Italianate was the dominant style for American houses from 1850 to 1880. They were common in expanding towns and cities in the Midwest and Northeast. Identifying features include 2 or 3 story buildings with a low-pitched roof, widely overhanging eaves and large decorative brackets below the eaves. Windows are usually tall, narrow and often arched or curved at the top. Some Italianate houses also have a square cupola or tower and an elaborate wrap-around porch with decorative double columns and other details.
The Italianate style began in England as part of the Romantic or Picturesque movement, a reaction to formal classical ideas. The English emphasized rambling Italian farmhouses while architects in the United States followed the rural and informal models of the Picturesque/Romantic movement. This style was adapted for use as the typical “Main Street” commercial architecture in the Midwest. The Italianate style was popularized by Andrew Jackson Downing in the 1840s and 50s at the same time as Gothic Revival however by the 1860s, Italianate had replaced Gothic Revival as the most popular style.