By Gretchen Sawatzki
The Greek Revival style of architecture is considered America's first national style with an influence spreading north to south, and east to west. Nowhere is the style more evident than in Southeast Michigan. Dotted along our cities' streets, these simplistic structures are testaments to an in depth history like no other style of architecture.
|Classic Greek Revival Style home.|
The Michigan Territory was officially recognized by the United States government in 1805, seven years prior to the War of 1812. Around this time the territory was experiencing skirmishes led by the English desperate to gain possession of land and waterways once previously held by their French adversaries. With the war ending in 1815, democratic fever swept over the nation, and with wars of independence sprouting up in countries all over the world including Greece. Between 1821 and 1832, the Greeks fought to gain independence from the Ottoman Empire, during which time, Michigan was undergoing its own change moving from a territory to an officially incorporated state in the union in 1837.
|Bust of Demetrius Ypsilanti|
As Greekmania swept across the country the style took on many different features including the addition of two side appendages. This particular iteration of the style can only be found in Southeast Michigan and is called the "hen and chicks" as the building resembles a hen wrapping her wings around two small chicks. The Greek Revival style remained popular into the 1860s, but fell out of favor in most areas of Michigan a decade earlier.
|Example of Southeast Michigan's "hen and chicks"|
remember that these buildings are more than any average style of architecture. The Greek Revival is a symbol of democracy that has an interwoven story in the history of Michigan.