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Early Twentieth Century Styles (2.1.1.1.5)

Colonial Revival (2.1.1.1.5.1)

Dozens of Colonial Revival style houses were erected throughout Elizabeth City from the 1910s through the 1940s. They generally follow square or rectilinear forms, with regular roof lines and wall surfaces and symmetrical fenestration. Local examples of the Colonial Revival style are usually two or two-and-a-half stories in height, although there are a small number of one-and-a-half-story examples. Most of the smaller dwellings were built in the 1930s and early 1940s, when the economy dictated less ambitious residences. Colonial Revival style houses are usually covered by gable-end roofs, although hip roofs and a limited number of gambrel roofs exist. Typical stylistic elements include pedimented entrances with transoms and sidelights, porches carried by columns, molded cornices accented with dentils, dormers with pediments or cornice returns, and double or triple window arrangements.

Many of the city's early Colonial Revival style houses exhibit the waning influence of the asymmetrical Queen Anne style. These houses, such as the two-story William Edward Cooper House (409 Cedar Street, ca. 1914), have asymmetrical T-plans featuring roof gables framed by the boxed cornice returns and a continuous frieze, along with a wrap-around porch of Tuscan columns. On the Welkia T. Bright House (202 West Church Street, 1907), the front gable contains a Palladian window that heightens the Colonial Revival impact. The asymmetry of the nearly identical forms of the William S. Cartwright House (901 West Church Street, 1912) and the M. G. Morrisette House (402 North Road Street, 1913) indicate the lingering popularity of Queen Anne forms and their ready acceptance of Colonial Revival elements.

Other examples of the Colonial Revival style follow the traditional two-story single-pile form, as shown by the George C. Mclntyre House (709 West Colonial Avenue, 1912), on which the major stylistic elements are limited to Tuscan columns carrying the three-bay porch. On the double-pile center-hall-plan Zenas Jennings House (211 North Harney Street, 1905-1906), the design is invigorated by a trio of dormers whose gable returns echo the large returns at each end of the house.

Later Colonial Revival style houses display a more academic use of classical form and decoration. The broad façade of the large John C. Perry House (715 First Street, ca. 1916) is sheltered by a deep double-tier porch carried by monumental Tuscan columns; the tall hip roof is pierced by a false gable on the front and a pedimented dormer on each side elevation. The Walter L. Cohoon House (801 West Church Street, 1916-1917) has a roof dormer in the shape of a Palladian window, and a large central porch and flanking porches with Corinthian columns that provide a formal composition of understated elegance. Even more impressive is the façade of the William B. Foreman House (311 West Church Street, early 1930s), on which pedimented two-story wings project slightly to flank the entrance bay. Both the Cohoon and Foreman houses have well-articulated cornices with modillions and dentils.

When the Colonial Revival style became popular in the 1910s, many owners of older houses desired to update their residences to reflect current fashion. This was done primarily by owners of dwellings built in the 1890s with elaborate Eastlake decoration which was now considered too much for the refined tastes of the 1910s and 1920s. Accordingly, these houses were remodeled with replacement porches, often larger than the originals, carried by Tuscan or Corinthian columns and enclosed by turned balusters. While such transformations occurred throughout the city, they were most numerous in the wealthier white neighborhoods, particularly in the 300, 400, and 500 blocks of West Main Street. Important examples include the White-Weeks House (508 West Main Street, 1893, ca. 1921) and the McCabe-Wood House (509 West Main Street, ca. 1892, 1914-1923).

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