The colonial revival movement in America took place from 1870 well into the twentieth century.
The goal was to reconstruct, remodel, and sometimes reinvent the houses, gardens, and artifacts of the colonial period in America. Landscape designers and architects were often involved.
On a recent trip to Salem, Mass. to study the history of house architecture in the city, I came across an example from the city’s own colonial revival period.
I walked along Chestnut Street, and enjoyed an array of houses from various periods of Salem’s long history as an important early American seaport.
One house impressed me particularly.
The Francis Sherman House was built in 1909, as an adaptation of the Derby House, a few blocks away, built in 1762. It is Salem’s example of colonial revivalism.
I walked over to see the Derby House, still standing, and the resemblance is astounding. They really look alike.
The Colonial revival was an effort to reconstruct a style of earlier times. By highlighting the fashion of an earlier time, the designer or architect sometimes made a statement about the deficiencies of the current period.
I remember the colonial revival garden at the Whipple House in near-by Ipswich, which was built in the mid twentieth century. The goal was to represent the kitchen garden of the seventeenth century.
The colonial revival movement is an example that gardens, like houses, are subject to fashion and style. In American gardening the English garden often provided inspiration, especially in the nineteenth century, and sometimes even in gardens in the colonial revival era.