The Pre-Civil War years saw life in America become more complex with more people, epidemics, scarcity of jobs and crime. Religious, ethnic and racial conflicts rose in big dirty cities. While people had more, social problems developed. The population began to retreat to rural areas. Building styles began to reflect the emphasis on freedom of choice, individuality and importance of the home and family. The styles of this period are characterized by bold designs with irregular forms, harmony in building and surrounding grounds and usefulness.
GOTHIC REVIVAL—a typical building of this style is strong, vertical, gables and dormers, steep roof and bold grouped chimneys. While a wooden Gothic house is made with narrow boards used vertically, rustic stone was also widely used. Chunky iron was used for hinges, to crest a roof, and as fence posts. Windows, often diamond paned, were varied in size and placement. Entrances were grand and multiple. Towers suggested a medieval appearance.
ITALIAN VILLA—like the Gothic Revival, window size and placement were varied and chimneys were grouped. Roofs were lower, openings arch shaped, windows were two over two. Double doors were surrounded by rough cut masonry. The arch and smooth surfaces are major characteristics of the Italian Villa style and its relative the Tuscan style.