The Federal-Style Stone Home


After the American Revolution, we strayed somewhat from the Georgian home style. It’s hard to blame Early Americans, fresh off the battlefield and not so keen on building homes taken from the pages of English pattern books.

Fort Hunter Mansion, Front Entrance, Federal style stone mansion, old stone home, Harrisburg, PA, colonial homeThus emerged the “Adam” style, made famous by Scottish architects Robert and James Adam, brothers who designed large country estates in England, circa 1750- 1800. Once word spread to our side of the pond, the name was surreptitiously changed to “Federal” and a truly American architectural form was born.

The Federal style borrows the Georgian adherence to Roman classical design; the center hall, symmetrical design elements and side-gabled roof all remain. The styles diverge by way of formal features: Think delicate, sophisticated ornamentation, a front door fanlight window, three-part or Palladian windows with curved arches and curving or polygonal window projections.

Fort Hunter Mansion, located along the Susquehanna River in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, provides a fine example of Federal style. Built with stone quarried locally, the home boasts refined details that would have showcased its owners’s wealth and position in society.

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