Landmark Society of Homer NY

Architectural Styles

Greek Revival 1820-1860

86 South Main St
The Jedediah Barber House, a 32-room Greek Revival mansion, located at 18 N. Main Street, was built in 1826. Jedediah Barber (1787-1876) ran the popular Great Western Store, which was rebuilt as the Barber Block when the store burned down in 1853.

Following the war of 1812 there was a general resentment of the British influence in architecture in the United States that was so common during the Federal Era. This resentment led to a new style of architecture based on earlier Greek architectural forms.

57 North Main St.
This Greek Revival house with four fluted Doric columns dates to 1836. 57 North Main Street also has some earlier federal details such as the narrow cornices and elliptical fan window in the pediment.

Greek Revival architecture is most easily recognized by its massive temple form. Columns and pilasters are one of the hallmarks of Greek Revival architecture. Columns could be fluted or smoothed, but they were almost always made of wood and painted white to imitate marble.

Columns may be in the Greek (no base) or Roman (with a base) style, often adorned by simple (Doric) capitals. Fancier capitals (Ionic and Corinthian) are rarely found. Greek Revival buildings were constructed of brick, stucco, stone or wood.

Details were bold and simple. Low pitched gable and hip roofs were typical. The cornice line was embellished with a wide band of simple trim to emphasize the temple-like roof. Windows reflected the available technology of the period and were usually six-over-six double hung windows, although tripartite decorative windows were also used. The fanlights and arched entrances of the Federal style are not used in Greek Revival architecture, which relies more on the simple post-and-beam construction that was used in ancient Greece, but door surrounds could be rather elaborate and might include a transom window.

Detail of Greek Revival House
This detail of a Greek Revival House at 18 N. Main St. shows a fluted column with an Ionic capital. The three part entablature rests on the columns and consists of a frieze (middle member) and the cornice (crowning member.)


Perhaps the most enduring contribution of Greek Revival architecture to the area’s architectural legacy is the gable-fronted house.

Federal homes were often updated to Greek Revival style by turning the side gable to the front and adding a portico and pilasters or columns.

This was apparently a popular choice as evidenced by the facades of quite a few houses in Homer.

Photo Gallery: Greek Revival

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

  • Dating to c. 1825, this Greek Revival house is believed to be the creation of Issac Chaffy, an early Homer settler and house joiner.
  • This Greek Revival house was built on the Village Green in 1843 to use for prayer meetings. It was moved to its present location around 1893 and used as a residence since that time.
  • This house was built in 1840 for Watts Barber, one of Jedediah's sons. It features a triangular window in the pediment, which was characteristic of houses built by Chaffy.
  • Dating to 1840, this house features two of house joiner Chaffy's trademarks: the triangular fan window and a rectangular transom over the front doors.
  • Built c. 1850, this Greek Revival house retains its original corner pilasters and entablature.
  • Built c. 1893, this flush-boarded house has an unusual three-columned porch. The later addition boasts a stained glass window from the  Upper Hotel on N. Main, which was built c. 1815 and burned in 1904.
  • Originally used as a school, this house still has evidence of its Greek Revival roots in the pilasters, pediment, and entablature. The Victorian style screen doors and corbel supported overhang are more recent additions.