Victorian Architecture

c. 1885-1900

Architect-designed styles, usually taken from plan books and adapted by the local contractor to the family’s needs, repalced the simple house-types of the settlement period. Victorian archtecture, often noted for its “gingerbread”, had sawn, chiseled, and turned ornamentation applied to complex rooflines, porches, towers, and bays.

The Italianate Style is the most restrained of the Victorian styles buit in Arcata. Usually two stories with a hipped roof, this architecture features stacked bays decorated with brackets and colonette, grouped windows which are sometimes round-headed, a bracketed cornice and bracketed window hoods. The house shape may include an ell, but may also be symmetrical. Entrances are sheltered by ornamented stoops rather than full-blown porches.

The Queen Anne Style, an eclectic architecture which emphasizes variety in from and texture, has both simple and lavish examples in Arcata. Queen Anne houses have complex rooflines, often hipped with multiple gables above the bays. A corner tower topped with a finial, decorated cornice, patterned singles in the gables and on the upper story, a Palladian window, and fancy porches with turned posts and balustrades, spindlework decoration, cutouts and fan brackets are common. A projecting upper story on Arcata’s Queen Anne houses overhangs the lower story, creating cutaway bays and a distinctive apron where the stories meet.

The EastLake Style isn’t actually a style, but a type of ornamentation applied to Arcata’s Queen Anne houses. This rich ornamentation, a product of the chisel, the gouge and the lathe, is applied to bays, porches, gables, windows, and cornices and includes turned and grooved columns and balustrades, spindlework decoration, sunbursts, holes, buttons, brackets, scallops, pierced elements, knobs, and intricate gable grillwork. The entrance porches are usually lavishly decorated.