Kit Houses

Chronology Block 2 Guides

Early builder’s guides allowed carpenters to supplement their own professional knowledge with instruction on the latest in architectural styles and ornamental details. Asher Benjamin, a carpenter from Greenfield, Massachusetts, is credited with publishing the first manual for American builders, The Country Builder’s Assistant, in 1797. His guides typically featured plates illustrating the Classical orders on columns, balustrades, moldings, door, and window surrounds, and countless other details drawn to scale. Although some guides featured floor plans and elevations, the emphasis was on architectural details. It was through these guidebooks that the popularity of styles like the Greek Revival spread nationwide, even into rural areas. Builders could incorporate details into buildings based on local preferences and affordability.