Romanesque Revival - Richardsonian Romanesque

Black and white photo of Romanesque Revival - Richardsonian Romanesque (5LO.38)

St. Anthony's church (5LO.38) in Sterling.

The chief characteristic of the Romanesque Revival style is the semicircular arch, used for window and door openings as well as a decorative element along the corbel table.  Other characteristics include an archivolt of compound arches and square towers of different heights and various roof shapes.  A crenellated tower parapet is common.  The Romanesque Revival style, exemplified by St. Anthony’s Church in Sterling, is found mainly on churches and large institutional buildings.

Black and white photo of a Richardsonian Romanesque style house - 5DV.1488

The Dunning-Benedict house (5DV.1488), a Denver example of the Richardsonian Romanesque style

Richardsonian Romanesque, named after architect Henry Hobson Richardson (1838-1886), is characterized by heavy, rock-faced stone, round masonry arches, contrasting colors, transom windows arranged in ribbon-like patterns, square towers, and sparse fenestration.  The Pueblo Union Depot is as similar to Richardson's work as any structure in Colorado, and yet, is not a pure example.  Most of the Richardsonian Romanesque structures are variations of the style, employing selected Richardsonian elements.


Common elements:

  1. semicircular arch
  2. corbel table
  3. archivolt
  4. compound arch
  5. square tower
  6. rock-faced stone
  7. round masonry arches
  8. contrasting colors
  9. transom windows in ribbon pattern

<< Colorado's Historic Architecture & Engineering Guide