In today’s streamlined world of glass and chrome and Minimalism, there’s just something comforting and nostalgic about the great architecture of bygone days. Nearly every little town and big city is home to a least a few of these “gingerbread gems” of the mid-nineteenth century. These were the days when craftsmen and woodworkers, carpenters and woodcarvers abounded, and the great millworks churned out miles of fluted columns, intricate stick and ball spandrels, incised gable pediments, and all manner of fancywork which has come to be known as “gingerbread”. Looking like frosted wedding cakes, these houses are full of charm and whimsy and are momuments still to what the human mind and hand can produce when inspired.
Who cannot smile and imagine the family which must have dwelled within? What little girl cannot fantasize about a miniature version as a dollhouse or playhouse for tea parties? These were the settings for gracious and leisurely times- times we will never see again when lemonade was served in colorful lemonade services on the porch while ladies in their Sunday best bent low over embroidery hoops and chatted gently about the society news with friends and neighbors. More was more- and nothing was left unadorned. And what a variety of adornments to choose from! With the great revival styles from Stick Gothic to Greek and Neo-classic, Italianate to Colonial, the builder’s world was a smorgasbord of possibilities.
Fall River is blessed with many and varied fine examples of the architecture of the Victorian age both in private homes and public buildings and workplaces. One can only hope that this will always be the case and these amazing edifices will remain for many generations to come.