by Julie Koppman
on Wednesday, January 29th, 2020 at 11:23am.
The Greek Revival architectural style was considered a symbol of liberty, democracy, stability, and order. It was popular in the United States between 1820 and 1860, and was often the style of choice for buildings such as state capitols and churches in New England. Migrating down south to New Orleans along with Northeastern newcomers, the popularity of the Greek Revival style spread in the city as the first “American” architectural contribution to the Creole cityscape.
Greek Revival architectural elements found among New Orleans homes include Greek-key door surrounds, wide, full-height galleries with classical columns supporting detailed entablatures, often with Greek ornamentation such as dentil molding (small, rectangular blocks resembling teeth), and flat-topped trim around windows and doors. By the 1830s, these and other elements of the style were showing up in New Orleans’ public buildings, townhouses, cottages, and double-galleried houses. Even the advent of hallways accompanied the style, as people began to prefer the privacy that hallways offered over traditional New Orleans shotgun homes that led from one room into the next.
As the popularity of architectural styles have changed and overlapped over the years, elements of one style are commonly found mixed with elements of others. In New Orleans, you’ll often see features of the Greek Revival style mixed with other styles, particularly Italianate. In fact, it was common for those who were building homes at the time to pick and choose components from different styles that appealed to their personal tastes. All of this has contributed to the wonderful diversity that makes up New Orleans’ architectural landscape.