The Cape Cod is one of the more iconic home styles of the United States. This home style started in the 16th Century in New England. The design brought in the influence of the English homes and modified it to the climates and materials of New England.
The Reverend Timothy Dwight IV (1752–1817), president of Yale University from 1795–1817, coined the term “Cape Cod House” after a visit to the Cape in 1800. His observations were published posthumously in Travels in New England and New York (1821–22).
These are typically 1.5 Story homes with a steep roof, for shedding the heavy New England snow falls. The central chimney was the heating system and has become one of the design characteristics. The original Cape Cods were sided with cedar siding or shakes that weathered grey from the salt air and climate of New England. The original cape cods did not have dormer windows, although dormers also became part of design characteristics along with the white picket fences later on.
The full cape cod has a central door with 2 windows on each side. Window shutters, central chimney, and steep roof are it’s key design elements. The floor plan as you walk in has a central staircase going up to a small upper level, which consisted of two children’s bedrooms. The main floor consisted of a living room, kitchen, and dining and a main floor bedroom.
The half cape has a two windows to one side of a door while the door is at one end of the house. The 3/4 Cape a door to one side of the house with two windows on one side of the door and 1 window on the other side. The Full Cape has a central door and 2 windows on each side of the door.
During the Great Depression these homes became popular again because of their simple design and efficiency, they remained a popular home style up through the 1950’s.
Cape Cods are all over the Twin Cities metro area from the 1930’s – 1950’s. There are many variations to these homes throughout the years, but the basic style is intact. These homes still remain popular for young couples starting out.
I believe this style would do well if it was brought back to the housing market to serve as the entry level homes again. With a little modification made to the living spaces made for today’s lifestyles, these could be affordable – adorable and sell like crazy if priced right.
This home was popular during the 1930’s -1950’s because of economic conditions of the 1930’s and 1940’s and again for the huge demand for affordable housing the post war era, it seems to me we are in similar times…
Photo courtesy of: The Library of CongressNo slides are available.