During this period millions of people came from Europe to swell the American cities creating great commercial urban centers, each with its own social, economic and ethnic character. In the cities tenements and row houses were built to accommodate the masses many of whom worked in the new factories. A new American dream was shared by many who wanted a single family house with a lawn.
New technology and the railroad system meant mass produced, prepared materials such as birch, stone and glass were made available to the builder. Up to date builder’s guides gave details for many new styles. Central heating, indoor plumbing, refrigeration and gas lights solved problems and brought comforts to homes. Designs became larger and more detailed.
A nostalgic mood made Classical and Colonial Revival styles popular especially for the wealthy, who built enormous homes. Symmetry, tight organization and clear definition remained major elements of these styles. The Victorian Gothic style is characterized by dark red brick and complex designs.
The Queen Anne style home is recognized by its elaborate wood decoration using intricate patterns.
The Late Victorian period is often considered a time when people expressed the most freedom in designing buildings. Americans had finally abandoned the English social structure and were about to enter a new era and class division—that of the blue collar worker vs. the white collar worker. The new social structure was a result of modern industry, worker vs. owner. During this transition people experimented sort of an “anything goes” attitude. Many styles prevailed.