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Shaker architecture

Shaker architecture. The Shakers (or United Society of Believers in Christ's Second Appearing) were founded by the English-born Ann Lee (1736–84), who emigrated to America in 1774 and gathered around her sufficient followers to establish a religious sect. Believing that odd or fanciful styles of architecture, with mouldings, cornices, etc., should be eschewed, the Shakers created plain meetinghouses in which they could perform their ‘round dances’ that were part of their ritual, so large areas of floor space were essential. Believing also that light and cleanliness were the antithesis of evil, buildings had numerous windows. One of the finest is the Round Barn, Hancock, MA (1826—supposedly designed by Daniel Goodrich (1765–1835) ), and indeed at Hancock are several excellent examples of Shaker architecture. Among the meetinghouses those at New (now Mount) Lebanon, NY (1785—replaced 1824), and Pleasant Hill, KY (designed by Micajah Burnett (1791–1829), deserve mention. Burnett and Moses Johnson (1752–1842) seem to have been the most important Shaker architects and builders. In addition to the agreeably serene buildings, Shaker furniture has been much admired for its graceful simplicity and excellent construction.

Bibliography

Larkin et al. (1994);
Lassiter (1966);
Poppeliers (ed.) (1974);
Jane Turner (1996)

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