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Howell Carnegie Library located along I-96 BL in Howell, Livingston County
In 1893 when the World's Columbian Exposition was held in Chicago, the theme of the fair was the Classical World. The buildings at the exposition were constructed to reflect the theme. Americans became familiar with the style through photographs and news stories written about the Exposition.
Just as previous architectural styles had achieved popularity after public exposure, this was the case with the Neo-Classical style also. Soon the style was appearing across the country, in commercial, institutional and residential structures.
The Neo-Classical Revival style of architecture represented an appearance of strength and stability. A building constructed in the style was usually the most imposing and impressive structure on the block. The style became the traditional design of choice for banks, museums, government buildings and institutions of learning.
The heavy influence of Greek and Roman temple design was reflected in all the characteristic features of the Neo-Classical Revival buildings.
- A porch, usually full-height rose to the top of the building.
- Large, prominent columns with decorative caps, supported the porch roof. A variation of the style eliminated the porch and instead placed the columns on either side of the entrance.
- Square blocks (called modillions) lined the underside of the roofine, and were used for decoration.
- In keeping with the appearance of permanence, the building was constructed of masonry.
The style was so identified with specific purpose buildings, (such as libraries and banks), that it remained in fashion for decades. From roughly 1895 into the 1930s, Neo- Classical Revival design continued to be used in commercial and institutional architecture.