The Philadelphia Centennial of 1876 started an awakening of interest in the country’s colonial architectural heritage. The following year, the architects from the period’s premier architectural firm, McKim, Mead, and White, took a widely publicized tour through New England to study original Georgian and Federal houses. These two events inspired the architectural style known as Colonial Revival.
The early examples of Colonial Revival style were not replicas of Georgian and Federal houses. Rather they were free interpretations with details inspired by colonial models. Palladian windows are a frequent feature of early Colonial Revival houses, as are cornices decorated with modillions or dentils, elaborate broken pediments over windows and doors, pilasters, door surrounds with sidelights and sometimes also fanlights, and decorative medallions and swags.