176. Architectural Tour: Victorian Eclectic & the Martin Mitchell Mansion

The George Martin family built their home using many local building materials. They called it Pine Craig, but we know it today as the Martin Mitchell Mansion. The limestone from George Martin’s quarries is visible on the building’s exterior, but real bricks are harder to find. A thin coat of mortar covers the brickwork. This technique, known as parging, hid any imperfections in the real bricks used to build the home. The mansion shows a variety of popular Victorian architectural styles. When used together, they are commonly referred to as Victorian Eclectic style. The Italianate style is the most dominate on the exterior façade of the mansion. This style was inspired by Italian villas and was popular in the United States from the 1860s through 1880s. The Mansion’s Italianate style includes: -A single story porch with supports typical of the Italianate style. The square posts have beveled corners. -Windows with decorative stone arches placed above them, often referred to as hooded windows. -Bay windows extending two stories up. -Protruding eaves, or roof edges, with decorative bracketed cornices (or the horizontal decorative element near the top of a building or wall). -The overall color palette of the exterior, which features darker colors accentuated by lighter trim. The Mansion also displays characteristics of other popular Victorian architectural styles: -The porch’s appearance is typical of a High Victorian Gothic home, a style similar to the Century Memorial Chapel at Naper Settlement. -The building roofline is Second Empire style, which is best characterized by a mansard roof, or a four-sided roof with two slopes, the lower slope being a steeper angle than the upper. While the Mansion’s roof is not a true mansard roof, it mimics the appearance of one. -The northwest chimney, with its patterned masonry, reflects the Queen Anne style, popular at the end of the 19th century. -The egg-dart molding, seen in the white line of trim on the cornice of the roof-line, is a Greek-inspired detail characteristic of Classical architectural styles.