Lee Hall Mansion was completed in 1859, only two years before the American Civil War. Greek Revival structures, such as Margaret Mitchell's fictitious plantation house Tara, are typically associated with the antebellum South; complete with enormous white columns and long, rambling porches. Not all southern antebellum structures resembled Tara.
Lee Hall Mansion, for example, consists of a blending of many different architectural styles. Italianate, Georgian, and Greek Revival details can be seen in many aspects of the house. For example, Lee Hall's interior features a symmetrical Georgian floor plan with rooms opening into a long central hall. Yet, the exterior of the house has Italianate and, to a lesser extent, Greek Revival detailing. Lee Hall Mansion's primary style, however, is Italianate.
The Italianate style gained popularity between 1850-1880, primarily due to the extensive writings of Andrew Jackson Downing, Calvert Vaux, and Samuel Sloan. Part of the Picturesque movement, these authors romanticized the Italian villa and the countryside. Their publications not only addressed building exteriors, but highlighted fashionable interiors and picturesque gardens.
The Italianate style was loosely based upon the Italian villa and can either consist of simple or elaborate styling. Italianate structures are generally two or more stories high and often have low hipped roofs with a wide overhang, supported by a bracketed cornice. Interiors are often identified by plaster cornices and ceiling medallions. Some structures are more asymmetrical, featuring towers (cupolas) and bay windows.
In keeping with this primary style, Lee Hall Mansion has three original plaster ceiling medallions in the house. The exterior is identified by a large low hipped roof with a bracketed cornice.