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Place-based Essays

Essays in SAH Archipedia are broadly grouped as either place-based or thematic. Place-based essays include overviews of architecture in specific U.S. states and cities. Thematic essays examine architectural and urban issues within and across state and regional boundaries. Like individual building entries, essays are accompanied by rich subject metadata, so you can browse them by style, type, and period. SAH Archipedia essays are comprised of peer-reviewed scholarship (born-digital and print-based) contributed by architectural historians nationwide.

Woodstock

By: Glenn M. Andres and Curtis B. Johnson

Woodstock has a reputation for privilege and self-conscious attractiveness that sometimes overshadows its significance as a locus of design, conservation, planning, and preservation in Vermont. Although the town was chartered in 1761, only in the 1770s did its focus...

South Woodstock Village

By: Glenn M. Andres and Curtis B. Johnson

Much as North Chester is known for its “Stone Village,” South Woodstock is noteworthy for brick buildings, most from the early nineteenth century in the arched-panel style characteristic of Windsor County. In 1779 brothers Jabez and Warren Cottle built...

Windsor

By: Glenn M. Andres and Curtis B. Johnson

Modest in size, Windsor village has made important contributions to architecture in Vermont and it retains a remarkable concentration of buildings of state and national significance. It is a place freighted with history—political, as the site of the drafting of the...

Windham County

By: Glenn M. Andres and Curtis B. Johnson

Windham County in the southeast corner of the state presents perhaps the most New England–like image of Vermont's counties, sharing a border with Massachusetts and, across the Connecticut River, New Hampshire. From the eastern slopes of the Green Mountains, the...

Bellows Falls

By: Glenn M. Andres and Curtis B. Johnson

Located at a 52-foot fall within a bend of the Connecticut River, Bellows Falls is a village of 3,000 people. For thousands of years, Native Americans camped, fished, and buried their dead near the falls, leaving behind faces chipped into the exposed rock, a rare...

Brattleboro

By: Glenn M. Andres and Curtis B. Johnson

Although its charter is a year younger than Rockingham's and neighboring Guilford was larger through the 1790s, for most of its long history Brattleboro has ranked as the most important center in southeastern Vermont. In 1753 Benning Wentworth awarded the town to a...

Washington

By: J. Philip Gruen

The image of Washington state as a particularly natural place is etched into the national consciousness: a heavily-forested landscape, punctuated by mountains and dotted by broad expanses of water. The climate is damp and cool, but the state is clean and green. The built environment, drawn...

The Lake District

By: Marsha Weisiger et al.

The Lake District—Kenosha, Milwaukee, Racine, Walworth, and Waukesha counties—contains the urban and industrial core of Wisconsin. Three of the state’s largest cities—Milwaukee, Racine, and Kenosha—are located here on the shores of Lake Michigan, and one out of every three state...

Milwaukee

By: Marsha Weisiger et al.

Most states have one major urban area that is popularly viewed as its major center of commerce, culture, and sophistication. In Wisconsin, Milwaukee has been the “big city” for the past 150 years. As a result, its architecture reflects the city’s historic role as a leader of...

The Northern Moraine

By: Marsha Weisiger et al.

The Northern Moraine region, the most geographically varied in the state, sits just to the south of the “tension zone” dividing the coniferous and mixed forests to the north from the deciduous forests and savannahs to the south. Communities along the Lake Michigan shore recall...

Northwoods

By: Marsha Weisiger et al.

Wisconsin’s northernmost counties make up the region known as the Northwoods. No other part of the state seems more pristine and natural than this region, with its dense forests, abundant lakes, and countless meandering streams. Yet the environmental history of the Northwoods region is...

Driftless Area

By: Marsha Weisiger et al.

The Driftless Area in western Wisconsin is unlike the rest of the state since much of it escaped the effects of the great ice sheets that invaded Wisconsin some ten thousand years ago. Hence, glacial material, or drift, is largely absent, which accounts for its name. The region is...

Central Plains

By: Marsha Weisiger et al.

The Central Plains is a low-lying region of relatively flat and sandy land, covered with stunted oak and pine trees. The surface is broken here and there by sandstone hills or flat-topped buttes, but marshes and peat lands cover vast areas of the plain. Meandering central courses of...

Oak Savannah

By: Marsha Weisiger et al.

The Oak Savannah region is best known for its rich agricultural landscape, dotted with prosperous farms and tidy villages. It was settled early in the nineteenth century and contributed significantly to southern Wisconsin’s early reputation as a major wheat-producing region. Later it...

Madison

By: Marsha Weisiger et al.

The site of what is now Madison was named DaJope (or Taychoperah) in the Ho-Chunk language, but Native Americans did not long remain in the area after European American settlers arrived. During the war that allied Ho-Chunks with Black Hawk’s Sauk band against a combined force of...

West Virginia

By: S. Allen Chambers Jr.

The Mountain State. Wild, Wonderful West Virginia. Almost Heaven, West Virginia. Hillbilly Heaven. West—by God!—Virginia. Country Roads, Take Me Home—Home to West Virginia.

These mottoes, fondly invoking images of nature, rural comfort, even the deity, provide inklings of how West...

Capital Center and South Central West Virginia

By: S. Allen Chambers Jr.

This four-county area lies in the Upper Kanawha Valley, with West Virginia's capital city, Charleston, at its heart. Historically, economically, industrially, and architecturally, this is one of West Virginia's most important regions. The Kanawha River...

Charleston

By: S. Allen Chambers Jr.

On December 28, 1787, George Clendenin purchased a thousand-acre tract on the northern side of the Kanawha River at its confluence with the Elk River. The next spring he erected a two-story, double-pen log house on his land and surrounded it with a rectangular stockade in which...

Downtown Charleston

By: S. Allen Chambers Jr.

Capitol Street, the city's traditional “main street,” extends in a northeast-southwest direction from Kanawha Boulevard, East, to Washington Street, with cross streets generally paralleling the northwestward flow of the Kanawha River. Arranged in an informal grid...

Downtown West

By: S. Allen Chambers Jr.

The western portion of downtown Charleston, a roughly rectangular area bounded by Laidley and Washington streets and the Kanawha and Elk rivers, has changed more in recent years than any other part of the city. In 1952 slum clearance programs began to transform this decayed...

Downtown East

By: S. Allen Chambers Jr.

Most of Charleston's major churches are located southeast of downtown, four in a cluster around the intersections of Broad, Quarrier, and Virginia streets. Two others, the Baptist Temple and Christ Church United Methodist, face each other in a lively architectural tête-à-...

East End

By: S. Allen Chambers Jr.

Charleston's East End is a long, narrow rectangle extending along the northern bank of the Kanawha River southeast of downtown. The architectural styles in this primarily residential district generally range chronologically from west, closest to downtown, to east, beyond the West...

West Charleston

By: S. Allen Chambers Jr.

West Charleston, across Elk River to the northwest of downtown, does not reveal its architectural heritage as openly as other areas of the city, but there is more than enough to warrant a visit. Unfortunately, the broad swath of Interstate 64, parallel to the Elk,...

Edgewood

By: S. Allen Chambers Jr.

This wooded streetcar suburb dates from the first decade of the twentieth century, when Charleston, according to a prospectus published by the Edgewood Land Company, was the “busiest little city south of Pittsburgh.” Edgewood Drive, the spine of the district, curves...

South Hills

By: S. Allen Chambers Jr.

The U.S. Postal Service designates it zip code 25314, and in 1990 the U.S. Census determined that its residents were the wealthiest and best educated in West Virginia. Not surprisingly, the neighborhood is distinguished by some of the state's finest twentieth-century period...

Southeast Charleston

By: S. Allen Chambers Jr.

Occupying the largest expanse of level land in Kanawha County, this section of Charleston was developed surprisingly late. The area was not platted until the 1890s, when former governor William A. MacCorkle and other capitalists assembled 3,200 acres of farmland to “...

Kanawha County (outside Charleston)

By: S. Allen Chambers Jr.

Kanawha, seventh oldest, fourth largest, and, with a 2000 population of 200,073, by far the most populous of West Virginia's fifty-five counties, was formed in 1789 and named for the river that runs through it. Kanawha is also one of the state's most diverse...

Malden

By: S. Allen Chambers Jr.

Known variously over the years as Kanawha Salines, Saltborough, Terra Salis, the Salines, and, after 1885, as Malden, this small community began as an informal settlement stretching along the turnpike. It was given more formal focus in 1831 when a salt manufacturer platted lots for...

Cedar Grove

By: S. Allen Chambers Jr.

Cedar Grove, first known as Kelly's Creek, was permanently settled in 1774 and was the pioneer community of the upper Kanawha valley. Located at the terminus of the old State Road, it was a point of embarkation for travelers and settlers when they transferred from an overland...

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