Today’s bungalows come to us from the Mississippi Coast, Gulfport’s Soria City neighborhood, which was listed on the National Register in September 2015. A walk through this small, cohesive African American neighborhood brings you past a number of front-gabled bungalows, but a few of them really stand out for their Craftsman details. Here are two of my favorites, both on 20th Street, one a brick example (brick construction is mostly confined to the churches in Soria City, so this is really a standout), and a nice clapboard bungalow. Both of them have interesting fencing too, which is always a nice finishing touch. On the brick bungalow at 1600 20th Street, notice the decorative purlins, those sticks of wood (I’m sure Thomas Rosell has a better definition than “sticks of wood”) coming out of the gable end and (only symbolically) supporting the eaves and fascia. Also the paneled battered posts and elongated diamond patterning in the cornice above the porch.
The Soria City National Register historic district nomination spends a little time telling us about the house at 1600 20th Street, which it dates to the 1910s, and its owner, Hilliard P. Young.
By 1922, Hillard P. Young (1893-1960) owned lots 15-17 and 20-21 of Block 21 and his son, Hillard L. Young [owned] 17-18 of Block 21 in Soria City. Hillard P. Young also owned lots 22 -23 of Block 14. All these lots roughly include what are today the properties that encompass addresses 1600-1616 20th Street (Inv. 119 ) and 1601 20th Street, which is no longer extent. Hilliard and his family resided at 1600 20th Street (Inv. 119) as early as 1920. Hillard L. Young, Sr., aside from being the owner and operator of Young’s Grocery and later Young’s Drug Store, was also an active member of the African American community. He was the president of the Crusade Club, the organization that established the Soria City Recreation Club. During the segregation era, Mr. Young was also chairman of the Gulfport chapter of the Colored Boy Scouts of America Troop in Gulfport, under the sponsorship of the Crusade Club. He was also a member of the Morning Star Baptist Church, and a member of the M.W. Stringer Grand Lodge, F&AM. (p.46)
A couple of blocks down the way, the wood frame bungalow across from the Soria City Masonic Lodge takes an identical front-gabled form with full-width inset porch, but its battered posts are shorter on the ends than in the center. Amazingly, the National Register nomination dates this bungalow to 1947, which is really late for such a nicely detailed Craftsman building.
This one also has decorative purlins–a little different from the ones at 1600. The window in the gable has possibly been altered? The top arched section appears original, but something seems off about the two windows below–I suspect they were originally three vertical lights each, similar to the upper sash of the windows that you can see under the porch.
Can’t get to Gulfport soon to take your own walk? Here, I’ll get your started at 1600 20th Street, and you can take a virtual walk down the street. You can even stroll past the Morning Star Baptist Church where Mr. Young was a member.
What other Craftsmen do you see?