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Old 04-02-2014, 07:14 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nybbler View Post
Sure, and in other areas in that time you'd have a shotgun shack, similarly unornamented. Tile and stained glass were most certainly for the wealthy.
And a lot of the surviving housing tended to be more well off as the shotgun shacks wore out or where torn down.
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Old 04-02-2014, 07:45 PM
 
Location: Youngstown, Oh.
4,896 posts, read 7,660,338 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Katiana View Post
Our 50s house may have been a low-end Chevrolet, but the 70s house was an "entry level" home. By the 70s, houses had gotten a little bigger in general. Our house was 1300 sq. ft. [Before anyone (not necessarily you) goes shrieking about what a big house compared to whatever, I will point out that at one time we had four people living in it. We had far fewer sq. ft. per person than some singles and DINKs have in their city condos].



You said yourself:

The house we lived in was of the same ilk. Point being, all this yammer about houses of one particular era being better than the houses from another era, is silly. There were crappy houses built in the 50s, and better built ones. Ditto the 70s, the 80s, the 90s, the 00s, the 10s, etc.

My in-laws lived in a house that was built in 1936, one of these rare depression era houses. When built, as best I can calculate, it had about 800 sf in the original house. It had a living room, 2 bedrooms big enough only for single beds that opened directly off the living room (no hallway) and a kitchen in the original house. By the time my in-laws bought it, 10 years later, it had an addition consisting of a bathroom (that's right, it was built w/o a bathroom, my MIL said it was probably outside), and a master bedroom. A side porch was closed in to make a place to put the refrigerator, since homes in 1936, even in urban Omaha, Nebraska, did not have refrigerators. It had a garage that was actually part of the basement, was probably itself a remodel. Now it was a serviceable house. My in-laws raised 3 kids in it. But is the original house something any of us would want to live in?
Was all of urban Omaha so far behind the times, or was your in-law's 1936 home built in a neighborhood that was working class at the time?

My previous neighborhood was built between 1905 and 1925. I would classify most of the houses as "Pontiacs" with a few "Chevrolets" and "Oldsmobiles" mixed in. They ALL were built with bathrooms, and I'd guess that at least 1 in 10 had a stained-glass window. Assuming the link works, here is a street view from that neighborhood: https://www.google.com/maps/@41.1002...SA!2e0!6m1!1e1



Quote:
Originally Posted by Katiana View Post
My parents owned a house built in 1918. The style is called "foursquare". It had softwood pine floors. It had no stained glass or ornate stairwells.
Sounds like my mom's previous house. It was built in 1924. All the woodwork was pine, and the floors were also pine. (though, they were originally finished) It did have its original kitchen cabinets, though. There were quite a few of them, for the time. They were very cool, IMO. I believe it was built for the family of a worker at the gravel quarry behind the house.

Quote:
Originally Posted by nybbler View Post
Sure, and in other areas in that time you'd have a shotgun shack, similarly unornamented. Tile and stained glass were most certainly for the wealthy.
Since so many people seem to be skeptical about how common architectural features like stained glass and ornate woodwork were, I'm beginning to think that the NE and Midwest--where these things are common in older houses--were just wealthier than the rest of the country at the time. So, even the working-class were "wealthy" by comparison?
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Old 04-02-2014, 07:50 PM
 
9,520 posts, read 14,838,412 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JR_C View Post
Since so many people seem to be skeptical about how common architectural features like stained glass and ornate woodwork were, I'm beginning to think that the NE and Midwest--where these things are common in older houses--were just wealthier than the rest of the country at the time. So, even the working-class were "wealthy" by comparison?
I don't know about ornate woodwork; that used to be relatively cheaper than it is now. But stained glass was always expensive. I don't think you'll find much in the way of ornate houses with stained glass owned by the working class back then.
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Old 04-02-2014, 07:57 PM
Status: "Summer!" (set 21 days ago)
 
Location: Foot of the Rockies
87,011 posts, read 102,621,396 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JR_C View Post
Was all of urban Omaha so far behind the times, or was your in-law's 1936 home built in a neighborhood that was working class at the time?

I've been accused of being snarky at time, but this does not deserve a response.

My previous neighborhood was built between 1905 and 1925. I would classify most of the houses as "Pontiacs" with a few "Chevrolets" and "Oldsmobiles" mixed in. They ALL were built with bathrooms, and I'd guess that at least 1 in 10 had a stained-glass window. Assuming the link works, here is a street view from that neighborhood: https://www.google.com/maps/@41.1002...SA!2e0!6m1!1e1





Sounds like my mom's previous house. It was built in 1924. All the woodwork was pine, and the floors were also pine. (though, they were originally finished) It did have its original kitchen cabinets, though. There were quite a few of them, for the time. They were very cool, IMO. I believe it was built for the family of a worker at the gravel quarry behind the house.



Since so many people seem to be skeptical about how common architectural features like stained glass and ornate woodwork were, I'm beginning to think that the NE and Midwest--where these things are common in older houses--were just wealthier than the rest of the country at the time. So, even the working-class were "wealthy" by comparison?
Omaha is the midwest.

Do you know what was required for a mortgage before the FHA was established in 1934?

Here's a good description:
HowStuffWorks "History of Mortgages"
Prior to the FHA:
**It wasn't until 1934 that modern mortgages came into being. The Federal Housing Administration (FHA) played a critical role. In order to help pull the country out of the Great Depression, the FHA initiated a new type of mortgage aimed at the folks who couldn't get mortgages under the existing programs. At that time, only four in 10 households owned homes. Mortgage loan terms were limited to 50 percent of the property's market value, and the repayment schedule was spread over three to five years and ended with a balloon payment. An 80 percent loan at that time meant your down payment was 80 percent -- not the amount you financed! With loan terms like that, it's no wonder that most Americans were renters.**

Now you think the average factory worker could buy a house that was 3X their annual income on those terms? It's obvious why home ownership was much lower than it is now, or has been since 1960.
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Old 04-02-2014, 08:04 PM
nei nei won $500 in our forum's Most Engaging Poster Contest - Thirteenth Edition (Jan-Feb 2015). 

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Location: Long Island / NYC
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A house without a bathroom is rather extreme. I'd be rather surprised if that was common in non-rural areas. Homes without complete plumbing:

Historical Census of Housing Tables -Plumbing Facilities

Note complete plumbing means that tenement-style bathrooms down the hall don't count. The numbers are rather high, but I doubt it was the norm for non-rural housing, especially new housing.

Not sure what the homeownership rate has to do with this.
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Old 04-02-2014, 08:21 PM
Status: "Summer!" (set 21 days ago)
 
Location: Foot of the Rockies
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nei View Post
A house without a bathroom is rather extreme. I'd be rather surprised if that was common in non-rural areas. Homes without complete plumbing:

Historical Census of Housing Tables -Plumbing Facilities

Note complete plumbing means that tenement-style bathrooms down the hall don't count. The numbers are rather high, but I doubt it was the norm for non-rural housing, especially new housing.

Not sure what the homeownership rate has to do with this.
You might be surprised, but you might not be right. I recall when doing some sort of research on this issue before that many homes in Indianapolis didn't have indoor plumbing in the 50s. I can't find the cite again, of course, but here's something that sort of corroborates it:
FICO Is A Four Letter Word - Robert Steele - Google Books

Here's another:
Timeline | IUPUI University Library

Plumbing History: 15 Fun Facts About Toilets
**10. As recently as 1950, 25 percent of American households, mostly rural, still lacked indoor toilets. In some Southern states, that number topped 50 percent.[3]**
Note that mostly does not mean "all"

http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j...64125504,d.b2I
**In 1940 nearly half of houses lacked hot piped water, a bathtub or shower, or a
flush toilet. Over a third of houses didnít have a flush toilet. As late as 1960, over 25% of the
houses in 16 states didnít have complete plumbing facilities
.**
The 1940 number would include many city homes.

You're not sure what home ownership rates have to do with this? Only the wealthy could afford to own homes! No wonder many of the single family homes of the day had all these upgrades.
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Old 04-02-2014, 08:27 PM
nei nei won $500 in our forum's Most Engaging Poster Contest - Thirteenth Edition (Jan-Feb 2015). 

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Location: Long Island / NYC
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1940 plumbing rates are in my link. The numbers are also skewed by the south. There's also larger regional variation; Massachusetts and New York are 17%, and some of those were rural homes (or shared bathrooms in apartments). Maybe a bit more common in the Midwest.

Single family homes could be rentals.
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Old 04-02-2014, 08:33 PM
Status: "Summer!" (set 21 days ago)
 
Location: Foot of the Rockies
87,011 posts, read 102,621,396 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nei View Post
1940 plumbing rates are in my link. The numbers are also skewed by the south. There's also larger regional variation; Massachusetts and New York are 17%, and some of those were rural homes (or shared bathrooms in apartments). Maybe a bit more common in the Midwest.

Single family homes could be rentals.
The southern states are all pretty high in 1940-1950, but some northern/western states had pretty high rates as well (>30% in 1940, >25% in 1950), e.g. Alaska (1950 only), Colorado, Delaware, Hawaii (1950 only), Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada (1940 only), New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Dakota, Ohio, Oregon (1940 only), Pennsylvania, Rhode Island (1950 only), South Dakota, Utah (1940 only), Vermont, Washington (1940 only), West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming.

Having rented a number of homes in my day, one thing I know is that it is rare to have upgrades in rentals. Certainly nothing built with the intent to be a rental is "upgraded". The rentals that do have such amenities were originally built to be owner occupied and then subdivided.

Last edited by Katarina Witt; 04-02-2014 at 08:57 PM..
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Old 04-03-2014, 12:28 AM
 
Location: Somewhere in America
12,304 posts, read 10,771,871 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Katiana View Post
In place of what?
Interior trim. Many builders now use that poly crap.

Exterior siding. Wood clapboards are hard to find. Almost always vinyl now. Even the vinyl that's supposed to look like clapboards looks NOTHING like the real thing.

Roof. They used to be made from slate and cedar shingles. Now it's 20 year (if you're lucky) asphalt shingles. Slate can last for well over 100 years. The original cedar shingles are on my 71 year old Cape Cod home with crappy asphalt shingles over them. Which one lasted longer? After 15 years, the asphalt needed to be replaced.
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Old 04-03-2014, 12:34 AM
 
Location: Somewhere in America
12,304 posts, read 10,771,871 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wburg View Post
And, of course, new components that didn't exist when the house was built (central A/C, etc.) can be added later if you want them--nobody is suggesting that you heat your 1890s home with a coal stove and put your food in an icebox, as the ice man hasn't been by to deliver new ice in quite a while.
Hey where I live, coal stoves and furnaces are pretty popular. We have several places that sell a variety of types of coal. No need for an ice man this past winter. Just open up your front door and grab a few handfuls of snow.
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