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A Self-Guided Walking Tour of Jersey City's Van Vorst Park Historic District
A Walking Tour of Architectural Styles

By Herbert J. Githens

ANTHEMION. (From the Greek word meaning flower.) A flat decoration of floral or leaf forms.

ARCHITRAVE. The lowest part of an entablature, a beam resting on the tops of columns. Also, the molding around a doorway, window, etc.

BAY. A window or set of windows jutting out from the wall of a building and forming an alcove within.

BALUSTRADE. A railing held up by small posts, as on a staircase.

BRACKET. An architectural support projecting from a wall, as a corbel.

CORBEL. (From the Latin for raven, so called from its beaked shape.) A piece of stone, metal, or wood, often in the form of a bracket, projecting from the side of a wall and serving to support a cornice, the spring of an arch, etc.

CORNICE. A horizontal molding projecting along the top of a wall, building, etc. Also, the top part of an entablature.

COURSE. A horizontal layer, as of bricks, in the face of a building.

DENTIL. Any of a series of small rectangular blocks projecting like teeth, as from under a cornice.

DORIC. Relating to the classic order of architecture characterized by simplicity of form, especially by fluted, heavy columns with simple capitals, or top parts.

ENTABLATURE. A horizontal superstructure supported by columns and composed of architrave, frieze, and cornice.

FACADE. The front of a building.

FASCIA. A flat, horizontal band, especially one of two or three making up an architrave.

FENESTRATION. The arrangement of windows and doors in a building.

FINIAL. A decorative, terminal part at the tip of a gable, spire, etc.

FRIEZE. A horizontal band, often decorated with sculpture, between the architrave and cornice of a building entablature.

IONIC. Relating to the order of Greek architecture characterized by ornamental scrolls (spiral volutes) on the capitals, or tops, of columns.

LINTEL. The horizontal crosspiece over a door, window, etc., carrying the weight of the structure above it.

MASONRY. Brickwork or stonework.

NEWEL. The central upright pillar around which the steps of a winding staircase turn. Also, the post at the top or bottom of a flight of stairs, supporting the handrail.

ORIEL. A large window built out from a wall and resting on a bracket or a corbel; bay window.

PIER. A heavy column, usually square, used to support weight, as at the end of an arch.

PALLADIAN WINDOW. A three-part window consisting of two rectangular openings on either side of a taller arched headed opening, named after the Italian architect Andrea Palladio (1518-80).

PEDIMENT. A low-pitched gable on the front of some buildings in the Greek style of architecture.

RUSTICATE. To make or finish masonry in a rustic (rough) style.

SPANDREL. The triangular space between the exterior curve of an arch and a rectangular frame or mold enclosing it. Also, any of the spaces between a series of arches and a straight cornice running above them.

TERRA COTTA. A hard, brown-red, usually unglazed earthenware used in sculpture, etc.

TRANSOM. A small window or shutterlike panel directly over a door or window.

VENEER. A thin surface layer of costly material laid over a base of common material.

VERMICULATION. A marking suggestive of worms; covered with irregularly twisting lines, ridges, or indentations suggestive of worm tracks.

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