History behind Nashville’s Victorian homes

Taking it back to the oldest style, let’s explore what makes Victorian Era homes still seen in Nashville today so unique.

A brown brick home with many windows, a tower-like structure, and white, round porch stands behind a wrought iron fence.

Something about this quaint porch scratches our brain just right.

Photo by NASHtoday

Table of Contents

Behind door No. 2 in Metro’s Old House Series is Victorian architecture — a style that dates back to the mid-1800s, though still spotted around Nashville if you go looking.

We previously highlighted the history and characteristics of Craftsman homes (apparently, the most popular style in Tennessee), but we thought it was time to run down the list by era.

🔨 Where did it come from?

While many use the descriptor “Victorian” to refer to any old house, the term specifically refers to a complex and irregular style of home built between 1850-1900 during Queen Victoria’s reign in England.

Many styles make up the era, including Italianate, Second Empire, Queen Anne, Eastlake, Romanesque, and transitional designs. This paired with eclectic mixing and matching of designs makes finding a true example difficult, especially as other periods adopted Victorian influences.

The exterior of Two Rivers Mansion with an ornate, two-story porch a red brick building.

Two Rivers Mansion is an example of a an Italianate-style home.

Photo by Skye Marthaler via Wikimedia Commons

🔍 Spot that style

  • Italianate style | Low-pitched roofs, overhanging eaves with decorative brackets, and tall, narrow windows
  • Second Empire | Like Italianate with a French mansard roof and dormer windows
  • Queen Anne | Often two stories with a front-facing gable, one-story porch, steeply-pitched + irregularly-shaped roof, and asymmetrical façade with patterned shingles
  • Eastlake | Like Queen Anne, yet smaller in size and stonework is usually just on chimneys and foundations
  • Romanesque | Heavy stonework + low, rounded arches and similar in style to a larger-scale Queen Anne
  • Transitional | Decorations were scaled back and ornaments more closely follow classics of ancient Greece and Rome — in place of porches, you may see columns

🏡 Love it? Live it

If you like what you’re hearing, check out some Victorian-style homes on the market today.

  • East Edgefield Victorian | $3,415,000 | 5BD, 6BA | Designed by the architect behind Ryman Auditorium + features seven fireplaces, heated saltwater pool, and guest cottage
  • Lockeland Springs Victorian | $2,350,000 | 3BD, 3BA | 12-ft ceilings, original stained glass dining window, and a full apartment over the garage
More from NASHtoday