Minimal Traditional - Circa 1935 to 1950
Most homes of this style are relatively small one-story or one and a half story homes. These houses were built in great numbers after the Depression of the 1930's and immediately proceeding W W II. There are many of this style in the Fairport area.
The Gilded Age had disappeared and along with it the highly styled architectural homes of the late 19th and early 20th century. The country had experienced the First World War and was in the midst of the Great Depression.
This home is at 64 Dewey Avenue is at the corner of Sampson Street.
The creation of the Federal Housing Authority in 1934 would have a profound influence on home design for many years to come. The FHA was chartered to stem the tide of home losses and plummeting property values, as collapsed banks called in mortgages on property that was valueless.
The FHA house building requirements limited the maximum sales price in order to keep the market open to all buyers. To keep costs down it limited the size of the house. This in turn led to an efficient design for the rooms and storage space. All of the non-essential forms were omitted and architects were directed to focus on scale. The FHA even provided publications to architects that showed them how to keep the design simple but useful. Simple was the key phrase. The basic floor plan for these homes consisted of a living room and dining area, kitchen, bath, one or two bedrooms, with or without an attached garage.
“The Minimal Traditional house was 'the little house that could'. It was the small house that could be built with FHA insured loans in the midst of the Great Depression between 1935 and 1940; the house that could be built quickly to accommodate millions of relocating World War II production-plant workers (1941-1945); and the house that could be built rapidly during the late 1940's in large post- World War II developments (1946-1949).
22 Potter Place has low pitched roof and one front facing gable.
These late 1940's developments were necessary to begin to fulfill the wartime GI Bill promise that every returning serviceman would be able to purchase a home.”* Levittown, New York is one of the better known examples of such housing developments. Minimal Traditional was a house style seen all over the United States both as a single build and as a tract home.
The development of this house style was an unprecedented coming together of public organizations and private interests to meet the critical need for a single family home during a period of great economic distress.
A small asymmetrical one story house with a low or medium pitched roof (sometimes hipped), showing front or side gables with little or no overhang on the eaves, seldom dormers, a minimum of architectural detail throughout. Simple double hung windows, possibly corner wrapped; picture windows on later builds. Perhaps a small, covered off-set porch. Cladding is most commonly wooden clapboard but brick or stone combinations are seen. The predominant characteristic of this form is the front facing gable, either as a small wing, an entry detail or a decorative element.
The Cape Cod, another popular form of the style, is a little different. The same massed structure, side gabled but symmetrical and often using Colonial Revival motifs such as a paneled front door, multi-paned windows and shutters. But both forms can share these style details.
*McAlester, A Field Guide to American Houses, Revised Edition 2013, page 888.
For an index of other styles that can be found in the Perinton area go to the Architectural Styles page in the History section.