DARTMOUTH, MASSACHUSETTS - Combining pastime with profession, UMass Dartmouth librarian Bruce Barnes has created an Internet web site about “stick style” architecture that features photographs, history, and detailed bibliographic references for the serious researcher. Barnes created the site to serve as a guide to “stick style” structures, an important but relatively rare style in American Victorian architecture dating from 1860-1890.
Stick style buildings are noted for a number of unique features united by the use of so called “sticks” which include flat board banding and other applied ornamentation in geometric patterns that adorn the exterior clapboard wall surface. Similar to their European counterparts, many stick style buildings have asymmetrical floor plans with steeply pitched slate roofs, topped by iron cresting.
Barnes owns the Samuel H. Cook House, featured in the New Bedford section of the site, and has spent many years researching the style and the period in order to restore the exterior and the interior of his own home. He is also president of the New Bedford Preservation Society.
“There are five New Bedford properties on the web site,” said Barnes. “New Bedford’s stick style homes are in good condition, which isn’t necessarily the case in other cities. New Bedford should be proud of the fact that so many of these beautiful buildings are being preserved.”
Barnes photographed most of the buildings himself, traveling throughout Massachusetts and to Rhode Island, Connecticut, New Jersey and New York. “In addition to the photographs and descriptions of the buildings, I wanted to create a scholarly reference guide that offered in-depth and varied resources beyond the same half-dozen sources I kept running into when I started researching the style,” added Barnes.
Barnes started working on the web site this spring so that it would be available to students in the university’s American Architecture class, taught this fall by art history professor Thomas Puryear. Although the stick style can be considered a celebration of wood frame construction, there are many brick homes that legitimately fall into the classification. Barnes noted that the Mark Twain House in Hartford, constructed of brick, is considered an exemplar of the style.
You can visit the Internet website developed by Mr. Barnes at http://www.lib.umassd.edu/reference/stickarch/stick_architecture.html