Historic Franklin Preservation Association
Preserving the Architectural Heritage of Franklin, Pennsylvania
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Queen Anne, the most decoratively rich and varied architectural style, originated as an exuberant recognition of the myriad possibilities that the technological revolution brought to the building trades during the late 1800s. Power tools producing thinner, identical wood studs and nails that were transported by train across the nation. These new tools and materials made it possible to build lighter, more easily varied structures. Thus, architects and builders were no longer tied to the large flat planes and boxy rectangular shapes of preceding styles. Slowly, over time, buildings began to express these new construction methods on their exterior.
Queen Anne, the style not the aristocrat (there is no relationship), was designed to break up the large flat wall surfaces of the past by moving some sections forward over the structure beneath it and by covering these smaller sections with a wide variety of wooden shingles now mass produced and available, such as fish scales, diamonds, and scallops, placed vertically, horizontally or diagonally; often several types on the same building. Smaller sections of each type were painted in different colors in order to make their variety even more obvious.
  • Large, rambling structures with towers
  • Overhanging eaves
  • Bays
  • Dominant front facing gable, often cantilevered out beyond the plane below Large porches, often pedimented
  • Big single paned sash windows often surrounded by smaller pieces of glass, sometimes stained glass to further break up the appearance of the walls.
  • Monumental chimneys

Generally asymmetrical compositions in a variety of textures, materials and colors, Queen Annes are more exciting to look at as well as being more livable than preceding styles, because their floor plans are generally more open and less compartmentalized than their forebears.

Interior spaces just inside the front door can sometimes tell us whether the Queen Anne tower was more recently added in order to change the style of an earlier structure. Preceding styles were usually built with a small space between the front door and a small front hall. Original Queen Annes, though, often have wide open spaces between the front door and stairwell to welcome visitors.