March 15, 2016
The American Foursquare style of home appeared around the 1890s. This architectural style was a step in the opposite direction of the ornate style of the Victorian era. Foursquares are designed exactly as their name implies. They were square in shape and two and a half stories with four rooms on each floor. They usually sat on a full basement with a raised foundation. A low-hipped, pyramidal roof with a small central dormer and a full front porch also characterized these homes.
Foursquare homes embraced a simple design and simple layout made with affordable building materials. These homes were very popular amongst the middle class for their low cost, ease of construction, functionality and size. During this era many companies were selling premade kit homes, Sears Roebuck & Co, being one of these. Due to it’s popularity, the foursquare style was one of their best-selling kits.
Some experts say this style found its roots in the Italianate and Colonial Revival styles. Also similar to the Prairie and Craftsman styles of the time, the Foursquare boasted clean lines and natural building materials. Often design elements from other styles such as the Italian Renaissance, Prairie, and Colonial Revival styles were added to liven up the plain exteriors.
In regards to building materials, Foursquare homebuilders and buyers were looking for affordability. Brick, frame, and concrete masonry were all common materials used on these homes. As mentioned earlier, Sears was selling foursquare kit homes. However, Sears was also one of the largest makers of the rock face block machines. As a result, many of their house plans used rock face block for the foundation, porch, or entire house.
Rock face block was one of the most affordable and popular building materials used aside from lumber during this time. It was cheaper than brick and natural stone, and was often cheaper than lumber. This is especially true considering rock face block required no painting or maintenance and lasted much longer than lumber. It was also fireproof and energy efficient, keeping homes cool in the summer and heated in the winter.
As these homes reach and surpass their century marks, more and more of this block is needing replaced. Give Classic Rock Face Block a call today. We offer exact replicas of the original rock face block designs to give you a historically accurate look for your restoration project.