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Carpenter Gothic - 926 Elk Street

Carpenter Gothic is a very specific term that reflects advances in technology that took place in the late 1800’s. Gothic refers to the architectural style of the High Middle Ages in Western Europe, that emerged from the great cathedrals. It is characterized by the pointed arch, seen here in the steeply pointed gable ends. The inspiration for Gothic Revival buildings came from Europe’s large simple masonry structures of cut stone with elaborately carved stone ornamentation. In American Gothic Revival the massing is simple with several rectangular volumes contained under roof ridge lines and gables that are all the same height and without any separation line between the gable end and the house.

This Carpenter Gothic is different in several ways from the original Gothic Revival forms. Here the uninterrupted rise of the gable end walls having windows exactly above those on the first floor reflect the Gothic Revival Style. Board and batten siding and elaborate hand-made wood trim under the edges of the eaves and under the front porch roof. Tall unadorned single paned sash windows with wooden shutters mark this home as specifically Carpenter Gothic.

The beautiful finely scaled wrought iron fence recalls the delicate lines of the vertical board and batten siding and pointed gable ends.

The Industrial Revolution of the late 1800’s brought new simpler, easier methods of cutting wood as well as transportation lines to disperse the new mass-produced building materials and plans across the nation. Suddenly saws powered by gas and electricity were producing finely cut building parts, such as exactly identical studs and rafters, along with finely detailed decorative wooden trim, transported by train to every small town in America. These mix and match wooden scroll work pieces, now crafted by machines, came to exalt the new industry in the Carpenter Gothic style.