Logo   Georgian Architecture
After the great fire of 1666, London was rebuilt in Palladian style by Inigo Jones and Christopher Wren. This updated classicism, called Georgian in America, appealed to colonial New England's builders, who happily used Wren's designs in building some of the region's most famous and stately churches.



America is a rich land of great potential, and it wasn't long before it yielded prosperity for the colonists who moved here from Europe in the 1600s and 1700s.

Along with prosperity came the gradual abandonment of the strict and ascetic religious life of the 1600s that had helped the early colonists to survive the rigors of settlement and exploration.

Prosperity allowed more beauty, style and comfort in life. In the 1700s, New England's colonists naturally looked to England for models of how to design public buildings appropriate to their new-found prosperity.

What they saw in architectural books of the time, and on their trading trips to London was the updated classicism of Inigo Jones and Christopher Wren, called Palladian style after Andreas Palladio (1508-1580), an Italian architect who "updated" the classical proportions and ornaments of ancient Roman architecture.

Because the occupants of the English throne in the 1700s were all called George (from King George I in 1714 through King George III [1760-1820]), the style became known in New England as Georgian.

Nearly every New England town that prospered in the 1700s and early 1800s has at least one fine Georgian church, and often two or three. With their tall steeples, classical facades, gleaming white exteriors, and many tall windows (some the famed Palladian window), these beautiful wood-frame buildings are graceful ornaments and an enduring symbol of New England's townscapes.

The updated Roman classicism of Georgian style was also used in buildings of brick and stone, as at Harvard University in Cambridge MA, which is a riot of Georgian red brick, classical trim, and gold-topped cupolas.

Georgian style was not just for public buildings. Georgian houses were built up to the time of the American Revolution, and in beautiful Litchfield CT until the end of the 1700's.

Colonial style

Federal Style

Greek Revival

Neoclassical style

Late 19th-century styles

20th-century Styles

New England Architecture Homepage


First Congregational Church, Old Lyme CT

First Congregational Church in Old Lyme CT, a fine example of a New England Georgian church.

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