Last edited 26 Apr 2017

Stick style

Stick-Style.jpg

The Stick style was an American architectural style that was prevalent between around 1860 and 1890.

The most distinctive stylistic element of the Stick style is the decorative stickwork or bands of wood trim applied horizontally, vertically or diagonally to the exterior wall surfaces. A similar pattern of decorative wood trim appears in the trusses of the gables and across gables and on the porch braces.

The Stick style is considered to be a transitional style, with decorative details similar to the preceding Gothic Revival style, and a shape and form closely related to the following Queen Anne style. All three styles are inspired by Medieval English building tradition and therefore, share some common features.

Unlike the Gothic Revival style, the Stick style treats wall surfaces, not just doorways, cornices, windows and porches as decorative elements.

Like other Picturesque styles, the Stick style was promoted by the pattern books of Andrew Jackson Downing in the mid-1800s.

The exterior stickwork was considered to be display structural honesty by showing the supportive wooden understructure on the outside. Since the stickwork on the walls was purely decorative rather than structurally relevant, such an argument for the greater integrity of form of this style seems somewhat unfounded.

The Stick style was never as popular and wide spread as the somewhat later Queen Anne style which appears in various forms all over the United States.

Some of the key identifiable features of the Stick style are as follows:

  • Steeply pitched gable roof.
  • Cross gables.
  • Decorative trusses at gable peak.
  • Overhanging eaves with exposed rafters.
  • Wood exterior walls with clapboards.
  • Horizontal, vertical or diagonal decorative wood trim - stickwork.
  • Porches with diagonal or curved braces.
  • Towers.

--Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission

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