RUSTIC (1916-1960)

Rustic style buildings employ traditional building techniques and natural materials.  The style was widely used during the Great Depression and popularized by all federal land managing agencies and the labor of the Civilian Conservation Corps.  It is commonly found in rural areas of the country.  When executed effectively the rustic style buildings are sensitive to their natural surroundings acting as an “accessory to nature.”  Key concepts that are embodied in the style include subordination, nonintrusiveness and a reflection on the past.  Rustic style buildings strongly influenced the public perception of what type of building should be located in the country’s parks and outdoor environments.

Primary Stylistic Features
  • Log or stone construction.
  • Horizontal orientation.
  • Low pitched roof.
  • Plans are usually rectangular with slight variations.
Secondary Stylistic Features
  • Battered walls.
  • Wide overhanging eaves.
  • Small paned windows.
  • Constructed of locally available materials.
  • Minimal ornamentation.
  • Stone foundation.

Evaluation Considerations

Rustic style architecture is most often found in a park like setting or rural communities. Districts will be rare, but may be found in parks. Most often rustic style buildings will be found and evaluated for individual significance. To be eligible individually or part of a district, rustic style buildings should have all the primary stylistic features and possess a high degree of integrity.

For Further Information

U.S. Department of the Interior. National Park Service. Park Structures and Facilities, edited by Albert H. Good, Branch of Planning, Washington, DC., 1935.

Tweed, William C. Recreation Site Planning and Improvements in the National Forests: 1891-1942. USDA Forest Service. U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, DC, 1980.