Logo   Late 19th-century Architecture



New England has water power from its hundreds of creeks and rivers.

Great textile mills were built along New England's rivers during the first half of the 19th century, their looms driven by the swift currents. Only in the latter 1800s did steam power take over from water power.

The Federal style, so common in New England domstic and public architecture, was adapted to industrial uses. The large, substantial, straightforward brick factories in the many "mill towns" such as Fall River, Lowell, and Marlboro, Massachusetts are function yet stately, the wealth-making palaces of their age.

In Manchester, New Hampshire, the great Amoskeag mills march along the riverbank for almost half a mile, an impressive symbol of the era when Manchester produced more cotton cloth than any other city in the world.

The mills may have been Federal style, but for their own residences, amusements and endowments the mill owners wanted something more demonstrative. As the 1800's wore on, New England's grandees employed Henry Hobson Richardson, the firm of McKim, Mead and White, and other designers to build worldly fantasies: Egyptian temples, Renaissance palaces, Romanesque temples and Gothic churches.

Trinity Church, at Copley Square in Boston, is a fine example of the period. Newport, Rhode Island's elegant mansions—many of them actually small palaces— demonstrate how this late-century exuberance would end.

Among the "common people," 19th-century architectural exuberance led to Victorian gingerbread, some of the best of which survives in the town of Oak Bluffs on Martha's Vineyard island in Massachusetts.

Colonial style

Georgian style

Federal Style

Greek Revival

Neoclassical style

20th-century Styles

New England Architecture Homepage


Above, Amoskeag Mills in Manchester NH, stupendous examples of New England's fine brick factories.

Below, Narragansett Casino arch, Narragansett RI, by Stanford White.

Narrangansett Casino, Rhode Island

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