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A Guide to Historic Hyde Park House Styles

Reference: A Field guide to American Houses, Virginia & Lee McAlester, 1984

During the early years (1890 to 1915) of the eclectic era, experimental combinations of house styles were common. “[S]tyles as different as the Colonial Revival, Neoclassical, Prairie, Tudor, Mission, and Craftsman were being built simultaneously. Many architects and builders experimented with fanciful combinations of these styles, sometimes adding a touch of Victorian detailing as well.” Hyde Park was no exception and many of the houses do not fit neatly into one of the stylistic categories but, instead, have characteristics of two or more styles. Hyde Park is one of those “early eclectic neighborhoods” that contains whole streets of such marvelously experimental stylistic combinations.

“Most Victorian styles are closely interrelated and draw heavily on Medieval precedents for inspiration. Thus they naturally tend to blend into one another. Steeply pitched roofs and textured wall surfaces are common to most. Stick-style structural members are found on many Queen Anne houses; Richardsonian arches occur on Shingle-style houses, wood-shingled walls may dominate on either Queen Anne or shingle houses, and so on. Thus the separation of the Victorian styles sometimes becomes a matter of degree, . . “

The four principal architectural traditions found in Hyde Park’s pre-1930 houses are Ancient Classical, Renaissance Classical, Medieval and Modern. Each of these traditions has produced several different styles of American houses as they have been interpreted and re-interpreted during different building eras. The eclectic era of house styles was 1880 through 1940. It draws on the full spectrum of architectural tradition. The house styles of the Victorian and Eclectic period found in Hyde Park include Colonial Revival, Neoclassical, Tudor, Queen Anne, Shingle, Italian Renaissance, Prairie and Craftsman.