Popular in the 1860s through 1890s, the most characteristic feature of the High Victorian Gothic style is the pointed arch, often used as a window frame or surface decoration. The High Victorian Gothic style is similar to the earlier Gothic Revival style, but is a more heavier, more substantial version of the style. The High Victorian Gothic style was used mostly for large scale public buildings like schools, churches, or government offices, but was sometimes chosen for mansions or homes of substantial size.
Always executed in brick or stone, High Victorian Gothic buildings are distinguished by the use of polychrome bands of decorative masonry. Stone quoins, pressed brick, and terra cotta panels were commonly used. Windows and doors were accented with brick or stone trim, often in contrasting colors. The Gothic pointed arch may be present at windows, entrances, and decorative dormers and cross gables.
Several buildings designed in the High Victorian Gothic style can be found throughout the downtown area while in the South Common Historic District, the High Victorian Gothic Eliot Presbyterian Church (1874) can be found at 273 Summer Street.