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Shingle Style

The Shingle style originated in the trendy northeastern coastal resort towns of Cape Cod, Massachusetts and Newport, Rhode Island in the 1870s. This uniquely American style began as basically a Queen Anne style wrapped in shingles, but as the style evolved, it incorporated elements from the Romanesque Revival, Colonial Revival, Tudor Revival, and Gothic Revival styles. The style can take a variety of forms, but the basic characteristic is always the wooden shingles that cover the exterior surface of the building. The natural colors and informal composition of the shingles suggested the rustic homes of New England settlers. Shingles were available in many colors, including Indian reds, olive greens, and deep yellows. When a contrasting material was used, especially for porch columns and foundations, architects selected rough-surfaced materials, such as coursed stone or fieldstone rubble, which complimented the rough natural texture of the shingles.

The term "shingle style" was popularized by architectural historian Vincent Scully in the 1950s. Scully was the first scholar to make a serious study of what then not considered a fashionable style. While the style was informal, Shingle style houses were originally built for the wealthy. Unlike the Queen Anne house, Shingle houses were less fussy, plainer, and more horizontal in form. Original Shingle style houses are rare. Few were built; many were built as summer houses, and were later destroyed by fire, demolished, or radically altered. Characteristics of this imaginative style include:

  • Continuous wood shingles, stretched smooth, on siding and roofs
  • Set on masonry or stone foundations
  • Wide porches
  • Cross gables
  • Roughhewn stone on lower levels
  • Two or three stories tall
  • Irregular roof lines
  • Prominent but not ornate chimneys
  • Curvy "eyebrow" dormers
  • Turrets, towers, verandas, and oriels
  • Asymmetrical floor plans
  • Informal interior free-flowing plans, often with large rooms and porches arranged around an open great hall (significantly less formal than Victorian dwellings)
  • Fireplaces and grand staircases

The most important practitioners of this style were architects Willis Polk in the west and Henry H. Richardson, Bruce Price, William Ralph Emerson, John Calvin Stevens, and McKim, Mead and White in the east. Richardson is generally credited with developing the style and used it quite frequently for his country and suburban houses. His William Watts Sherman house (1874-85) in Newport, Rhode Island set the standard for this style.

Although never as popular as the Queen Anne style, the Shingle style was at the height of popularity from 1870 to 1890 but continued to be popular until 1910. Its popularity declined as the wealthy turned to the marbled mansions of the Beaux Arts period.

The Shingle style was not particularly popular in Fullerton, but there are a couple of good examples within the city: the Gallemore House (1913), now an art gallery/café called Veronese, at 419 West Commonwealth Avenue and the Gobar House (1927) at 610 W. Valley View Drive.

Read More about the Shingle Style:

  • "American House Styles: Shingle Style." Old House Journal August 1999: 59+ (folded insert).
  • The Architecture of the American Summer: The Flowering Style of the Shingle Style.New York: Rizzoli, 1989.
  • Massey, James C., and Shirley Maxwell. "Shingle Vision: The Shingle-style House Then and Now." Old House Journal October 2003: 100-107.
  • Roth, Leland M. Shingle Styles: Innovation and Tradition in American Architecture, 1874 to 1982. New York: Harry N. Abrams, 1999.
  • Scully, Vincent Joseph. The Shingle Style; Architectural Theory and Design from Richardson to the Origins of Wright. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1971.

Gallemore House (1913) - 419 W. Commonwealth Avenue
Gallemore House (1913)
419 W. Commonwealth Avenue


Gobar House (1927) - 610 W. Valley View Drive
Gobar House (1927)
610 W. Valley View Drive


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