The parapets on the Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe Railroad depot in Kingman, Arizona, are a signature characteristic of the Mission Revival style.
Parapets can be one of those mysterious architectural features in the sense that people may recognize them, but may not know the technical term for them. “A Preservation Handbook for Historic Residential Properties and Districts in Salt Lake City” defines it as:
A low horizontal wall at the edge of a roof.
The photo above shows the parapets on the Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe Railroad depot in Kingman, Arizona. The depot's parapets are a signature characteristic of its Mission Revival architectural style.
Word in use: “12. Art Deco and Art Moderne. Both of these styles feature open floor plans, flat or very low-pitched roofs with low profile parapets, smooth stucco walls, and horizontal groupings of metal casement windows.” -- Emily Potter, “[10 on Tuesday] Buying a Historic Home: What’s Your Style? (Part 2)”
So the next time you pass by a parapet, don’t be afraid to call it out and demystify the mystery.
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Jamesha Gibson is an Editorial Intern at the National Trust. She is passionate about using historic preservation as an avenue for underrepresented communities to share their unique stories. Jamesha also enjoys learning about other cultures through reading, art, language, dancing, and especially cuisine.