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Step One: Visual Assessment of Your Home

Before you begin actual research, you can use clues from the appearance and building materials of your home to determine an approximate age of the house. One of the first things you can determine about your home is the ‘style.’ Different styles of homes were fashionable during different periods of time and by determining what the style is you can sometimes estimate the age of your house within 20 years. Listed below are some of the architectural styles found in Aurora. Other historic styles found in Aurora include: Second Empire, Gothic Revival, Italian Renaissance Revival, Romanesque Revival, Neoclassical, Eastlake, Modern, and Ranch. Check out the books listed below for more information on architectural styles and elements. Most of these books can be found at the Aurora Public Library.

14 S. Fourth Street - National Style

National Style (1840-1930)

  • 1 or 2 stories, front or side gabled
  • Usually square or rectangular in shape
  • May have 1 or 2 story wing

168 S. Lincoln Avenue - Greek Revival Style

Greek Revival (1840-1870)

  • Low pitched gable or hipped roof, often with “returns”
  • Cornice line emphasized with wide band of trim
  • Elements of Greek architecture—fluted columns, multi-paned windows
  • Most have porches
  • Entry sidelights or transoms

506 W. Downer Place - Italianate Style

Italianate (1855-1885)

  • Square or rectangular in shape, 2 or 3 stories
  • Brick, wood, masonry
  • Brackets under wide, overhanging leaves
  • Decorative window hoods
  • Tall first floor windows
  • Some have cupolas atop the low pitch roof

149 S. Fourth Street - Stick Style

Stick Style (1870-1890)

  • Steep pitched roofs with cross gables
  • Decorative roof truss work at peak of gable ends
  • Pattern of wood boards (vertical, horizontal, sometimes diagonal) breaking up clapboard into sections
  • Decorative millwork (brackets, rafter tails, porch details)

318 View Street - Queen Anne Style

Queen Anne (1880-1905)

  • Steeply pitched, compound roof
  • Irregular plan, asymmetrical facade
  • Variety of materials and textures, elaborate detailing
  • One story porch—sometimes wraps around facade
  • Towers, turrets, projecting bays are common

323 S. Lincoln Avenue - Shingle Style

Shingle (1880-1900)

  • Large scale massing, asymmetrical forms, and irregular and steeply pitched roofline
  • Continuous simple wood shingle cladding on walls and roof
  • Extensive porches

406-408 Cedar Street - Late Queen Anne Style

Late Queen Anne (1895-1915)

  • Transition between Queen Anne and Four Square
  • Square with front gable
  • Patterned shingles in the 3rd story

211 S. Fourth Street - Four Square Style

Four Square (1900-1930)

  • Simple 2 story box form with low pitched hipped roof (sometimes with a clipped peak)
  • One story porch on front facade
  • Symmetrical front facade, entry may be off center
  • Hipped dormers are common

1300 Garfield Avenue - Prairie Style

Prairie Style (1905-1925)

  • Low pitched hipped roof, wide overhanging eaves
  • 2 stories with 1 story wings or porches
  • Horizontal detailing
  • Massive square porch supports
  • Windows grouped in horizontal bands
  • Brick or stucco with decorative banding

435 W. New York Street - Bungalow Style

Bungalow (1905-1925)

  • Low pitched roof, wide overhanging eaves
  • Exposed brackets
  • Tapered porch columns, often resting on brick or stone piers
  • Roof dormers, exposed rafters
  • Double hung windows with 3 or more lights in upper sash and 1 in lower sash

726 Palace Street - Colonial/Dutch Colonial Style

Colonial/Dutch Colonial Revival (1890-1945)

  • Side gable or gambrel roof (Dutch Colonial)
  • Symmetrical windows, double hung with multiple panes in upper or both sashes
  • Dormers and window shutters
  • Smaller entry porches with classical columns or pilasters

361 Lawndale Avenue - English Cottage/Tudor Revival Style

English Cottage/Tudor Revival (1920-1940)

  • Stucco, brick, or masonry veneers
  • Many arched features
  • Steep rooflines, one or more front facing asymmetrical gables
  • Half-timbering detailing (Tudor Revival)
  • Double hung or casement windows with multiple panes
  • Shed dormers

Other Visual Clues

Types of Foundation

types of foundation

Limestone Block

limestone block

Rusticated Concrete Block

rusticated concrete block

Poured Concrete

After you’ve determined the style, try investigating around your home to find if any original conditions exist that could also help date your home. The foundation of your home if unaltered can be a fairly good determinant of age. Limestone block foundations are found on the earliest homes in Aurora and are often “parged” or covered with cement or another material. Concrete block foundations were first used around the turn of the 20th century. Both plain and rusticated concrete blocks were used. Poured concrete foundations are often found on masonry structures and, since they lie below ground level are usually not visible from the exterior of building. Original lighting, heating, cooling, and water systems as well as interior paint, wall coverings, and floor coverings can also offer clues to when the home was built.

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