New England House Styles

Here is a collection of images and information beginning with the earliest “First Period” Houses of the 17th Century, extending forward as you scroll down the New England House Styles list, to contemporary “Mid-Century Modern” houses. Grouped in three’s, this journey will take you through some of the most significant examples of historic houses in New England, all located on Boston’s North Shore. Hover over a photograph, then either click on the “link icon” for more information, or click on the “magnifying glass icon” for a larger image.

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First Period – John Balch House, Beverly, MA

With the distinction perhaps of being the oldest wood frame structure in North America, our area is fortunate to be the home of the Balch House. Note the steep gable roof lines, small windows ( early glass was relatively expensive) and large central chimney.

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First Period – Parson-Capen House, Topsfield, MA

The Parson-Capen House is another first period treasure. This design has a second and third story overhang. The structure is currently undergoing a partial restoration. Once again; steep roof lines, a massive central chimmney and small windows are typical elements of this period.

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First Period – Whipple House, Ipswich, MA c. 1677

Another fine First Period house was moved to this spot near the Ipswich River by the Ipswich Historical Society from a location in central Massachusetts in order to save it from demolition. It has a plank door, small diamond shaped windows and a wooden roof.

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Early Colonial – Granite Street, Rockport, MA

Set on a small pond, The Garrison, as it is sometimes called, is the 3rd oldest house in Rockport. With a massive central chimney and a fireplace that one can walk into, this is a fine example of the early colonial style. Wide pine floors, solid wood walls, and a second story overhang, this house [...]

2016-01-02T02:55:59+00:00

Early Colonial – Dodge Street, Beverly, MA

With two massive central chimneys, imagine how many fireplaces there must have been in this Early Colonial house. The window frames are a little wider in this period, and are being placed in a more symmetrical pattern. The front door is more ornate with two little windows, and some trim around it. Otherwise the house [...]

2016-01-02T14:47:46+00:00

Early Georgian – Perkins Row, Topsfield, MA

Generally thought of as New England farmhouses, these handsome two and a half story rural dwellings were built in the early 1700's in great numbers. The detailing over the front door has become more decorative during this time, and the positioning of the windows and doors more symmetrical. The chimney, while still central to the [...]

2016-01-08T14:35:54+00:00

Early Georgian – East Street, Ipswich, MA

Clearly a house that has been lovingly maintained this c.1725 example of the Early Georgian period is an interestingly shaped dwelling. Called a "half house", the builder laid out the windows and the door on the right side with the idea that at a later date he would add another two windows on the left [...]

2016-01-08T16:38:07+00:00

Early Georgian – Washington Street, Marblehead, MA

Handsome beyond measure; this c.1744 Early Georgian treasure has prominence and balance. Not only are there dental moldings at the gambrel roof line, but also delicately placed within the pediment that is over the exceptional front door. With matching tapered pilasters on top of ionic bases at the side, and a recessed & paneled landing, [...]

2016-03-19T16:31:14+00:00

Middle Georgian – Main Street, Wenham, MA

Built as a tavern which would be roughly half the distance between Boston and Newburyport, this is one of the few brick dwellings built in Wenham during the Georgian Period. Building such a large building, and with four chimneys, was quite an undertaking. Notice the evenly spaced windows and the fancy fan light window over [...]

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Middle Georgian House – North Andover, MA

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2016-01-08T14:27:56+00:00

Middle Georgian – Essex Street, Salem, MA

This, the Ropes Mansion, is an example of the Middle Georgian period with so much in beautiful balance. The placement of the chimneys is toward the rear to emphasize them less. The evenly- spaced, identically sized windows and trim; the handsome pediment over the front door; the proportionately sized dental moldings under the gambrel roof, [...]

2016-01-02T15:07:04+00:00

Federal Period – Bay Road, Hamilton, MA

The Federal period spanned the years 1780 through 1820, and was the culmination and refinement of the developing post revolutionary war architectural style; sometimes labeled "late Georgian".The three examples here are successively more intricate in their materials and workmanship. The Palladian window over the front door with the three sections, and the elegant trim was [...]

2016-01-02T15:20:00+00:00

Federal Period – Essex Street, Salem, MA

Salem had the highest elegance in the Federal Period on the North Shore, from the China Trade, which was unmatched in most area seaports. This wonderful example has intricate carving at the top of the Palladian window, on top of the graduated windows and all around the most handsome doorway columns. The second level on [...]

2016-01-02T15:12:36+00:00

Federal Period – Cabot Street, Beverly, MA

Originally the home of a mercantile bank, this beautiful 3 story brick Federal example is now the home of the Beverly Historical Society. The hipped slate roof; the handsome dental moldings underneath the overhang; the intricate brickwork including the raised bands between the stories, and the graduated window sizes are all Federal refinements. Just building [...]

2016-01-02T02:31:13+00:00

Greek Rivival – Summer Street, Salem, MA

This example of the Greek Revival style has the common elements so often found, no matter the size of the structure: the gable end facing the street; the pronounced triangular pediment; the pilasters (flat columns) on either side of the front doorway and the side light windows on either side of the door. Also, less [...]

2016-01-01T15:47:46+00:00

Greek Revival – Bridge Street, Manchester, MA

Drawing very heavily on the features of a Greek temple, this beautiful Greek Revival example has the traditional three front bays; prominent triangular pediment, and finely crafted full-height columns. The front door (to one side) has thin side-light windows and there are pilasters or flat columns at the dwelling's corners.

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Gothic Revival – Essex Street, Beverly, MA

This beautiful example of the Gothic Revival c.1860, has been lovingly cared for by it's owners, and has many characteristics of the period. A steep roof pitch; a trefoil (three part) window over the front door; as well as a beautifully draped and pointed exterior vestibule  and windows on the side which are pointed at [...]

2015-12-31T18:39:36+00:00

Gothic Revival – Linden Street, Wenham, MA

The Gothic Revival is all about architectural elements that are church-like; things you might have seen on an English medieval church. Here there are steeply pitched roofs, gable-ended brackets or cross-gabled with small spires reaching upward and decorative scrollwork under the roofline. The exterior sheathing is flush clapboarding which remind the viewer of a stone [...]

2015-12-31T18:54:49+00:00

Gothic Revival – Bay Road, Hamilton, MA

Tucked down a long driveway, and possibly moved here, and enlarged years ago, is this handsome example of a country Gothic Revival dwelling. It is known as a "Hudson River" Gothic. The telling feature is the rare vertical siding known as "board and batten". Otherwise, the steep roof pitch and a medieval-looking window cap are [...]

2016-01-08T16:03:37+00:00

Italianate – Bartlett Street, Beverly, MA

Not every historic house is in perfect restored condition. This has classic Italianate features: the quoins on the front corners and the decorative front facade both attempt to imitate stone. The beautiful and decorative bracketing under ever roof-type surface; the tall rounded front door & window and even the raised paneling on the door itself [...]

2016-01-02T14:58:04+00:00

Italianate – West Street, Beverly Farms, MA

This handsome house has many of the features for which the Italianate style came to be known: high windows with elaborated crowns, large brackets underneath the overhanging roof cornices and decorative quoins at the front corners of the original building.  Besides the side lights and the decorative front doorway there is also a Second Empire [...]