chapter  6
56 Pages

Architecture in the Age of Energy and Enterprise, 1865–1885

Parvenu Taste in an Expanding Economy
ByLeland M. Roth, Amanda C. Roth Clark

Building activity had declined somewhat in the United States after a business depression began in 1857. That depression, in the North, was ended by the rapid militarization necessitated by the outbreak of the Civil War. The unbridled energy of the age in the North, the confident enthusiasm, and the brash parvenu taste resulted in an architecture that consciously attempted to be modern, vigorous, and more energetic than previous expressions. During the two decades after the Civil War public and private architecture continued to be dominated by two major styles, one generically Classical and the other generically Gothic. Domestic building was vigorous after the Civil War, particularly in and around rapidly expanding cities like Chicago and in the fast-growing suburbs around every major city. In the early 1870s, the United States was swept up in the nineteenth-century passion for grand expositions initiated by the world's fair held in London in 1851.