Cape Cod Revival Architecture
in Historic Chatham, Virginia

By Henry Mitchell.

Colonial Revival and Dutch Colonial variants had been popular for several years before Cape Cod Revival houses were introduced during the 1930's and championed by Boston architect Royal Barry Wills. The style appeared in symmetrical and asymmetrical variations, just as the original Cape Cod houses did, and with or without dormers. Cape Cods typically had central chimneys; a similar variant known as the Virginia Colonial had chimneys on both ends of the house.

In Chatham, the Cape Cod design's popularity is quite evident today, with dozens of examples throughout the portions of town developed between the end of World War II and 1960. Some of Chatham's Cape Cod's are brick-veneered, some clapboard-faced, and others have asbestos shingles. Some are quite elaborate; others are very austere. Until the Rancher succeeded it in popularity, the Cape Cod was the family nest of choice for Chatham's postwar baby-boom families. (In the college town of Emory in southwest Virginia, a street of Cape Cods built in the early 1950's became known as “Rabbit Row.”)

(See also architectural pattern books from the period, containing Cape Cod Revival examples.)

65 Holt Street

65 Holt Street, with three dormers, is one of Chatham's larger Cape Cods.

210 Catalpa Drive

Nearby 210 Catalpa Drive is an even more massive variation, in brick.

361 North Main

361 North Main is a simpler Cape Cod with a pedimented entry, and without dormers.


This website and its portal are sponsored by Mitchells Publications.