Colonial Revival

Visitors to the Heller Homestead recognize the importance of the place as the property on which early European colonists from Germany arrived in the Saucon Creek region, the homestead of the people who gave Hellertown its name. There are, however, several other significant aspects to the Homestead.

For example, the house is registered as a National Register of Historic Places not because of the property’s long historical lineage but because the house is considered an example of Colonial Revival architecture due to the remodeling the Geyer family did in the mid-1930s. The owners decided to update the house with several then-popular Colonial Revival details such as fanlight style windows over the front entrance door. The house lent itself to the Colonial Revival remodeling because the Hellers, when they expanded the original one-room, two-story stone house in 1791, employed the center-hall Colonial (also called Georgian) style. More than a century later, the central hall entrance design made the renovation relatively easy, although any remodeling that involves thick, stone walls poses challenges. The historical narrative of the house for NRHP says:

During the renovation work, the stone walls were altered, with the insertion of stone jack arches over the windows. The entrance was widened, with a large fanlight and
sidelights inserted around the door. Stone chimneys were installed at each end of the
ridge, replacing the older brick chimneys. The earlier front porch (east elevation) was removed and replaced by the current arcuated porch.

 

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Arcuated means: A structure erected using arches rather than columns and lintels.

The owners who lived in the Heller House during the 1930s and 1940s clearly wanted their home to appear more up-to-date. They may have thought the stone-front, Pennsylvania-German look was old-fashioned–and it was. Now, even the Colonial-Revival architecture is considered “historic.”

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About Ann E. Michael

Poet, educator, librettist, essayist, gardener and loafer in the Whitman tradition...when possible. See my blog pages for more information: how to contact me; where to purchase my books; links to poems and essays on the web. Find me on LinkedIn. Go outside and observe the world. Unplug for awhile, and reconnect--read poetry.
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