Raymond House, 220 North Scott Street, 1937

Classical Revival

1890 to 1990

By Peter Barr

Adrian City Hall, 135 East Maumee Street, 1907, designed by Adrian architect Christian Frederick Matthes

Generally dating slightly later than the Colonial Revival and sometimes discussed together with it, the Classical Revival style took on a life of its own after the appearance of the Classical Revival buildings at the widely attended, photographed and discussed World’s Columbian Exposition, which was held in Chicago in 1893.

The distinctive features of the “Classical Revival” style (also known as the Neoclassical or the Classic Revival) are the Colossal Greek or Roman columns and/or pilasters and perhaps a Palladian window or swags to dominate a symmetrical façade. These features can appear on buildings with a variety of forms. 

Public buildings in this style can be quite impressive, as in C. Frederick Matthes’ design for the 1907 Lenawee County Savings Bank (now Adrian City Hall), at 135 East Maumee Street. A couple of Classical Revival buildings in Adrian predate the Columbian Exposition. The earliest example in Adrian is Saint Joseph's Catholic Church (perhaps more accurately described as Renaissance Revival), the facade of which was designed in the 1870s for Father Rohowski by Detroit architect Peter Dederichs to resemble Saint Peter's Cathedral in Rome.  It is also evident in the 1887 portico of Madden Hall, which is the Mother House of the Adrian Dominican Sisters.