MissPres Architectural Word of the Week: Quatrefoil

Time for another MissPres Architectural Word of the Week. As we move right along through the alphabet, you can check out our past words here. This week’s word is a Gothic and Renaissance (both original and revival) architecture staple, but has made it into the more eclectic styles that borrow from these styles as well. There are lots of examples in the MDAH Historic Resources Database. This week’s word is brought to you by the letter Q for “Quatrefoil” as defined by Cyril M. Harris’s Dictionary of Architecture and Construction. I look forward to every other week when I get to scour the MDAH HRI Database for images for our MissPres AWotW. I thought this week why not share that fun with everyone? Can you spot the Quatrefoil in all of the example images? The St. Joseph Catholic Church, of Port Gibson provides an excellent example of what a Quatrefoil looks like.

Quatrefoil: (ka-tər-ˌfȯi(-ə)l ) A four-lobed pattern divided by cusps.

I had to look up “Cusps” to fully understand the definition of Quatrefoil. I learned that Cusps are “the intersection of two arcs”. Without these Cusps the Quatrefoil might just flatten out to a round circle. A Quatrefoil might also be described as a “clover”. So as I ask every week my MissPres friends, do you have a favorite Mississippi building with a Quatrefoil(s)? If so please share it with us! Be on the look out this week for Quatrefoil(s) and all our past MissPres AWotW.

“White Arches” [Harris-Banks House], Columbus, Lowndes County, Photo by Jennifer Baughn, MDAH 04-10-2009. Retrieved 08/20/2012 from Mississippi Historic Resources Inventory (HRI)

Tchula Methodist Church, Tchula, Holmes County, Photo by Unknown 04-16-2008. Retrieved 08/20/2012 from Mississippi Historic Resources Inventory (HRI)

First Presbyterian Church [Main Street Presbyterian Church (PCA)] Columbus, Lowndes County, Photo by Jennifer Baughn, MDAH 04-11-2009. Retrieved 08/20/2012 from Mississippi Historic Resources Inventory (HRI)

Manship House, Jackson, Hinds County, Photo by J Baughn, MDAH 10-31-2009. Retrieved 08/20/2012 from Mississippi Historic Resources Inventory (HRI)

Woodland Hills Baptist Church, Jackson, Hinds County, Photo by J Baughn, MDAH 09-28-2009. Retrieved 08/20/2012 from Mississippi Historic Resources Inventory (HRI)

Crawford Street [United] Methodist Church (III) Vicksburg, Warren County, Photo by Nancy Bell, consultant Oct 2007. Retrieved 08/20/2012 from Mississippi Historic Resources Inventory (HRI)

William Henry Coxe House [“Airliewood”], Holly Springs, Marshall County, Photo by MDAH 1975. Retrieved 08/20/2012 from Mississippi Historic Resources Inventory (HRI)

(former) Millsaps Memorial Methodist Church [St. Luke’s [United] Methodist Church], Jackson, Hinds County, Photo by J Baughn, MDAH 09-28-2009. Retrieved 08/20/2012 from Mississippi Historic Resources Inventory (HRI)

Crystal Springs Consolidated School [Chrystal Springs High School] Photo by Unknown Source, MDAH, Nov. 1991. Retrieved 08/21/2012 from Mississippi Historic Resources Inventory (HRI)



Categories: Architectural Research, Books, Churches, Columbus, Contest, Cool Old Places, Crystal Springs, Historic Preservation, Holly Springs, Jackson, Port Gibson, Vicksburg

6 replies

  1. Well, that was fun! I win, because I found them all. I also now understand the trefoil motif in the Tate County courthouse, which is apparently a second cousin to quatrefoil–which by the way, is really fun to say. Will we have a final exam at the end of the alphabet?

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    • Congratulations! Despite my causing multiple technical glitches to the website I’m glad you stuck it out to find them all. In my search for Quatrefoils I ran across many really wonderful buildings that prominently use the trefoil pattern, like this on in Vicksburg.
      https://www.apps.mdah.ms.gov/Public/prop.aspx?id=26793&view=facts&y=830

      Having a final exam is a good thought. Maybe if you can find a building that has every word featured as a MissPres AWotW there will be a prize?

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      • Oh, wow, now that would be a comprehensive final examination! The convent picture is great. BTW, the American pronunciation of quatrefoil is not nearly as cool sounding as the European version–I think the French is even better.

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    • Very interesting. Thanks for sharing! Doesn’t Slate know this is old news Miss Pres reported on this two years ago ;).

      I do find it amusing they list the Mission San Francisco de Asís Basilica as a more “modern” church than the National Cathedral even though the basilica was built first.

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      • I thought the concluding remarks about Girl Scout Cookies were even more amusing. If only Napoleon had claimed thaT all architects advanced on their stomachs ….

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