Greek Revival, Gothic Revival & Stick

Greek Revival, Gothic Revival, and Stick were popular styles of architecture during the Victorian period, but not in Oakwood.

The Greek Revival’s heyday was from 1825 to 1860, before serious development in Oakwood began. Greece had recently won its independence from the Ottoman Empire, and travelers were rediscovering its wonders. The purest Greek Revival buildings were in the form of a Greek temple, but others simply were decorated with Greek columns, pediments and other details. The State Capitol (1840) is an excellent example, although the dome is of Roman rather than Greek inspiration. (The ancient Greeks had not discovered arches or domes.) Mrs. Haywood’s house at 127 E. Edenton St. (1854) is a fine example of Greek detail on a North Carolina central-hall plan house. It has fluted (grooved) Doric columns surmounted by an entablature decorated with triglyphs, similar to the Capitol.

Oakwood’s best example, the Ellen Mordecai house at 318 N. Boundary St. (Gordon & Karma Myers), also features Greek Revival details on a North Carolina central-hall plan house. It has fluted Ionic columns and dentil molding (like a row of teeth) on the porch. This house was built in 1874, when the Greek Revival was already out of fashion.

421 N. Bloodworth St. (Robert & Norma & Norfleet Tomb) has paneled columns and a doorway with sidelights and transom. These were popular Greek Revival features, through their connection with actual Greek architecture is tenuous.

The Gothic Revival, with its distinctive pointed arch, came to America around 1835. Christ Episcopal Church on Wilmington St. is a famous example. Houses were built in this style until around 1870. Raleigh has no remaining Gothic Revival houses; the last one, at 517 S. Person St., was demolished in 1999. The Hoke-Broughton House at 426 N. Person St. has been called Gothic Revival because of the rows of little Gothic windows on the second story. However, the second story was added to this house in the 1920s, long after the Gothic Revival had gone out of fashion for houses and was used only for churches or institutional buildings.

The Stick style was popular from 1860 to 1890, and is the forerunner of the Queen Anne style. It featured interesting woodwork, but with an emphasis on angles, and without the turned woodwork that characterized the Queen Anne style. Raleigh’s best example is the William Thomas House Bed & Breakfast at 530 N. Blount St. Its characteristic features include the large diagonal brackets, the bargeboards in the gables, diagonal siding over some windows, and the horizontal bands painted in a contrasting color. The Stick style was “a celebration of wood frame construction” and was considered very modern, as opposed to the styles that preceded it, all inspired by older European models.

Oakwood has no pure Stick style houses, but 304 E. Jones St. has some elements of the style, especially the large diagonal brackets and the interesting siding types, including diamond shingles on the tower, board-and-batten in the gables, and diagonal siding over some windows. The charming woodwork on 526 Oakwood Ave. (Eve Williamson) is an unusual rustic interpretation of the Stick style.