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

By Herbert J. Githens

As American commerce expanded during the mid-nineteenth century, contact with other countries brought about a desire for a more ornate architectural expression. The result was the Italianate style, which was inspired by Italian Renaissance and domestic styles. Italianate features in Jersey City townhouses include the bracketed cornice, heavy stoop balustrades of cast iron or stone, and double entrance doors with glass and arched transoms. Large blocks of houses were built speculatively in this style.

Simple cornice with bracket supports and decorative panels
Arched lintels of stone, sometimes of cast-iron, with bracketed supported sills. Large paned sash
"Rusticated" treatement of wide horizontal masonry joints.
Brownstone veneer blocks over brick. Details here mostly hand carved stone, some wood.
Fancy carving on arched hood or pediment supported by brackets. Paired doors with panels and lights.
Mostly of heavy cast-iron parts. Wide handrails and large, bulky newel posts and baluster supports in spindle-like forms.


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