American Homes in the 1950’s

American Homes in the 1950’s

A roofing company in Jupiter, FL enlightened us to pre-fabricated houses built in that era. Following World War II there was a huge market for single family homes. After the Great Depression in the 1930’s and the war during the 1940’s, people were desperate for traditional family values and a normal life. Because of this, the 1950’s saw a massive resurgence of the housing market. Because of this, the style of homes in the 1950’s really expanded. Houses needed to be built quickly and efficiently.

Pre-fabricated houses, although not a new discovery, but were very popular during the 1950’s. The most popular of these were Lustron Prefabs, which were made of metal. Due to the high demand, the company was unable to keep up with the orders coming in and ended up making less than 3000 of these houses. You can still find some of these houses around the United States. Quonset huts are another example of pre-fabricated houses in the 1950’s. These were metal houses that resembled huts that were used for shelters during World War II. Because they were already built, they were very simple and inexpensive and were a great solution to families who wanted a house of their own.
In an effort to utilize materials efficiently, architects sought to build single story houses that could work for larger families. The result of this was the Mid-Century Modern house, which can be found all over the United States. These were also called Ranch or Prairie style houses. These houses would have big, open floor plans with lots of room for movement. They would also have sliding glass doors to so that families would have easy access to the outdoors. After World War II, there was a lot of emphasis placed on spending time with family, specifically outdoors, so integrating houses into nature was important for many homeowners. The front of the house would often have a geometric design made of clean lines. Mid-Century Modern houses were often split level houses, utilizing multiple levels split by shorter staircases.

Another popular housing style during the 1950’s was the Cape Cod style house. This house was so popular that it was chosen as the shape of the houses in the game Monopoly. After such a turbulent time in the 30’s and 40’s, a traditional housing format like the Cape Cod house was desirable for many families. This style of house would have a large chimney as a focal point for the house, usually located right behind the front door. These houses look very traditional and have steep roofs and window borders. Other key features would be a narrow staircase and shingle siding. Given the name “Cape Cod” it should be no surprise that these houses were based on houses found near the cape, but these houses were built all across the country during the 1950’s.
Because of the demand for houses, the style of homes in the 1950’s really expanded to includes all types of homes. These houses can still be found all over the United States today. These houses, which are predominately single family homes, still make great homes today. The traditional style and open floor plans are perfect for new families building a home together.

Written by: Emily Rose Farrell

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