Architecture / Style / French Colonial


  • 1700-1805 (Roth)
  • 1700-1830 (Blumenson)


Early French settlers of the eighteenth century built structures of a half-timber frame method called post on sill or poteaux-sur-sole. The spaces between the vertical posts were filled with clay and rubble stone or sometimes bricks. The lower slope of the pavilion-type roof projects well beyond the walls, forming a cover for the porch or galerie. French-type double casement windows are hinged at the sides or jambs and latch at the center. In French plantation houses of the early nineteenth century, the main floor is raised and encircled by a covered galerie. An exterior staircase provides access to the main living quarters. (Blumenson, 15)

This architectural style is characterized by narrow door and window openings, paired casement windows with exterior shutters, paired French doors, steeply pitched hipped or belcast gable roof, and half-timber framing with a stucco covering. These buildings are typically well suited to the hot, damp climate, where most, but not all, French Colonial building took place (Blumenson, 15).


Leading Examples

Homeplace Plantation, Hahnville, Louisiana (Blumenson, 15).

Cahokia Courthouse, Cahokia, Illinois (Blumenson, 15).


Sources Cited

Also see Architecture / Style index.