Named for the classicizing architecture built in the newly founded United States between 1780 and 1830, and particularly from 1785 to 1815, the style shares its name with its era, the Federal Period.

The Federal style typically used plain surfaces with attenuated detail, usually isolated in panels, tablets, and friezes. It had a flatter, smoother fa├žade and rarely used pilasters. It was a style influenced by ancient Roman architecture.

At the time, before there were many formally trained architects, a gentleman’s education included the ability to draw a idiomatic classical elevation plan for craftsmen, who where masons and carpenters, and who had knowledge of the classical vocabulary. They produced a vernacular, or localized version, of this style of architecture.

Louisville’s earliest townhouses were created in the Federal style. The few surviving Federalist buildings we have today are of the late Federal style.