Cover image for Common houses in America's small towns : the Atlantic Seaboard to the Mississippi valley
Title:
Common houses in America's small towns : the Atlantic Seaboard to the Mississippi valley
Author:
Jakle, John A.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Athens : University of Georgia Press, [1989]

©1989
Physical Description:
x, 238 pages : illustrations ; 26 cm
General Note:
Includes index.
Language:
English
ISBN:
9780820310060

9780820310749
Format :
Book

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NA7205 .J34 1989 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks
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Summary

Summary

A geographical field guide to the American house. Based on an inventory of seventeen thousand homes in twenty sample cities from the Atlantic Seaboard to the Mississippi Valley, this book explores how Americans housed themselves in the 1980s. Features: Houses are divided into categories based on form, creating five broad families--one room deep, two rooms deep, irregularly massed, bungalow, and ranch.Photographs illustrate such diverse types as the hall and parlour cottage, salt box house, and raised ranch house, and such characteristics as height, roof form, and facade material.Charts and maps plot regional variations, revealing for example the prevalence of pre-World War I housing in the Middle West and of post-World War II ranches in the South.Glossary of structural forms gives more formal definition and description for the sixty-seven specific dwelling types analyzed.


Summary

A geographical field guide to the American house. Based on an inventory of seventeen thousand homes in twenty sample cities from the Atlantic Seaboard to the Mississippi Valley, this book explores how Americans housed themselves in the 1980s.

Features:Houses are divided into categories based on form, creating five broad families--one room deep, two rooms deep, irregularly massed, bungalow, and ranch.Photographs illustrate such diverse types as the hall and parlour cottage, salt box house, and raised ranch house, and such characteristics as height, roof form, and facade material.Charts and maps plot regional variations, revealing for example the prevalence of pre-World War I housing in the Middle West and of post-World War II ranches in the South.Glossary of structural forms gives more formal definition and description for the sixty-seven specific dwelling types analyzed.


Author Notes

John A. Jakle is a professor of geography and landscape architecture at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. Among his many books are The Visual Elements of Landscape , The Tourist: Travel in Twentieth-Century America , and The American Small Town: Twentieth-Century Place Images . Robert W. Bastian is a professor of geography at Indiana State University. Douglas K. Meyer, a professor of geography at Eastern Illinois University, is the author of Pictorial Landscape History of Charleston, Illinois .


Reviews 2

Choice Review

The authors are cultural geographers who have taken on the task of classifying the kinds of houses, old and new, in which the common people of America live today. They have succeeded. Their methodology owes much to Fred B. Kniffen ("Louisiana House Types," Annals, Association of American Geographers, v.26, 1936), but whereas Kniffen's focus was on housing in rural Louisiana, they have carefully chosen 20 small towns in the area east of the Mississippi River and speculated on the meaning of the form and structure of some 17,000 houses, most of them modest. Their book is mainly technical. Many readers will find that the last chapter, summing up the authors' conclusions, to be of greatest value, but they should not miss the first chapter where the authors distinguish between the ways that most architectural historians, cultural geographers, folklorists, and social historians look at buildings. The careful readers of the middle chapters will, however, be rewarded not only by rich detail but also by a cascade of fascinating questions that demand answers through further study--e.g., why the "pronounced North-South dichotomy" in house types and, at the same time, a "pervasive homogeneity: a preference for simple rectangular floor plan perimeters, a preference for one-story or one-and-one-half-story dwellings, and a preference for simple gable roofs." A real contribution to the new social history of American architecture. R. W. Winter Occidental College


Choice Review

The authors are cultural geographers who have taken on the task of classifying the kinds of houses, old and new, in which the common people of America live today. They have succeeded. Their methodology owes much to Fred B. Kniffen ("Louisiana House Types," Annals, Association of American Geographers, v.26, 1936), but whereas Kniffen's focus was on housing in rural Louisiana, they have carefully chosen 20 small towns in the area east of the Mississippi River and speculated on the meaning of the form and structure of some 17,000 houses, most of them modest. Their book is mainly technical. Many readers will find that the last chapter, summing up the authors' conclusions, to be of greatest value, but they should not miss the first chapter where the authors distinguish between the ways that most architectural historians, cultural geographers, folklorists, and social historians look at buildings. The careful readers of the middle chapters will, however, be rewarded not only by rich detail but also by a cascade of fascinating questions that demand answers through further study--e.g., why the "pronounced North-South dichotomy" in house types and, at the same time, a "pervasive homogeneity: a preference for simple rectangular floor plan perimeters, a preference for one-story or one-and-one-half-story dwellings, and a preference for simple gable roofs." A real contribution to the new social history of American architecture. R. W. Winter Occidental College