|Inside of Unfinished Dome - Longwood
|Iranistan - Library of Congress
|Olana - Library of Congress
|Moorish Architecture is a style of architecture common in Spain
from the 13th to the 16th centuries characterized by
In the United States, Washington Irving's travel sketch, Alhambra
(1832) first brought Moorish Andalusia into readers' imaginations;
one of the first neo-Moorish structures was Iranistan, a mansion of
P. T. Barnum in Bridgeport, Connecticut. Constructed in 1848 and
demolished by fire ten years later, this architectural extravaganza
"sprouted bulbous domes and horseshoe arches".
Barnum said that in visiting Brighton, England, he had been greatly
pleased with the pavilion built there by George IV. George IV, had
ordered John Nash, the architect, to give his residence on the
south coast - Brighton Pavilion - "an Eastern character." This,
described by Nash as "the Hindoo style of architecture." It was at
that time the only specimen of Oriental architecture in England, and
the style had not been introduced into America. "I concluded to
adopt it, and engaged a London architect to furnish me a set of
drawings after the general plan of the pavilion, differing sufficiently
to be adapted to the spot of ground selected for my homestead. On
my second return visit to the United States, I brought these
drawings with me and engaged a competent architect and builder,
giving him instructions to proceed with the work, not 'by the job' but
'by the day,' and to spare neither time nor expense in erecting a
comfortable, convenient, and tasteful residence.
Longwood (Nutt's Folly), Natchez Mississippi
Longwood is the largest octagon house in the World. The house
was started in 1859 by Dr. Haller Nutt. The design of the house
was created by a Philadelphia architect named Samuel Sloan and it
resembled an eight-sided castle. It also has a sixteen-sided cupola
on the top with an onion-shaped dome. It was designed to be six
stories tall and made of brick, marble and plaster with eight rooms
on each floor, surrounding a rotunda.
The construction on the house continued through 1860 but came to
a halt the following spring when the Civil War broke out. Sloan and
his workers returned home to fight for the Union, leaving Nutt's
home far from complete.... which is exactly how it still stands today.
Locals dubbed the house "Nutt's Folly."
Named for a fortress treasure-house in ancient Persia, Olana was the home of
Frederic Edwin Church (1826-1900) a student of Thomas Cole, and major figure
in the Hudson River School of landscape painting. Olana was built high on a hill
near Hudson, New York between 1870 and 1891.
|Olana - Library of Congress
|Joseph Jefferson House, New Iberia, La
The 1870s home reflects Moorish, Steamboat Gothic, French and Southern
plantation architectural styles. The dinning room is a tribute to Moorish style.
The house was designed by Jefferson and George Francis an architect. Joe
Jefferson was a famous actor of the 19th century best known for portraying Rip
Van Winkle from Washington Irving.
1888 St. Augustine home built by William Warden a Standard Oil compatriot of
Henry Flagler. Home is now the first Ripley's Believe it or Not.
St. Augustine's original contribution to Moorish design built by Franklin Smith as
a model of the Alhambra after Washington Irving's description. In 1883 he built
Villa Zorayda using concrete mixed with coquina. While not the first concrete
houses built in the United States it was one of the first and the mixture with
coquina gives it a St. Augustine look that compares with the Castillo de San
Marco (the old Spanish fort).
St. Augustine has several other Moorish houses dating into the Moorish
revival of the 1890s. The Brooks Villa is located on the 174 Avenida
Menendez in St. Augustine, Florida.
In the mid-1920s, developer Glen Curtiss bought land north of Miami and built
an entire city of Moorish buildings. Under Curtiss' plan, nearly every building
in Opa-locka, Fla., had a dome and minaret. It became known as "the
Baghdad of the South" and "the Baghdad of Florida."
St. Augustine's Flagler Hotels - Ponce de Leon, Alcazar and Franklin Smith's Casa
Monica continue the Moorish Architecture on a grand scale. These hotels
introduced America to the Moorish Architecture starting in the 1880s. The term
that the hotels would use was Spanish architecture in keeping with the historical
traditions of St. Augustine.
|Ponce de Leon - Courtyard
|Villa Flora - St. Augustine built by a Baptist minister in the 1890s. Home to
Sisters of St. Joseph today.
Tampa Hotel by Henry Plant
The hotel was built in 1891 by Henry Plant in Tampa, Florida. With 511
rooms it was built of concrete. Today, it's the Henry Plant Museum.