20TH CENTURY

COTTAGE RANCH (1945-1955)

The Cottage Ranch, also called Tract Ranch, is a transitory style between the Minimal Traditional style and Modern Ranch. Cottage Ranches brought home ownership to the masses following the war. Their simple designs and relatively inexpensive balloon frame construction on slabs expedited production resulting in affordable housing. They are found in large subdivisions with slight variations and were often financed through federal housing initiatives. The form of the building is square or rectangular and smaller in scale when compared to the Modern Ranch.

Primary Stylistic Features
  • Asymmetrical façade.
  • Moderate to low pitched roof.
  • Minimal orientation.
  • Horizontal massing.
  • Single story.
Secondary Stylistic Features
  • Attached carports or garages.
  • Composition shingles.
  • Horizontal wood siding or asbestos siding.
  • Paired windows.
  • Prominent driveway.

Evaluation Considerations

Cottage Ranches are abundant in Alaska due to the rapid growth after World War II and the mass production of this housing type during that period. Cottage Ranches will be significant in a district context. The districts will usually follow subdivision lines and cottage ranches should be the prevalent, if not the only, housing type in the district. Cottage Ranches will rarely be significant individually. In those rare circumstances, the Cottage Ranch should embody all the primary features and all the secondary features. For individual listing, Cottage Ranches must retain a high level of integrity and be associated with a prominent builder, developer or designer. Cottage Ranches were designed for additions, so sympathetic additions should not negate eligibility as long as significance can be conveyed. Converted garages are also appropriate. Second story additions must be appropriately set back, maintaining the regularity of the streetscape


For Further Information

Bricker, David. "Ranch Houses are not all the Same," Preserving the Recent Past 2, edited by Debora Slaton and William G. Foulks, Washington, DC: Historic Preservation Education Foundation, National Park Service and Association for Preservation Technology International, 2000.

Girling, Cynthia, and Kenneth Helpand, Yard, Street, Park: The Design of Suburban Open Space, New York: John Wiley, 1994.

Hunter, Christine. Ranches, Rowhouses, and Railroad Flats American Homes: How They Shaped Our Landscapes and Neighborhoods. New York. WW Horton. 1999.