Manitoba Heritage House

Reid Dickie

American Foursquare House, Baldur, MB

          American Foursquare was popular from the late 1800s until about 1930, combining elements from other architectural styles to dress up its simplicity. Many of the same elements Frank Lloyd Wright used can be found on American Foursquares. Sometimes called prairie box style, the houses were a simple box shape, two storeys with each floor having a four-room floor plan (thus the name), a low-pitched hipped roof with a large central dormer and deep overhang. This buff brick example may once have had a wide porch. The dormer is visual feast, elaborately decorated with delicate bargeboard and the bull’s-eye window behind. Decorative features are the overbuilt corners, the small belt course of raised brick between the floors, the carved elegant brackets under the wide eaves. The style was practical in several ways: the houses fit nicely into small city lots and their simplicity meant they could be sold as mail order house kits by Sears and Eatons. The metal roof cresting tops this lovely well-maintained house. Though the colour scheme and materials of the front porch do not complement the rest of the house, the place overcomes this minor glom and presents a solid and stately elegance, a quiet history of service to generations.

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Filed under Heritage Buildings, Houses

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