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A historical and photographic study of significant architecture in Jefferson, Texas
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The American Revolution brought a cultural as well as a political liberation from the direct influence of England. The early cultural leaders of the country, like Washington and Jefferson, held the view that the colonial attitude was dead. Immediately after the American Revolution, the whole country became architecturally free and architecturally classic. This new direction taken by the American leaders was a turn in the direction of the ancient classic world of Greece and Rome. Two factors were responsible for this architectural transition. One was a negative-hatred of England. The other was a positive idealization of the classic world. In Jefferson, Texas, as in other parts of America, the best of the Greek Revival architects were not interested in creating Greek temples, but merely in finding the best answers for the building problems of the growing communities in terms of the styles and tastes then current. Almost all of the commercial buildings built between 1840 and 1860 were an extension of the Classical Revival period out of Louisiana and the Old South. Some specific features of building technique can be found in the simple one and two story residential buildings with a front veranda supported by classic square,. Tuscan, Roman, Greek or doric columns. All of the small, well proportioned, hollow columns, (photograph #8) were used as replacements in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The central doors of most classical Revival houses had transoms and side lights (photograph #4). Windows were large, double hung, and often shuttered (photograph #4). Mouldings were usually based on the Greek mouldings, executed by the carpenters in a very simple manner. Just prior to and following the Civil War the Romanticism style emerged and was often used in church design (photograph #13). This style was an imitation of Gothic or Romanesque, often in brick, wood or stone. In the 1870's Romanticism was adopted to residences. Evolution of Victorian detailing is evident in photograph number 18; steep roofs, decorated bargeboards, ridge finials, strange distortions and complications of the mouldings. Photograph number 18 is a typical example of a well executed Classical Revival entrance Many of these simple classical Revival houses were later "modernized" by the addition of jig-saw decor (photograph #5). Another form of Romanticism was the Italian Villa style (photograph #11), a romantic loose interpretation of features of the Italian Renaissance Villas. The Italian Villas crudely and imaginatively developed by carpenter builders from rather inadequate hand books resulted in the grandest of the mansions of the 1870's.
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Pledger, Roy Crawford (1965). A historical and photographic study of significant architecture in Jefferson, Texas. Master's thesis, Texas A&M University. Available electronically from
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