Gothic Revival (1830-1930)

San Francisco Landmark #170: Grace Cathedral Close French Gothic
Grace Cathedral in San Francisco
Built 1928-1964
Photographed 14 June 2003
San Francisco Landmark 5: Saint Francis of Assisi Church
Norman Gothic
Saint Francis of Assisi Church in San Francisco
Built 1874
Photographed 5 July 2010
Capt. Brown House in Camptonville Carpenter Gothic
Capt. Brown House in Camptonville
Built 1854
Photographed 12 December 2013
National Register #75000446: First Presbyterian Church in Napa, California
Victorian Gothic
First Presbyterian Church in Napa
Built 1874
Photographed 25 November 2010

(Click Photos to Zoom)

In 1747, English author Sir Horace Walpole purchased a cottage in Twickenham on the river Thames. Inspired by medieval churches and cathedrals, Walpole transformed his cottage into the mansion now called Strawberry Hill, the first Gothic Revival building.

Gothic Revival buildings are characterized by:

  • Pointed windows with decorative tracery
  • Grouped chimneys
  • Pinnacles
  • Battlements and shaped parapets
  • Leaded glass
  • Quatrefoil and clover-shaped windows
  • Oriel windows
  • Asymmetrical floor plan

Most Gothic Revival homes were romantic adaptations of medieval architecture which did not try to replicate authentic Gothic styles.

John Ruskin and others championed authentic recreations of Gothic architecture in a style that became known as High Gothic Revival, High Victorian Gothic, or Neo-Gothic. This monumental style was used for churches and public buildings. Residences continued to be built in the more modest Romantic style. The High Victorian style is rare in California. Grace Cathedral in San Francisco approaches the High Gothic Revival style in ambition and authenticity.

Some characteristics of th High style are:

  • Masonry construction
  • Patterned brick and multi-colored stone
  • Stone carvings of leaves, birds, and gargoyles
  • Strong vertical lines and a sense of great height
  • Realistic recreation of authentic medieval styles

Gothic Revival in the United States

In 1837, New York architect Alexander Jackson Davis published Rural Residences, Etc. (Consisting of Designs, Original and Selected, for Cottages, Farm-Houses, Villas, and Village Churches: with Brief Explanations, Estimates, and a Specification of Materials, Construction, Etc.). The book was published under the superintendence of several gentlemen, with a view to the improvement of american country architecture.

Davis designed Lyndhurst, an estate in Tarrytown, New York, that became a model for Victorian Gothic architecture in the United States. Early Gothic Revival homes, built of stone and flaunting pinnacles and parapets, were only for the wealthy. Then came bourgeoise Gothic Revival homes built of brick with wooden trim and finally Carpenter Gothic cottages and farmhouses built entirely of wood.

Trickle down architecture.

Carpenter Gothic

Two popular pattern books by landscape architect Andrew Jackson Downing helped spread the Gothic Revival style across the United States. These books were Victorian Cottage Residences (1842) and The Architecture of Country Houses (1850).

Following patterns in these books, carpenters could decorate modest wooden cottages with factory-made trim ordered from catalogs.

Carpenter Gothic houses are characterized by:

  • Steeply pitched roof
  • Lacy bargeboards
  • Windows with pointed arches
  • One story porch
  • Asymmetrical floor plan
  • Steep cross gables
  • Bay and oriel windows
  • Vertical board and batten trim


Name Year Address City Sort Address Sort Name
Alamo Ranchhouse188720205 South Virginia StreetSteamboat, NVVirginia S 20205Alamo Ranchhouse
Bardsdale Church18981418 Bardsdale AvenueFillmoreBardsdale 1418Bardsdale Church
Beall House18631253 Beall LaneCentral Point, ORBeallBeall House
Berding House1875455 Ocean AvenueFerndaleOcean 0455 Berding House
Berkeley City Club19292315 DurantBerkeleyDurant 2315Berkeley City Club
Bowles Hall1928Stadium Rim Way and Gayley RoadUC BerkeleyStadium RimBowles Hall
Brown House185415448 Cleveland AvenueCamptonvilleCleveland 15448Brown House
Building at 660 Market Street1924660 Market StreetSan FranciscoMarket 0660Building at 660 Market Street
Bybee (Frank) House19004491 Jacksonville HighwayJacksonvilleJacksonville 4491Bybee (Frank) House
Cathedral House19121051 Taylor StreetSan FranciscoTaylor 1051Cathedral House
Church of the Good Shepherd18781001 Hearst StreetBerkeleyHearst 1001Church of the Good Shepherd
Colusa Grammar School 1918425 Webster Street ColusaWebster 0425Colusa Grammar School
Combellack-Blair House18953059 Cedar Ravine PlacervilleCedar RavineCombellack-Blair House
Commodore Watkins House186698 Alejandra AvenueAtherton AlejandraCommodore Watkins House
Community Church of Gonzales1883340 Day StreetGonzalesDay 0340Community Church of Gonzales
Cooper House1861Main Street & American Flat RoadFiddletownMainCooper House
Coos Bay Bridge1936US 101North Bend, ORHighway 101Coos Bay Bridge
Episcopal Church of Our Savior18652979 Coloma StreetPlacervilleColoma 2979Episcopal Church of Our Savior
First Baptist Church1857300 Main StreetNevada CityMain 0300First Baptist Church
First Congregational Church 1908165 East Mill Avenue PortervilleMill E 0165First Congregational Church
First Presbyterian Church1867196 South C StreetVirginia City Street C S 0196First Presbyterian Church
First Presbyterian Church18741333 3rd Street Napa Street 03 1333First Presbyterian Church
First United Methodist Church1925209 West 1st StreetReno, NV Street 01 W 0209First United Methodist Church
Flatiron Building1913540-548 Market StreetSan FranciscoMarket 0540Flatiron Building
Gould-Shaw House1862215 North Cloverdale BoulevardCloverdaleCloverdale N 0215Gould-Shaw House
Grace Cathedral19281051 Taylor StreetSan FranciscoTaylor 1051Grace Cathedral
Grace Episcopal Church190612547 Route 9Boulder CreekRoute 9Grace Episcopal Church
Hinds Hotel1873306 Bohemian Highway FreestoneBohemian 0302Hinds Hotel
Hubbard-Upson House 18571010 F Street Sacramento Street F 1010Hubbard-Upson House
Joaquin Miller House1886Joaquin Miller Road and Sanborn Drive OaklandJoaquinJoaquin Miller House
Lathrop House1863627 Hamilton StreetRedwood CityHamilton 0627Lathrop House
Marentis House187445 Monterey Street San Juan BautistaMonterey 0045Marentis House
McLaren Lodge 1896Golden Gate ParkSan FranciscoGolden Gate ParkMcLaren Lodge
Medico-Dental Building1927242 North Sutter Street StocktonSutter N 0242Medico-Dental Building
Methodist Episcopal Church 1872777 Miramontes Street Half Moon BayMiramontesMethodist Episcopal Church
Methodist Episcopal Church 1890112 Stage RoadPescaderoStage 0112Methodist Episcopal Church
Miller House1856704 D Street Marysville Street D 0704Miller House
Monterey County Jail1930142 West Alisal StreetSalinasWest Alisal 0142Monterey County Jail
New Sequoia Theater Building19292211-2235 Broadway StreetRedwood CityBroadway 2211New Sequoia Theater Building
Newman United Methodist Church 1875128 Northeast B StreetGrants Pass, OR Street B N 0128Newman United Methodist Church
Nightingale House1882201 Buchanan StreetSan FranciscoBuchanan 0201Nightingale House
Old St. Mary's Church1854660 California StreetSan FranciscoCalifornia 0660Old St. Mary's Church
Oregon Bank Building 1930905 Main StreetKlamath Falls, ORMain 0905Oregon Bank Building
Our Lady of Lourdes Church 1880345 Oak Street ColusaOak 0345Our Lady of Lourdes Church
Phelps House18501111 Oak StreetSan FranciscoOak 1111Phelps House
Pickel Rental House 1900815 West Main Street Medford, ORMain W 0815Pickel Rental House
Porter-Vallejo Mansion187429 Bishop StreetPajaroBishop 0029Porter-Vallejo Mansion
Prescott House 186412 Page Street Virginia City, NVPage 0012Prescott House
Ramirez House1851220 5th StreetMarysville Street 05 0220Ramirez House
Record House1874146 West 2nd Street Winnemucca Street 02 W 0146Record House
Russ Building1927235 Montgomery Street San FranciscoMontgomery 0235Russ Building
Sacred Heart Catholic Church 1883507 East 4th StreetAlturas Street 04 E 0507Sacred Heart Catholic Church
Saint Paul the Prospector Episcopal Church187687 F StreetVirginia City Street F 0087Saint Paul the Prospector Episcopal Church
See House1905611 Lincoln StreetSitkaLincoln 0611See House
Shell Building1929100 Bush StreetSan FranciscoBush 0100Shell Building
St. Anthony's Church1869700 Block of North Street PescaderoNorth 0700St. Anthony's Church
St. Augustine's Catholic Church1866113 Virginia HillAustinVirginia 0113St. Augustine's Catholic Church
St. Augustine's Episcopal Church1893525 29th StreetOakland Street 29St. Augustine's Episcopal Church
St. Bernard Catholic Church1886615 H StreetEureka Street H 0615St. Bernard Catholic Church
St. Canice Catholic Church1864316 Washington StreetNevada CityWashington 0316St. Canice Catholic Church
St. Francis of Assisi Church 1860610 Vallejo StreetSan FranciscoVallejo 0610St. Francis of Assisi Church
St. James Episcopal Church1897210 East Third StreetCoquille, OR Street 03St. James Episcopal Church
St. Joseph Catholic Church18624983 Bullion Street MariposaBullion 4983St. Joseph Catholic Church
St. Mary's Parish1906515 Main StreetRed BluffMain 0515St. Mary's Parish
St. Patrick's Church1872756 Mission StreetSan FranciscoMission 0756St. Patrick's Church
St. Paul's Episcopal Church 1860120 East J StreetBenicia Street J E 0120St. Paul's Episcopal Church
St. Paul's Methodist Episcopal Church 190740 School StreetPoint Arena.School 0040St. Paul's Methodist Episcopal Church
Sonoma First Baptist Church1850542 1st Street EastSonoma0 Street 01 E 0542Sonoma First Baptist Church
Stow House1873304 North Los Carneros RoadGoletaLos Carneros 304Stow House
Suisun City Masonic Lodge 1868623 Main StreetSuisun CityMain 0623Suisun City Masonic Lodge
Sunset Center1925San Carlos Street Between 8th and 10th StreetsCarmel-By-The-SeaSan Carlos Sunset Center
Thorn House185787 East Saint Charles StreetSan AndreasSaint Charles 0087Thorn House
Trinity Episcopal Church189444 North Second Street Ashland, OR Street 02 N 0044Trinity Episcopal Church
Union Church of Dunnigan18923615 County Road 89A DunniganCR 089Union Church of Dunnigan
Winters Ranch1864US 395 Near Winters CreekWashoe Valley395-10Winters Ranch
Woodbridge Masonic Lodge18821040 East Augusta Street WoodbridgeAugustaWoodbridge Masonic Lodge
Yerba Buena Island Lighthouse1873Yerba Buena IslandSan Francisco BayYerba Buena IslandYerba Buena Island Lighthouse
Yosemite Valley Chapel18799000 Southside DriveYosemite National ParkSouthside 9000Yosemite Valley Chapel
Macy's Department Store1928101 Stockton StreetSan FranciscoStockton 0101Macy's Department Store

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