Architectural Styles

Chicago Cape Cod

Chicago Cape CodThe Cape Cod claims fame as the first domestic house-type built by colonialist in the late 17th Century. Resembling the familiar farmhouse and half-timbered homes of England, English colonists built similarly styled homes able to withstand the harsh treatments the stormy weather delivered to the New England coastline. Original versions were essentially single-story shingle cottages void of much ornamentation. Roof lines were simple gables without dormers.

The Cape Cod experienced two revivals, first in the later part of the 19th century, with a variety of brick and siding clad frame Cape Cods. At this time, the use of dormers and intersecting gables began to impart the more familiar modern look to Cape Cods. The second revival occurred after WWII. The common 20th Century version of the Cape Cod is sprung from the same post-war building frenzy that inspired the Ranch home when the style experienced another resurgence in popularity.

In Chicago, the typical Cape Cod is a story and-a-half, and sits on a standard 25’X125’ city lot. It is often the same house as a Ranch style home, but with a half-story second floor that often served as the private portion of the house. Typical layouts would involve free-flowing rooms with partial walls, and open floor plans that resemble Ranch homes, but the half story would often house at least 2 bedrooms. A Ranch home is typically about 1,000 to 1,200 square feet of living space, whereas a Cape Cod often added as 400 or more square feet by utilizing the attic space for bedrooms. As with many other Chicago brick homes, they often featured a face brick on any street-facing sides and a common brick else-where. If they didn’t exhibit a cleaner Mid-Century Modern exterior aesthetic, they often carried some Tudor elements, and often are referred to as Tudors. Cape Cods and Ranches were the new Worker Cottages for 40s and 50s. They can be found throughout Chicago, with a concentration of them in Edison Park, Norwood Park, Sauganash, Jefferson Park, and other areas in the Northwest side of Chicago, as well as a number of Western and Northern suburbs such as Niles, Brookfield, Maywood, Melrose Park, Franklin Park and Oak Lawn.

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