EZ CONTENT BLUEPRINT
Early Twentieth Century Styles:
The material in this unit may be used to address the following Social Studies Standards:
G-1C-E4 H-1A-E3 H-1A-M4
H-1C-E4 No MS H-1B-H11
The bungalow developed in the United States when three early twentieth century socio-
cultural philosophies merged. These philosophies were the Back to Nature Movement,
the Arts and Crafts Movement, and the Progressive Housing Movement.
Back to Nature crusaders thought a house should blend well with its site, have an
attractive landscape, and make possible an outdoor lifestyle through such
amenities as porches, patios, courtyards, and arbors.
Fearing the effect of mass production on society, Arts and Crafts supporters
emphasized high standards of craftsmanship, simplicity, use of natural materials,
and replication of the wooden architecture of Japan and Switzerland.
Progressive housing reformers wished to simplify the house to make it smaller,
unpretentious, efficient, sanitary, and natural.
The bungalow's predecessor first appeared in India, where British travelers used a low,
galleried native hut, called a bangla by Bengali natives, as a rest house. An identical
word meant "belonging to Bengal" in the Hindu language. The British somehow
corrupted these words into "bungalow," then carried the idea of a low-slung bungalow
house home to England. From there, the idea migrated to the United States through
professional architectural journals.
The first American bungalows were vacation houses and casual mansions for the
wealthy. Starting in 1907, brothers Charles and Henry Greene of California became
important designers of some of these early examples. They combined the Japanese
and Swiss wood working traditions with American precedents such as the importance of
the fireplace in colonial homes and the importance of the gallery in the South to produce
a new house prototype. Although this dwelling was large, the Greenes chose to call it a
bungalow. Gradually their ideas drifted downward, and the bungalow as a middle class
home took off. Some scholars call the middle class bungalow the California Bungalow
because it originated there.
Magazines, pattern books, and mail-order manufacturers helped to popularize the
bungalow, just as they had the housing styles of the Victorian Era. Although some of
these exhibited quality in their designs, others were cheap versions which contributed to
an eventual decline in the style's popularity.
The most influential magazine was The Craftsman, published by Gustav Stickley.
Stickley campaigned for the bungalow because it reflected many of the ideas of the
Craftsman style (not being covered in this unit) which he preferred. (Every bungalow is
also a Craftsman house, but not every Craftsman house is a bungalow.) He especially
stressed simplicity, craftsmanship and harmony with nature. The Craftsman eventually
began publishing house plans, many of which were bungalows.
CHARACTERISTICS OF STYLE:
Low, horizontal roofline with overhanging eaves
Usually one story, no more than one-and-one-half stories tall. The latter,
often having gabled or shed-roof dormers, are called semi-bungalows.
Exposed rafter tails and/or large brackets beneath the eaves
Large porches featuring posts composed of square brick or wooden bases
from which a tapered column or boxed column rises. Occasionally multiple
tapered or boxed columns rise from a single base. Thick boxed piers are also
occasionally used on the porch
Emphasis upon gables. The most typical version features double gables, one
above the house itself, the other set slightly lower and to the side above the
porch. However, the lower of the two gables may be placed elsewhere on the
façade. Many single gable bungalows also exist.
Double and triple windows with subdivided upper sashes. A less expensive
version features a subdivided screen placed in front of a large upper window
Exterior chimneys flanked by windows.
Use of natural materials and earth toned colors.
An informal open floorplan
THE BUNGALOW "CONFUSION":
The bungalow's appearance and the life style it represented became so popular that
people began adapting the style in ways its creators had never intended. Although by
definition the California bungalow was not a two story house, builders applied bungalow
stylistic elements (especially porches and gables) to two-story houses which were not
otherwise bungalows. Another adaptation was the application of decorative motifs from
other styles (for example, the Colonial Revival or Spanish Colonial Revival), to the
After a while, the concept of the smaller house became so popular that people began
using the word "bungalow" to describe any early twentieth century small, cozy, cottage-
Today, cultural geographers use the word "bungalow" to describe a house type very
different from the California bungalow. This house is similar to a shotgun double except
that doors penetrate the walls between the two sides to make one large rather than two
smaller dwellings. When reading about bungalows, it is necessary to make sure one
understands what type of house the author is discussing.
Most of Louisiana's bungalows resemble those found in the rest of the nation.
Thousands exist in neighborhoods across the state.
Local adaptations of bungalows were made throughout Louisiana. Although these
variations contradicted the bungalow's concept of a one or one-and-one-half story single
family home with an open and flexible floorplan, they proved to be quite popular in New
Orleans and, occasionally, in other cities and towns. These variations include:
The Shotgun Bungalow, in which the bungalow's tapered columns-atop-piers,
overhanging eaves, and double gable configuration were attached to the fronts of
long, narrow shotgun and double shotgun houses with linear plans.
The Camelback Bungalow, in which one or two second story rooms are found at
the home's mid point.
The Raised Bungalow, in which the home sits up a full story above a high
basement. The upper floor (which serves as the main living space) is reached by
a conspicuous staircase. The basement level usually holds service and storage
Highland Historic District, Caddo Parish
Monroe Residential Historic District, Ouachita Parish
Highland Historic District, Caddo Parish
Gentilly Terrace Historic District, Orleans Parish
Plaquemine Historic District, Iberville Parish
Spanish Town Historic District, East Baton Rouge Parish
Mid-City Historic District, Orleans Parish
Roseland Terrace Historic District, East Baton Rouge Parish
Carrollton Historic District, Orleans Parish