Belfast home to architectural variety

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1 2009 VillageSoup Belfast home to architectural variety By Ben Stickney Staff Reporter BELFAST (Sep 29): Belfast-area citizens with an interest in architecture got more than an eye-opening look at some of the town's historic residences Sept. 26 during a walking tour presented by the Belfast Historical Society. Advertisement Feeding the mind as well as the eyes, the tour was led by Terry Hire of Design Alternatives in Northport and covered homes on High and Church streets. The construction dates of the structures featured on the tour spanned the 19th century, from the Whittier Tavern at 456 High St. (built circa ) to the Dwight Palmer house at 43 Church St., built in 1894.

2 Belfast Historical Society architecture tour participants stand on the patio of the Admiral Pratt house at 212 High St. as Terry Hire (not shown) explains the building's mix of styles. (Photo by Ben Stickney)

3 Belfast architecture tour participants stand on the patio of the Admiral Pratt house at 212 High St., which blends a mix of styles. (Photo by Ben Stickney)

4 Tour guide Terry Hire discusses the Whittier Tavern at 456 High St. during the Belfast Historical Society's architecture tour Sept. 26. The building, constructed just after the turn of the 19th century, was one of the finest inns in eastern Maine in its day. (Photo by Ben Stickney) Because construction continued as Belfast grew, a variety of architectural styles are reflected in the town's buildings. The four main styles seen on the two streets are Federal ( ), Greek Revival ( ), Italianate

5 ( ), and Queen Anne ( ). The first two are the most common styles in Belfast, especially in the oldest parts of the city, while Queen Anne is relatively uncommon in those areas. The Sept. 26 historical tour in Belfast stops in front of the Alden House at 63 Church St. The building, built in 1840, was designed by Calvin Ryder, who designed a number of other Belfast structures. The columned portico, wide eave molding, and smooth shiplap facade are characteristic of Greek Revival. The porch is a later addition. (Photo by Ben Stickney)

6 The James Patterson White house at 19 Church St. is one of Belfast's best-known buildings and perhaps the most widely photographed. Another Calvin Ryder design from the early 1840s, the White house is a grand statement of Greek Revival architecture. The large corner boards, typical of the style, have been tripled and the smooth shiplap siding that simulates stone construction is used on all sides of the main wing. (Photo by Ben Stickney)

7 The entrance of the James Patterson White house on Church Street is flanked by Ionic columns supporting a massive two-story entablature, which is a major element of classical architecture. The Temple of Athena Nike in Athens is the most famous structure bearing Ionic columns, which are more decorative than columns of the Doric and Corinthian orders. (Photo by Ben Stickney) In addition to an instructive look at architecture and a primer on how to distinguish different styles, the tour revealed fascinating tidbits of local history. For instance, the presence of a Queen Anne house at 43 Church St., placed right between two houses in the older Greek Revival style, hints at the possibility that the new construction was a replacement for an older building destroyed by fire. The Whittier Tavern, at 465 High St., was a fine inn, then the headquarters for an occupying British army during the War of 1812, then the site of a ball thrown for Belfast's prominent citizens by the general of that same army after the war.

8 Molding detail and Ionic columns are repeated up the height of the James Patterson White house on Church Street in Belfast -- all the way to the cupola. (Photo by Ben Stickney)

9 The columns of the Greek Revival house at 34 High St. use elements of the Ionic order (the sprials, or volutes) and the Corinthian order (the acanthus leaves). This is unusual among Belfast's Greek Revival homes, said tour guide Terry Hire during the Belfast Historical Society's architectural tour Sept. 26. (Photo by Ben Stickney) The Belfast Historical Society sponsors the Museum In The Streets, providing a self-guided walking tour highlighting Belfast's heritage and landmarks. The tour takes walkers past 30 panels with vintage photographs and descriptive text along a route that winds through downtown, residential and waterfront areas. Architecturally significant buildings and houses, notable people, historic events, and Belfast's maritime history are highlighted The Belfast Historical Society's museum hours through Columbus Day are 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. The society is also online at belfastmuseum.org.

10 At 32 High St. sits a home in the Italianate style with a slate mansard roof. Italianate architecture is characterized by decorative brackets under wide eaves, square porch posts and narrow windows, among other features. The style was popular between 1840 and 1880 and the home was on the Belfast Historical Society's architecture tour Sept. 26. (Photo by Ben Stickney)

11 The home at 47 High St. is in the Queen Anne style, of which relatively few examples exist in Belfast. Queen Anne was in fashion between 1880 and 1910 and the style possesses far more decorative excesses than previous styles. Typical Queen Anne features at the High Street home are the turret, the mix of siding (clapboard and shingle, in this case), the multiple roofs and the turned balusters under the porch railing. (Photo by Ben Stickney)

12 The house at 208 High St. has Italianate characteristics the bracketed eaves among them but the overall design takes more from Second Empire, popular during the Victorian era. The symmetry, mansard roof, and large, tower-like element in the front hearken to the later style. (Photo by Ben Stickney) A fine example of the Federal style ( ) in Belfast is this house at 213 High St. Strong symmetry, a low-pitched hip roof, big windows, and a fan window or carving, or some other type of transom over the door, are some of the most

13 typical elements of Federal architecture. This style is quite common in Belfast, along with Greek Revival, in the old parts of the city that survived the 1873 fire. (Photo by Ben Stickney) The Admiral Pratt House at 212 High St., in the Primrose Hill historic district, is a striking building with a mix of styles. The main structure was built in 1812 in the Federal style, distinguished by the window placement, roof, and fan window over

14 the door. In the 1820s or 1830s the large portico with its massive ionic columns was added. (Photo by Ben Stickney) Another view of the The Admiral Pratt House at 212 High St., in the Primrose Hill historic district of Belfast. (Photo by Ben Stickney)

15 The Whittier Tavern at 456 High St., next door to the Admiral Pratt house, is a much stronger example of Federal-style architecture than its neighbor. The columns and pedimented portico are Greek Revival but modest, and the wooden transom over the door itself is still present. (Photo by Ben Stickney)

16 The pediment and carved entablature over the entrance of the house at 38 Church St., built in 1865, is a very clean, simple example of Greek Revival styling. (Photo by Ben Stickney)

17 The house at 53 Church St. is a typical Greek Revival dwelling of a later period, when street frontage became more expensive and as a result, houses were built with their gable ends facing the street. This house does have one most unusual feature, however: the columns about the entryway are of the uncommon Egyptian Revival style, so called because the capitals at the column tops resemble those of ancient Egypt rather than the fashion of classical Greek architecture. (Photo by Ben Stickney) Related Links: Belfast Historical Society. Close Print

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