Romanesque Architecture
in Historic Chatham, Virginia

By Henry Mitchell.
10 North Main

10 North Main Street.

In the mid-1800's, pre-Gothic European architecture, associated with the era of the Roman Empire, became a fashionable model for churches, public institutions, and mansions in America. This influence became known as the Romanesque Revival. In the 1870's, architect Henry Hobson Richardson introduced a bolder, rougher, more horizontal version of the Romanesque theme, which came to be called Richardsonian Romanesque.

The only obvious Romanesque example in Chatham is the lower façade of Chatham Books at 10 North Main Street. The façade's crest is Italianate. The roughness and blockiness of the structure identify it as related to the Richardsonian variety of Romanesque design.

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


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