignified and restrained. Next door is a lovely and graceful terra cotta brick with an outstanding stained glass bay. Again, the 600 block of the street has some lovely examples of the style, which extended into the early part of the twentieth century.
One point needs to be made about the Queen Anne era in Allegany County. It was an era of opulence, perhaps extravagance, of plenty, of joie de vivre. These houses represent the best of the wealth of building materials—brick, stone, slate, cherry, oak and walnut woods, beveled glass in glorious colors. There were craftsmen with finely-honed skills and householders with money to afford them. It is unlikely that we will ever again see a time when so much care will be lavished on the creation of a home, so it is important to learn to cherish those which we still possess.
An outgrowth of the Queen Anne style was the Shingle style, characterized by a surface completely covered with weathered wood shingles. Although this development was particularly indigenous to the New England states, we have a very good example at 604-606 Washington Street, the former home of local architect George Sansbury.
While the majority of the buildings in western Maryland that were built during the nineteenth century have been covered in the previous descriptions, it is interesting to also look at some building fashions that were adopted in other parts of the country, if not here. Washington, D.C., is a treasure trove of the architecture of the latter part of that inventive century.
One movement was called Art Nouveau, Le Style Moderne in France. It was basically an arts and crafts movement, an attempt to combine the fine craftmanship of the past with the
Cumberland Historic Preservation Commission
City of Cumberland
22 x 29 cm.
Helene L. Baldwin, Joy W. Douglas, Gary Bartik and John Eiser
Historic buildings, Maryland, Allegany County; Historic buildings, Maryland, Cumberland.
Cumberland (Md,); 1742-1980