Foursquare - Table of Contents   ................... Elmwood Historic District (EAST) - Table of Contents

Craftsman Houses

Elmwood Historic District (EAST)
National Register of Historic Places Nomination

Section 8, Pages 18-19
Prepared by Clinton Brown Company Architecture/Rebuild (online Feb. 2016)

Research by Hannah Beckman

Craftsman (or Arts and Crafts) architecture was popular in the early twentieth century in Western New York, and the style was especially popular in Buffalo thanks to the Prairie style influences of Frank Lloyd Wright, furniture designer (and district resident) Charles Rohlfs, and Elbert Hubbard and the Roycroft arts and crafts community in nearby East Aurora.

The Craftsman style was simpler and easier to build in comparison to the earlier Queen Anne and Colonial Revival styles. Its design and plan also reflected the new ways of living of the early twentieth century, as it was no longer affordable for most families to maintain a large live-in staff. Houses were built smaller and more economically for purchasers of more modest means.

Architecturally, the Craftsman style in the Elmwood Historic District is present in two basic forms: the Craftsman Bungalow and the American Foursquare.

The bungalow, typically a one or two-story side gable building with a prominent front porch that is deeply recessed, is less common in the nominated district than in other areas of the city.

The American Foursquare, characterized by a two or two-and-a-half story form, square or rectangular massing, generally with a hipped roof and front dormer, is the more common interpretation of the Craftsman style in the Elmwood Historic District (East). Many examples were constructed in stone, brick or wood shingle and feature elements such as exposed rafter tails and simple, battered square columns or posts on porches. Developed in the first decade of the twentieth century, Argyle Park and Clarendon Pace both feature many examples of Craftsman style houses from the 1910s and 1920s. ....

Foursquare examples are more common in the district, especially in those areas that developed slightly later, in the early twentieth century, primarily north of West Ferry Street. The basic massing of an American Foursquare, or ‘Prairie Box,’ house can be seen at 19 Granger Place (c.1910, contributing), where the two-and- a-half story frame house is symmetrically oriented under a hipped roof with hipped dormers.

81 Cleveland Avenue (c.1910, contributing) displays this basic form adorned with Craftsman details. The two-and-one-half story hipped roof frame house exemplifies the Foursquare massing, complete with wood clapboard siding and a hipped dormer with paired window. The majority-width hipped roof porch features a spindle balustrade and paired tapered square supports with triglyphs. The house’s overhanging roof features open flared eaves and exposed rafter tails, indicative of the style.

66 Clarendon Place (ca. 1905, contributing) also features flared eaves and exposed rafter tails, under the hipped roof of this two-and-a-half-story foursquare frame house.

24 Argyle Park (c.1916, contributing) offers another variation of the style, this time in brick rather than clapboard. The two story hipped roof house features a central wooden door with large sidelights, and a majority width hipped roof porch with large Tuscan column supports and iron balustrade. Like many Craftsman style buildings, the main roof, porch and dormer all have overhanging eaves with exposed rafter tails.

Some Craftsman style houses utilize a stone or pebble finish on their exterior, drawing on associations with natural, hand-made architecture. The one and one-half story cross-gable roof house at 32 Clarendon Place (1913, contributing) provides one example of this. Pebbledash stucco siding appears on the exterior walls, with sandstone pillars supporting the partial width porch with lower pitched front gable roof.

42 Clarendon Place (ca. 1905, contributing) also features pebbledash stucco siding on this two and one-half story flared hipped roof foursquare frame house. The use of these various stone and stucco textures lends these buildings a natural, handmade appearance that aligns with the Craftsman style aesthetic and values.

- Hannah Bachman, Craftsman Houses, pp. 101-102

Page by Chuck LaChiusa in 2016
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