If Romanesque Revival is the most brawny and earthy of the seven Victorian styles, then Queen Anne is the most flamboyant and elaborate.

Queen Anne, often referred to as Victorian, is the style of ornamental excess.

Spindlework, wrap-around porches, balconies, patterned masonry, decorative shingles, iron work, terra cotta tiles, imposing chimneys, polychromatic color schemes, half-timbers, towers and turrets are just a few of the design characteristics that define Queen Anne.

Scottish architect Richard Norman Shaw developed the eclectic style in the 1860s, paying homage to Anne Stuart, queen of Scotland in the early 1700s.

The Queen Anne style made its first appearance in the United States at the 1876 Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia. The sample residences built by the British government displayed the radical departure from the previous familiar and traditional styles assigned to domestic architecture. Its popularity quickly spread up and down the East Coast and to the Western states.

The two- and three-story homes presented asymmetrical floor plans, steep cross-gabled roofs and formal entries.

Of all the styles, Queen Anne encouraged the most freedom of expression without restrictive rules or protocols. Builders were encouraged to highlight their craftsmanship and individual creativity; it is unusual to find two homes exactly the same.

HG Architecture F11 Andrew Jackson Steinman Mansion 1882

The Andrew Jackson Steinman Mansion, built in 1882 and located in the 300 block of East Orange Street, has ornate chimneys, cross-gable roofs, decorative clay tile and shingles and multi-panes of glass.

Although there are many variations on the appearance of Queen Anne buildings with regard to interesting rooflines, ornament, exterior materials such as fish-scale shingles, clapboard siding and brick, it is the window configuration that is the most consistent and predictable design element.

Queen Anne double-hung or sash windows typically are fitted with unusually small panes of glass (sometimes colored) in the upper sash and a large single pane of glass in the lower sash. Turrets would have curved glass and transoms over front doors would often receive decorative bullseye glass.

Lancaster city and the surrounding communities have an abundance of Queen Anne examples in their residences, churches, banks and other commercial buildings.

Although the style was introduced 140 years ago, it is still going strong with its special charm and neighborhood appeal to all generations.

HG Architecture F11 Queen Anne on Marietta Ave

This Queen Anne-style home in the 700 block of Marietta Avenue features spindle work and decorative brackets.

What architectural style is Main Street Disney?

Main Street embodies the personality of Queen Anne turn-of-the-century architecture. The lively facades, bright colors, textures and ornament capture the spirit and excitement found in this unique style.

Why did the Queen Anne style fade away?

The death of Queen Victoria in 1901 soon ended all the Victorian styles including Queen Anne. Her successor to the throne of England, King Edward VII, advocated for his own style.

HG Architecture F11 Southern Farmers Market 1888 CEU.jpg

Southern Farmers Market, built in1888 and designed by C. Emlen Urban, features script numerals on terra cotta date stone, with terra cotta corner blocks and stair-step brick corbelling on the gable.

Where is the largest concentration of Queen Anne homes?

Cape May, New Jersey, has more than 600 preserved Victorian homes that were constructed following a fire in 1878. Examples of other Queen Anne homes and public buildings can be found in almost every town across the country.

This Design Intervention column is contributed by Gregory J. Scott, FAIA, a local architect with more than four decades of national experience in innovation and design. He is a member of the American Institute of Architects’ College of Fellows. Email Scott's column runs in LNP | LancasterOnline on the second Thursday of each month.

What to Read Next