Landmark Society of Homer NY

Architectural Styles

Federal Style 1780-1820

86 South Main St
Federal style home at 86 South Main (1816)

The Federal Style of architecture is the oldest formal archtectural style found in Cortland County. While this style appeared earlier along the eastern seaboard than in Central New York, it did become quite popular in rural areas such as Homer.

In Europe it was known as Adam Style, deriving its name from the Adams family of architects. The style was developed from ancient Roman architectural forms that were being excavated during the late 1700s in Italy.

Federal homes were designed around a center hall, frequently accentuated with a grand staircase. A typical federal style house is characterized by symmetry, tall arched windows, classical details, and a side gabled roof.

Stoddard House
The 1826 Federal house at 5 Albany Street was the birthplace of William Osborn Stoddard, one of President Lincoln’s secretaries and biographers.

Federal details, both exterior and interior, feature bas-relief style Greek and Roman inspired decorations including swags, garlands and urns. The front door is topped by an elliptical fanlight window, sometimes with sidelights and a fancy portico or elaborate door surround.

Several easily recognizable features include a symmetrical box form with typically three or five bays of windows, double hung with a six divided lights in each sash, and often with an elliptical fan light or shutter over the front doorway and/or on the gable end.

Architectural trim is usually lightly executed with fine dentils and fluted or reeded pilasters. While very few examples still exist here, twelve over twelve light sashes are a definite indicator of a federal house in Homer.

Photo Gallery: Federal

Click on photos for larger view / click on right side of photo to advance

  • This original section of this Federal house was built in 1850.
  • This pink brick Federal house dates to the 1820s. Note the simplicity and dignity of the Palladian style doorway and overwindow.
  • Built in 1823, this Main Street Federal house has wide plank flooring.
  • This 1845 Federal features four pilasters topped with Ionic volutes on the facade.
  • The Palladian doorway and overwindow are echoed by the elliptical fan window in the pediment.
  • Built in the 1830s, this Federal house features Ionic pilasters supporting blind arcades . The porch is a Victorian addition.
  • Carriage House
  • This early Federal brick house (c. 1823) has 8 fireplaces, 2 with double cranes The lintels and sills are grey stone, probably from a local quarry.
  • This c.1825 Federal has a 3-bay blind-arcaded façade, Ionic pilasters, hip roof and balustrade. The porch is a Victorian addition. Once the residence of “David Harum.”
  • A ten room Federal dating to 1800.