American Foursquare 1895-1930





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The American Foursquare House is one of the most popular styles that emerged form the suburban development in the late 1800's into the 1930's. It's strong square massing, usually with four square rooms above 3 square rooms and an entrance hall with stairs tucked unobtrusively to the side on the first floor made it economical and practical to build. The cubical shape made the most of every buildable inch, taking full advantage of small building lots and small budgets. It became the most house for the lowest cost with a dignified appearance (something like the split level of the 1960's) It often has arts and crafts detailing, especially in the main entrance where there may be a fireplace and built-in shelves and bookcases. The roof line is usually pyramidal or hipped. It usually has a front porch. There may be a small dormer on the second floor. The versatility of the Foursquare, usually built without the benefit of an architect, lent itself to endless variations and finish details by individual buyers.

Fouresquares are most commonly built in wood frame but the are also found in stucco, brick and Sears offered a cement block making machine that could manufacture blocks on site for the house (see picture). The style was influenced by the Chicago Prairie style and has may of the same features, wide eaves, horizontal emphasis and porch running the full length of the first floor.

The Foursquare is what most people think of as "the all-American family home" on Main Street USA.

This site created by Sandra Pollock at Real Site Design
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