Foursquare houses: shipped to you in 30,000 pieces from Sears Roebuck

Guestpost by Rachel on Jul 25th

House Under Construction

Photo by pixlfarmer. Used under Creative Commons license.

Foursquare. Popular recess game. Geographic announcement application. American classic. This is your Architectural Minute.

Time-travel back to the 1890s. You're in the heart of the Industrial Revolution and part of a growing middle class. The economy is recovering from depression and you've been hired at a new corporation in the big city. You are going to relocate, and you'll be sharing your new home with your in-laws, who have just immigrated from Europe. Turns out a lot of people are in your shoes and housing hasn't yet been built for this influx of city dwellers. Hey, I have an idea. You can mail order a no-fuss, pre-cut Foursquare!

Oh! You'll love this. The Foursquare is symmetrical and uncomplicated; it's pure geometry. A cube with a pyramid on top. These are post-Victorian times. No more irregular roofs or rambling floor plans with excessive hallways and stairways. Ornate is out. The Foursquare promises "honest" woodwork throughout; no frills.

Your city lot is small, but you'll maximize its potential with the Foursquare's space-efficient design. Two and half stories and a wide single story porch. Four is the number of equal sized rooms on the 1st and 2nd floor. You've also got a full basement and attic space built out with a dormer. Just select one of 20 designs in the Sears Roebucks catalog and your 30,000 piece home will be delivered by rail in two boxcars.

These homes will rapidly fill cities, suburbs and farms up until the late 1930s. Rest assured that your home will survive as a testament to fine American craftsmanship.

Time to time-travel again, a century later. The Foursquare is a comfortable boxy specimen on America's historic street-scape. Not overly fancy, but rich in woodwork and sporting sweet-ass porches for kickin' back and drinking lemonade.

About Rachel

My name is Rachel, I am a Home Explorer. This has been your Architectural Minute.