The Federal Style, sometimes called the Adam Style, encompasses the early architecture of the American republic. The style is a refinement of the earlier Georgian and colonial architecture, with less texture and a focus on symmetry. Federal style resources almost always feature an end-gabled roof, end chimneys, and multi-light windows with shutters (although the shutters do not always survive). In the early 19th century, it was becoming more common to have two separate chimney flues on an end wall rather than a single chimney venting separate interior fireplaces. While some houses dating well into the 19th century are often considered to be Federal, those built after 1840 should not be called Federal because new houses took advantage of new construction techniques and technologies.
Three subtypes of the Federal style were noted in Erie County. The main Federal style house features the center hall plan. These 2-story, 5-bay buildings houses have a door centered on the main elevation that opens into a center hall with two rooms in each end. The house at 12646 McChesney Road is an example. This particular house has two interior chimneys, a design that points to New England antecedents.
A second subtype is the side hall plan. These 2-story, 3-bay houses have the door near a corner, opening into a hall running the width of the house and connecting two rooms in the opposite end. The house at 146 East 5th Street at Federal Row in Erie City is a side hall Federal house. Side hall houses usually feature the chimney on the end wall opposite the entrance.
The third subtype of Federal houses in Erie County is the saltbox. These houses also point to antecedents from New England. The Sturgeon House in Fairview is a very well-preserved saltbox house in Erie County. The house dates to 1838, near the end of the Federal period. A handful of other saltbox houses were identified during the survey.