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1895 - 1930: American Foursquare

Prairie Architecture Inspires Practical Box-Shaped Homes

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The Foursquare style, sometimes called the Prairie Box, can be found in nearly every part of the United States.
Simple Foursquare houses were built in brick, stone, stucco, concrete block, or wood.

Simple Foursquare houses were built in brick, stone, stucco, concrete block, or wood.

Photo: ClipArt.com

American Foursquare houses usually have these features:

  • Simple box shape
  • Two-and-a-half stories high
  • Four-room floor plan
  • Low-hipped roof with deep overhang
  • Large central dormer
  • Full-width porch with wide stairs
  • Brick, stone, stucco, concrete block, or wood siding

About the Foursquare House Style:

The American Foursquare, or the Prairie Box, was a post-Victorian style that shared many features with the Prairie architecture pioneered by Frank Lloyd Wright. The boxy foursquare shape provided roomy interiors for homes on small city lots. The simple, square shape also made the Foursquare style especially practical for mail order house kits from Sears and other catalog companies.

Creative builders often dressed up the basic foursquare form. Although foursquare houses are always the same square shape, they can have features borrowed from any of these styles:

  • Queen Anne - bay windows, small towers, or "gingerbread" trim
  • Mission - stucco siding and roof parapets
  • Colonial Revival - pediments or porticos
  • Craftsman - exposed roof rafters, beamed ceilings, built-in cabinetry, and carefully crafted woodwork

Learn More About the Foursquare House Style:

American Foursquare Floor Plans
From the pages of Sears and Aladdin mail order catalogs, illustrations, descriptions and floor plans for American Foursquare style homes.

Picking Colors for a Foursquare
Follow the owners as they choose trim colors for their brick Foursquare home.

Foursquare Photos
Our photo gallery of American Foursquare homes submitted by readers.

The Prairie Style
With its low, paramid shaped roof, the Foursquare form is a variation on the linear style pioneered by Frank Lloyd Wright.

Craftsman Style
Many Foursquare homes have "Craftsman" details.

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