Bungalows in the Historic American Buildings Survey

Today’s post combines two recent series here on MissPres: bungalows and structures documented by the National Park Service’s Historic American Building Survey (HABS).  I ran across this interesting page maintained by the Library of Congress.  It highlights a cross section of Bungalow structures documented by HABS.  Not exactly sure how the forty structures across twelve states were chosen for inclusion on the page, but the page appears to have changed little since October 2003 when it may have debuted.

Bungalows in the Historic American Buildings Survey

The bungalow was one of the most popular styles of housing in the twentieth century before World War II. Typically the features of a bungalow consist of:

  • a low profile of one or one-and-a-half stories
  • a low-pitched roof which has widely overhanging gables or eaves with decorative braces
  • the gables often form a porch with square columns or heavy battered piers, so the porch is included under the same low, overhanging roof as the main house
  • the presence of built-in cabinets, shelves, and seating
  • the emphasis on the natural quality of materials such as wood

Its practical layout–with living space all on one floor around one central room–and its affordability, combined with artistic touches, appealed to a wide audience. As the style gained in popularity, designs proliferated across the country through pattern books and mail order catalogs by companies such as Sears, Roebuck & Co. and Montgomery Ward.

Mississippi’s lone entry on the page is that of the Louis Sullivan House in Ocean Springs.  Based on period photographs of the Louis Sullivan Bungalow in the collection of the Art Institute of Chicago, Ryerson & Burnham Archives, and the National Register Nomination of the Sullivan-Charnley Historic District, I am not so certain that these plans are an exact depiction of the structure, which would be a significant faux pas for HABS drawings.  The plans being labeled as a “gift” might indicate that they do stray from the normal strict attention to detail seen in HABS documentation.  These plans remain as one of the few recordings of the Sullivan bungalow that was destroyed by Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

Sullivan cottage



Categories: Historic American Building Survey (HABS), Historic Preservation, Hurricane Katrina, Lost Mississippi, Ocean Springs

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