The historical changes that marked an end to the isolation of Utah Territory in the late 19th century are also reflected in the architecture of this period. The great variety of Victorian styles popular in other parts of the country appeared during the 1880s in and around Salt Lake City, and by the 1890s they also appeared in the rural areas of the state. Most of the styles popular during America’s Victorian age emphasized the conventions of the Picturesque, but two styles – Beaux Arts Classicism and Second Renaissance Revival – relied strongly upon bilateral symmetry.
The Picturesque characteristics of irregularity, intricacy, and variety present in the Gothic Revival and the Italianate styles discussed in the previous chapter were extended and elaborated upon during the latter decades of the 19th century. Domestic architecture best exemplified these characteristics. Late 19th-century houses were asymmetrical, complex compositions, often of disparate elements, their wall surfaces highly textured and usually intricate and their external surfaces extensively decorated. This conscious effort to achieve visual complexity was not usually achieved by the use of one style; instead, highly eclectic residences combined forms and elements from a number of stylistic sources. Indeed, much of this period’s architecture has been classified by some scholars as “Picturesque Eclecticism.”
A variety of different house types, some of which were carried over from earlier periods, contributed to this visual complexity. For instance, the larger houses of the Victorian period sometimes used the same side-passage plan popular in the Classical period.
At least one new form developed during the Victorian period: the “central block with projecting wings.” Roughly square in plan with projecting bays, this type was crowned by either a hipped or a pyramidal roof.
The Queen Anne and Eastlake are the best-known styles of the period, both influenced by 19th-century English architects. Indigenous to the United States are the contemporaneous Stick and Shingle styles; like the Queen Anne and Eastlake, these styles used wood construction and materials, yet Utah examples built of masonry are not uncommon.
The Queen Anne, Eastlake, and Victorian Eclectic were the most common styles in the state. The Victorian Eclectic style allowed builders and architects great freedom in selecting decorative motifs to achieve a high degree of picturesque intricacy and to enhance the irregular massing of their designs.
Church buildings most often used the Victorian Gothic—particularly the churches built for the LDS Church and the Presbyterian Church (whose buildings stand as artifacts of 19th-century Presbyterian missionary efforts among the Mormons.
Civic, institutional, and commercial designs often used the Victorian Romanesque Revival style, in part because of the extensive use of masonry construction in Utah. Masonry construction also contributed to the popularity of the Richardsonian Romanesque style, with its Utah examples executed in red sandstone, Kyune sandstone, granite, or Sanpete oolitic limestone.
Much less commonly, architects designed in the Chateauesque style, which combines elements of French medieval architecture with those of the Italian Renaissance. As its name implies, architects mainly used this style in designing large residences for well-to-do clients.
When students of the famous French school of architecture, the Ecole des Beaux Arts, introduced Beaux Arts Classicism to the United States, it became very popular for institutional and commercial buildings. However, in Utah many of these designs lacked the sophisticated architecture principles adopted by the Beaux Arts-trained architect.
Near the turn of the 20th century, several Ecole-trained architects popularized the Second Renaissance Revival style. Like Beaux Arts Classicism it was commonly used in institutional architecture: libraries, college and university buildings, and private mens’ clubs.
Beaux Arts Classicism, the Second Renaissance Revival and the Neoclassical all involve, to a varying degree, the conventions and vocabulary of Classical architecture. The most original, monumental, and innovative use of Classical motifs appears in Beaux Arts Classicism, while the Second Renaissance Revival interprets the Classical by examining and reusing motifs generated during the Italian Renaissance by such architects as Palladio. In the Neoclassical, one finds the most conservative use of Classical motifs, in particular the use of the orders.
Across America, these styles reflected a new level of sophistication for both architect and client. Numerous magazines and stylebooks aided the promulgation of these styles. The availability of mass-produced millwork and decorative ornamentation affected stylistic developments on both the national and local levels. The former isolation of rural areas was no longer an obstacle to building well, due to the widespread dissemination of information and building materials.
Significant changes in architects’ education affected the sophistication and quality of design. Architect-builders could now study design on a formal basis through correspondence courses without leaving their profession. Opportunities for young persons who aspired to a career in architecture were developed in the drafting rooms of architectural firms. Those seeking a formal education in architecture could do so, based upon the Ecole des Beaux Arts curriculum, in one of twelve schools of architecture established at American universities by 1900.
Utah’s familiarity with this proliferation of styles proves the impact of these innovations, which coincided with periods of great economic growth and substantial increase in the state’s population.
Queen Anne 1885-1905
History credits the 19th-century English architect Richard Norman Shaw with creating this widespread style. The British government built two Queen Anne buildings at the 1876 American Centennial Exhibition in Philadelphia. One of the most picturesque of the late-19th-century styles, in its day it became America’s favorite style.
In Utah its popularity coincided with the building boom of the late 1880s and 1890s. Residential examples have asymmetrical facades, irregular plans, and varied silhouettes resulting from dormers, gables, and towers. The building materials and decoration were equally varied. Like the Gothic, Italianate and Second Empire styles, stylebooks popularized the design for smaller houses and cottages of one and one and a half stories.
–variety of building materials, textures, and colors
–carved, lathe-turned, and scroll-cut woodwork
–tall chimneys, often with decorative brick patterning
–round, square, or polygonal turrets
–leaded and stained-glass windows
–decorative shingle patterns on wall surfaces
This exuberant, decorative style is named for Charles Locke Eastlake, an English architect. Eastlake’s book, Hints on Household Taste, found a ready audience in America, and its illustrations helped generate a style bearing, to the author’s dismay, his name.
The style relies primarily upon large amounts of wooden decoration, much of it flat jig-sawn patterns combined with three-dimensional, lath-turned or carved woodwork.
Eastlake houses lack the variety of building materials–such as stone, brick, and shingle–that characterized the Queen Anne style. Since wood frame construction was not as popular as masonry in Utah, only a small number of Eastlake houses were built in the state. However, porches and decorative gable cornices in this style are often found in combination with Queen Anne, Victorian Eclectic and other styles.
–spindles in porch friezes, corner brackets and balusters
–ornate lathe-turned columns, balustrades and balusters
–jig-sawn decorative patterns in porch friezes and gable cornices
Stick Style 1885-1895
The Stick style, named by architectural historian Vincent J. Scully, is considered a purely American style. The style apparently originated in mid 19th-century style books that discuss a certain
“truthfulness” in wood construction. The logical extension of this romantic ideal was to express the structure of the building and its wood material through the application of vertical, horizontal, and even diagonal boards on the exterior surface. Suggestive of the building’s structural frame, these boards are also strongly decorative. Very few examples of this style were ever constructed in Utah.
–sill outlined at top of foundation
–wood corner posts
–horizontal, overlapped siding
–studs visible on exterior
–corner braces with pendant
Shingle Style 1885-1895
Like the Stick style, the Shingle style was named by Vincent J. Scully and is purely American in its development. Popular on the East Coast, it was supposedly influenced by the colonial architecture of New England. In fact, the style may have developed in reaction to the extreme decorative qualities of the Queen Anne.
Shingle-style residences are large, two-or three-story dwellings, the exteriors of which are almost completely covered with wooden shingles. Thus, they are a reaction to the exposed structural members of the Stick style. Utah examples often have wood construction above a stone or brick masonry base or first floor.
–large asymmetrical massing
–gable roof with long slopes
–tower with conical or bellcast roof
–tower roof topped with hip knob and/or finial
–shingle siding, often in undulating patterns
–various shingle patterns
Victorian Gothic 1880-1910
This style includes both residential examples and church buildings. Victorian Gothic churches in Utah were either of masonry or wood frame, highlighted by pointed arched openings and stained-glass windows with wooden tracery and some form of a pointed tower. The polychromy typical of the Victorian Gothic elsewhere is not often seen in Utah.
Victorian Gothic cottages were also built in Utah, generally of brick masonry. The more elaborate have pointed arched openings and steeply pitched gables; others acknowledged the Gothic with a simple pointed gable in the façade.
–pointed arched windows
–stained-glass windows with wooden tracery
–brick belt course
–quatrefoil (clover-like) windows
Victorian Romanesque Revival 1880-1900
The Victorian Romanesque Revival style was used extensively for civic, commercial, and ecclesiastical designs, and to a lesser extent for residences. In this style, semicircular door and window openings highlight brick and stone masonry walls. This superficial reference to the architecture of the medieval period is often enhanced by the use of rock-faced stone arches for entries, window headers, and sills–in otherwise smooth-surfaced masonry walls.
–buildings of substantial weight and mass
–gable ends terminating in parapets
–masonry walls highlighted by rock-faced arches, lintels, and sills
–semicircular arches used in windows, doors, and porches
–tower roof topped with a hip know and or/finial
Richardsonian Romanesque 1880-1900
Made popular by American architect Henry Hobson Richardson in the last quarter of the 19th century, the Richardsonian Romanesque found its way into to civic, commercial, residential, and ecclesiastical designs nationwide. Most frequently, churches and county courthouses used the style. The Salt Lake City & County Building is the state’s finest example of the style.
Richardsonian Romanesque buildings, like those of the Romanesque Revival, use a semicircular arch motif for windows, entry porches, and doors. However, this style finds expression in all-stone masonry buildings with rock-faced stonework.
–buildings of substantial weight and mass
–rock-faced, coursed stone masonry
–towers topped with hip knobs and/or finials
–segmental arched entries
–rock-faced stone piers with foliated capitals
–columns with smooth shafts and ornamentally foliated capitals
–semicircular arches used in windows, doors, and porches
Victorian Eclectic 1885-1910
As the name implies, this late 19th-century expression is not a distinct style. Instead, the term identifies buildings that show a combination of elements from such popular styles as the Italianate, Queen Anne, Neoclassical, Romanesque Revival, Colonial Revival, and the less common Moorish.
–irregular plan, asymmetrical façade and roof silhouette
–bay windows, round and polygonal turrets, towers, decorative porches, and dormers
–conical, bellcast, and onion-dome roofs atop towers
–Moorish or horseshoe arches
–segmental or arched window and/or door openings
–projecting door and window lintels
–leaded and stained-glass transom windows
–patterned wooden shingles in vertical surfaces
–patterned belt courses
The reign of the French king Francis 1 (1515-47) inspired the Chateauesque style, which encompasses elements of the Gothic tradition and the Italian Renaissance. Architect Richard Morris Hunt popularized the style in the United States through his designs for the Vanderbilt family in New York and North Carolina.
This ornate, monumental style demanded stone construction or stone in combination with brick masonry. Two examples of the style exist in Utah, both residences designed for prominent and wealthy families: the Thomas Kearns mansion in Salt Lake City and the David Eccles mansion in Logan.
–substantial stone and/or brick masonry forms
–round corner turrets with conical roofs, topped with hip knob and/or finial
–pedimented stone parapets and/or ornately gabled dormer windows
–balustraded terraces or balconies on upper floors
–stone detailing with classical motifs
–windows with stone mullions
–tall ornamented chimneys
Beaux Arts Classicism
One of the most famous of all schools of architecture, the Ecole des Beaux Arts in Paris, lent its name to this style. Numerous American architects either attended this institution themselves or learned the style from graduates of the Ecole teaching in American schools of architecture. The style achieved fame by way of exhibitions, most notable the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago, where monumental designs eclectically incorporated the classical vocabulary of Greek, Roman, and Renaissance architecture.
Beaux Arts Classicism was favored for large public buildings such as libraries, schools, state capitols, courthouses, and post offices, and for commercial structures like hotels, railroad depots, banks, and office buildings. Many American examples—including most of those in Utah—do not actually use Beaux Arts planning principles either in their floor plans or in the building’s relationship to its site and surrounding buildings. They do maintain a diversity of Beaux Arts qualities: large volumes of space (e.g. railroad depot waiting rooms), exuberant decorative elements, and interrelated façade components.
One of the earliest examples of this style in the state was architect Richard K. A. Kletting’s design for the original Salt Palace, which was built in 1899.
–use of Classical orders in combination with exuberant decorative elements
–pavilions projecting from the main structure, with Classical ornamentation sometimes topped by a pediment
–balustraded parapet broken by projecting pediments, wall dormers or sculpture
–raised basement level, often rusticated y emphasizing masonry joints, exposing mortar, and using rough-hewn stone
–round arch and/or segmental arch openings
Second Renaissance Revival 1890-1910
Like the earlier Renaissance Revival style popular in the East between 1840-60 (no examples survive in Utah), the Second Renaissance Revival was inspired by various Italian buildings. In contrast to the earlier style, the Second Renaissance Revival relied upon a larger scale and attempted to impart a greater simplicity and order, partially through the use of two-dimensional decoration.
It gained popularity at the end of the 19th century through the Boston Public Library, designed by well-known East Coast architects McKim, Mead, and White; and through R. M. Hunt’s plan Breakers, Cornelius Vanderbilt’s summer house in Newport, Rhode Island. Private clubs, particularly men’s clubs, at the turn of the century often chose this style—for instance, Salt Lake City’s Alta Club and Commercial Club.
Other Utah examples include classroom buildings at the University of Utah and at Southern Utah University in Cedar City.
–arcades at ground level, often with a loggia
–rusticated ground floor and stone quoins
–accentuated belt courses
–wide, overhanging cornices
–modillions ornamental brackets under the cornice)