East Coast Victorians

Where When Comments

Bunnell House
New Haven, CT
Stick Style
This house was first owned by Fred Bunnell, a bank cashier, but it is unlikely that he built it. It is almost certainly a tract house built by a developer using stock plans. (Look at this beauty and then look at the mush developers put up today. Sad.) The house disintegrated into disrepair when it was used as rental housing for Yale students, but it now has been renovated and is again a private residence.

Lockwood-Mathews House
Norwalk, CT
A native of Norwalk, LeGrand Lockwood began his rise to wealth as a clerk in a Wall Street brokerage house. He made a huge fortune during the Civil War by speculating in stocks, greenbacks, and government bonds, then spent millions on this equally huge mansion. Unfortunately, a stock market crash in 1869 all but wiped him out, and in 1876 the house was sold for only $90,000. Today the house grounds are a public park, and the house is a museum.

Bulkeley House
Southport, CT
Gothic/Late Victorian
The main part of this house was built in 1861 by Moses Bulkeley, a prosperous merchant. The house at first was purely Gothic Revival, but Bulkeley's son Oliver added the massive square tower to the house in 1886 and made some other late-Victorian renovations. The house is still a private residence.

Woodstock, CT
Gothic Revival
Roseland was built by Henry Bowen, a native of Woodstock who made his fortune in New York City as a newspaper publisher and silk merchant. Bowen named the house Roseland for the gardens that surrounded it. The house is unusually large for a Gothic Revival cottage, with a floorplan resembling that of a railroad train. The house is a museum today.

Governor Ross House
Seaford, DE
This house was built by William Ross, a peach-plantation baron and the youngest man ever elected Governor of Delaware. The house today is the headquarters of the Seaford Historical Society.

Henderson House
Lake City, FL
Queen Anne
This house was originally owned by T. G. Henderson, a successful grocer and real estate developer. The house was built using the mail-order plan "Design No. 56" from the book "Cottage Souvenir No. 2" by architect George Barber. There are houses similar to this one scattered across the nation, including houses OR07 and CA16 in this collection. The house is still a private residence.

Gingerbread House
Savannah, GA
Carpenter Gothic
This house was built by German emigrant Cord Asendorf, a successful grocer and realtor, as his retirement house. Originally a country house located beyond the city limits, it is now practically downtown. It is still used as a private residence.

Parrot-Soucy House
Newman, GA
Stick Style/Eastlake
This spectacularly elaborate house was originally built in the 1840's in the Greek Revival style, then massively renovated into a High Victorian beauty in the 1880's. The house eventually fell into ruin but was re-renovated back to life in the 1980's. It is now a private residence.

Little House
Kennebunk, ME
Second Empire
George Little was a Kennebunk native who made his fortune as a wholesale supplier of beef and grain in Indiana. Upon retirement he returned to Kennebunk and built this house. Why he chose to build a house as narrow as an urban row house when he had all the room of a country estate to build on is unknown. The house is still a private residence.

Wise House
Kennebunk, ME
Second Empire
Although misidentified in some books as the Captain Horatio Moody house, this house originally belonged to George Wise. This house has some of the symmetry and cornice decoration of an Italianate, but possesses the mansard roof of a Second Empire. Today the house is a funeral parlor.

Wedding Cake House
Kennebunk, ME
Carpenter Gothic
This house was built in 1826 by shipbuilder George Bourne as a wedding present for his new bride. It was originally a very proper Federal-style house, but after he retired in 1853 Bourne encased the brick house in a wooden frame inspired by the new Gothic Revival style that was sweeping the nation. The house is still a private residence.

Remington-Borden House
Fall River, MA
Gothic Revival
This house was built by Joseph Remington, a supplier of chemicals to the cotton mills that had made Fall River one of the nation's leading textile centers. It was later acquired by Richard Borden, cousin to the infamous Lizzie Borden. The large classical porch was added around 1900. The house is still a private residence.

Rotch House
New Bedford, MA
Gothic Revival
This house was built by William Rotch, heir of a prominent New Bedford whaling family. More notably, however, the house was designed by the dean of American Gothic Revival architects, Alexander Jackson Davis, and it is considered to be one of the finest surviving examples of his work. The house is still a private residence.

Brooks House
Salem, MA
Gothic Revival
This house was built by one Timothy Brooks, but he died soon after its construction and it was his son Henry who lived there over 40 years, until his death in 1898. The house is still privately owned.

Webster House
Portsmouth, NH
Benjamin Webster worked his way up from carpenter's apprentice to become a real estate and construction tycoon. The steeply pitched roof on this house, which is not typical for an Italianate, was probably a cautionary measure against the heavy New England snowfall. Today the house is a funeral parlor.

The Abbey
Cape May, NJ
Gothic Revival
One of the most heavily photographed houses in America, the Abbey was built by John McCreary, a Pennsylvania coal baron, as a summer home. The house is mostly Gothic Revival in character, but the huge Italianate-style tower with its massive Second-Empire-style roof makes it a unique Victorian classic. The house today is a bed and breakfast inn.

Merriam House
Newton, NJ
Queen Anne Villa
Henry Merriam was a savvy shoe manufacturer who managed to keep his factories running even during the financial panics of 1873 and 1892. The house is now a home for senior citizens.

The Gothic Cottage
Cazenovia, NY
Gothic Revival
This house was built by local merchant Jacob Ten Eyck. When it was put up for sale in 1965, there were fears that it would soon become a parking lot. A determined effort by local preservationists resulted in the cottage being purchased by the town and completely renovated. It is now used for town offices.

Wickwire House
Cortland, NY
This mansion was built by Chester Wickwire, a manufacturer who turned an invention for weaving metal wires into a window-screen and wire-fence fortune. It is almost an identical copy of the James Bailey mansion in Manhattan, which Wickwire had seen on a visit and liked so much that he hired Bailey's architect to duplicate it. Today the house is a museum of Victorian furnishings and Tiffany glass.

Croff's Villa
Rhinebeck, NY
Second Empire
This house was designed by architect Gilbert Croff, who published the design in his book, "Progressive American Architecture". It was built for William Wager, a prosperous Rhinebeck merchant. The house is still a private residence.

Ward House
Richfield Springs, NY
Richfield Springs is the site of a natural hot spring, and it enjoyed a certain vogue in the second half of the 19th century as a spa and a resort. This gorgeous Italianate house was built around 1860 by one W. B. Ward as a summer home. It is still used as a summer home today.

Bachelor Mansion
Saratoga Springs, NY
Exotic Chateauesque
George Bachelor was a successful lawyer who also held a number of government positions in the treasury department and the foreign diplomatic corps. Although built as a summer home, Bachelor used it as his permanent residence after retiring in 1902. After changing hands many times and falling into disrepair, the house has now been beautifully restored and is once again a private residence.

Gilson House
Saratoga Springs, NY
Brick Queen Anne
This house was built by Colonel Joseph Gilson, a lumber merchant from Georgia, as a summer home. It is now a funeral parlor.

Armor-Stiner House
Tarrytown, NY
Octagon Style
This house was built by Paul Armour, a local banker, in the short-lived but amusing octagon style championed by then-famous self-help guru Orson Fowler in one of his many books. It was acquired by Joseph Stiner, a wealthy tea merchant, and substantially enlarged in 1872. It has been paintakingly restored, and is once again a private residence.

Tarrytown, NY
Gothic Revival
Lyndhurst is generally considered to be the most perfect example of a Gothic Revival mansion in America. Construction began in 1838, but the house was nearly doubled in size by additions made in the early 1860's. The house is also famous (or infamous) for once being the home of the notorious Gilded-Era robber baron, Jay Gould. The house is a museum today. Here are some interior photos taken by my friend, John Morar.

The Pink House
Wellsville, NY
Edwin Bradford Hall, a prosperous pharmacist in the Wellsville area, built this unique Italianate after seeing a house similar to it in Italy. The house has been pink ever since it was built, and it is still owned and used by Hall's descendents.

Means House
Concord, NC
Queen Anne
This house was built by "Colonel" William Means (the title was honorary), a successful attorney and twice mayor of Concord. The house is still a private residence.

J. Probst House
Hickory, NC
Second Empire
I know little about this charming cottage beyond the fact that it is now a museum.

Capehart House
Raleigh, NC
Brick Queen Anne
Catherine Moore Capehart inherited small fortunes from her father and her first husband, then inherited this house and another small fortune when her second husband died shortly after its construction. The house was moved in the 1980's to save it from demolition, and is now a state office building.

Heck House
Raleigh, NC
Second Empire
Colonel Jonathan Heck made his fortune manufacturing bayonets during the Civil War (for the Union), then after the war moved to Raleigh and went into real estate. This homey yet still elegant Second Empire cottage was one of a trio that he built for sale. All three are still standing, and are still private residences.

Meyers House
Bethlehem, PA
Second Empire
George Meyers was the son-in-law of Francis Weiss, who owned the house next door (see house PA2). Like Weiss, Meyers also made his fortune in the coal business. This house is used today as an apartment building.

Weiss House
Bethlehem, PA
Second Empire
Francis Weiss was a surveyor, engineer, and businessman who made his fortune in coal mining and railroad construction. Built long and narrow, this house is so large that it now holds five condominium apartments. The Meyers House (house PA01) is next door to this one.

Packer Mansion
Jim Thorpe, PA
Second Empire
Asa Packer arrived in the town of Jim Thorpe (then called Mauch Chunk) just as the transition from canals to railroads was taking place. He became wealthy in the railroad business and built this fine house for his son Harry as a wedding present. The original house was wholly Second Empire in style, but in 1881 Harry added the massive grey limestone porch and the slender square tower at the left. Today the house is a bed and breakfast inn.

King House
Newport, RI
This house was built by Edward King, a Newport merchant who had grown rich in the China trade. The house is notable for being a very early example of an Italianate villa. It was featured in the 1852 book "The Architecture of Country Houses" by A. J. Downing, an influential book on architectural design that helped popularize the Italianate style. Today the house is used by the city of Newport as a civic center.

Newport, RI
Gothic/Shingle Style
Kingscote was built for George Noble Jones, a wealthy resident of Savannah, GA, who used it as a summer home to escape the Savannah heat. It is an important house architecturally, because it is one of the oldest surviving U.S. houses built in a Victorian style rather than a formal style (Georgian, Federal, Greek Revival). Only the right-most three-quarters of the house are original. The Shingle-Style tower on the left with its more severe facade was added in the 1880's. The house is now a museum.

Smith House
Providence, RI
Second Empire
This modest house, built by a bank employee with the unassuming name of John Smith, is perhaps more typical of the kind of Second Empire home that the middle class would have built, as opposed to the more elaborate Second Empire houses one typically sees photographed. The house is still a private residence.

Davis House
Laurens, SC
Queen Anne
I do not know the history of this house.

Orange, VA
Italianate Villa
Mayhurst was built by Colonel John Willis, a nephew of President James Madison. Although located in northern Virginia, and used for a while as the headquarters of Confederate General A. P. Hill, the house fortunately was located far from the major battlefields of the Civil War and survived the conflict unscathed. Today it is a bed and breakfast inn.

Evans House
Salem, VA
Second Empire
John Evans was a prosperous dry goods merchant in the Salem-Roanoke area. This rather small house looks bigger than it is due to the monumental elegance of its design and the natural haughtiness of the Second Empire style. It is still a private residence.

Contact me by e-mail at: David Taylor

The photos on this web page were not taken by me, and permission to use them for any purpose whatever is NOT granted.  Most of the originals can be purchased from stock photography agencies.

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