Shingle Style: What is This Jargon!?!

I’m currently working on a National Register nomination for a privately owned home in the Thousand Islands on Bluff Island. Bluff Island is located in the township of Clayton, New York. The property is a shingle-style summer cottage that was constructed in 1901 for a family from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The family, the Robinson family, lived on the island every summer until 1948 when, Anne Holdship Robinson, the last owner of the home passed away.

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This is a side view of the summer cottage located on Bluff Island. The home overlooks the St. Lawrence River and faces south towards mainland New York. The current owners are currently restoring the home, which includes replacing some of the shingles that are beyond repair.
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This is a close-up of the shingles seen under the covered porch area. The porch wraps around the first floor of the home. Shingles in the porch area are being saved because they are in such wonderful condition and show minimum weathering.

This seemed like a great opportunity to show off some wonderful images of shingle-style homes I’ve seen throughout my adventures. Looking through my photo collections, I realized almost all of my images of shingle style properties are located in the Thousand Islands, which is unsurprising because the style is commonly found in seaside summer resort areas such as Newport, Long Island, Nantucket, Martha’s Vineyard, and the Thousand Islands.

The shingle-style, which is sometimes considered the “seaside style,” evolved and borrowed elements from other 19th century architectural styles such as Queen Anne, Colonial Revival, and even Richardsonian Romanesque.i

These shingle-style homes were typically built as summer cottages for America’s elite who had the means to build homes that would only be lived in a few months of the year. Architects who received commissions to design these homes included McKim, Mead, and White, H. H. Richardson, and William Ralph Emerson.ii

These architects designed homes that varied greatly because of the influence of elements from Queen Anne and Colonial Revival styles: porches, asymmetrical massing, gambrel roofs, columns, Romanesque arches, irregular shapes, and towers could all be seen on Shingle style homes.iii The key element that hold all of these architectural parts together, are the extensive use of wooden shingles for exterior cladding. The use of the wooden shingles created a sense of a smooth, uninterrupted surface of these massive, irregular homes without getting caught up on the details.iv

The following images highlight a number of shingle-style buildings I have seen in the Thousand Islands and there is one home located in Potsdam, NY that does incorporate shingles.

If you have any awesome shingle-style homes in your neighbor share them in the comments below!

Footnotes:

i. Mark Gelerneter, A History of American Architecture: Buildings in Their Cultural and Technological Context (Hanover, NH: University Press of New England, 2001), 181.

ii. Ibid.

iii. Virginia and Lee McAlester, A Field Guide to American Houses (New York: Alfred A. Knopp, Inc., 1991), 290.

iv. Gelerneter, 181.

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