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Housing trends through the decades

  • The Wichita Eagle
  • Published Saturday, March 16, 2013, at 8:31 a.m.

Wichita builders and contractors through the years

George Herman Siedhoff built the Broadview, Crown Uptown Theatre and several downtown buildings.

Alton Smith designed houses from 1869 to 1940. He started the California Bungalow Co. and was one of the first architects to introduce the bungalow to Wichita.

Andrew W. Soderberg came to Wichita in 1910 and founded his contracting company in 1918. He built the Innes Building, Woolworths, Helzberg’s, Ken-Mar and Seneca Square shopping centers and warehouses on the Beech Aircraft campus.

Harold Underhill came to Wichita in 1921. He lived in Wichita in the house he built at 340 S. Bluff until 1938.

Orin White moved to Wichita in 1905 and was in the contracting business until 1936. He built many of the houses in College Hill. His was at 384 S. Clifton.

John Neely worked for Fuller Construction Co. at Camp Funston at Fort Riley. He designed several houses in College Hill and commercial buildings in downtown Wichita.

Claude Neil came to Wichita in 1919. By 1922, he had built 100 houses and several apartment buildings including the Navarre and Nokomis Apartments in the 400 block of North Topeka.

Walter Ramsey had a general contracting business and moved to Wichita in 1900. He was a charter member of the Kansas Master Builders Association and served as its president. He built in the Riverside, Delano and College Hill neighborhoods.

Lewis Carl Schrader ran a construction business beginning in 1939. Brothers Willard, Herbert and John started Schrader Brothers Construction, which is still family owned and operated.

Trends in housing

At the turn of the 20th century, “modern” houses included indoor plumbing, built-in gas and electricity. Coal-fired central heating systems were favored over wood- or coal-burning stoves.

With the advancement and affordability of automobiles, more and more houses began to add garages.

In the 1920s, houses often featured steam heat using hot water.

By the 1970s, more and more houses sported hot tubs and in-ground swimming pools.

Wichita’s buildings display a diverse range of architecture.

Here are some of types of houses you likely will see as you explore neighborhoods:

The ranch house was popular in Wichita from the 1930s through most of the 1960s. Many of the houses between Edgemoor and Woodlawn and between Kellogg and 13th to the north are of this type. Key elements: a single story; a long, low roofline with large overhanging eaves; L-shaped or U-shaped design; open simple floor plans; large picture windows with shutters; vaulted ceilings with exposed beams; sliding glass doors that open to a rear patio. Ranch houses do not have a raised foundation, and the house appears to sit on the ground. They may or may not have basements.

Split-level houses became popular in the 1950s. They were a two-story alternative to ranch houses. They often include an attached one- or two-car garage. Many of the houses found in Benjamin Hills are of this type. The McLean House at 2359 N. McLean Blvd. is a classic example.

Gothic Revival style was used for some of Wichita’s earliest houses, including the Murdock House, built in 1874 and now on display at Old Cowtown Museum.

Romanesque was popular in the late 19th century and was used with churches, courthouses, libraries and schools and some houses. Characteristics are rough-cut stone, decorative brickwork, arched openings and cylindrical towers with conical roofs. An example is the B.H. Campbell House, also known as the Castle Inn Riverside, at 1155 N. River Blvd.

Queen Anne homes were most popular during the 1880s through the turn of the 20th century. The houses most commonly featured wood lap siding, oriel windows (bay windows often supported by brackets), and a steeply pitched, irregular-shaped roof. An example is the Chapman-Noble House at 1230 N. Waco.

Folk Victorian was featured in houses from the 1870s through the 1910s, typically as a one-story house with a pyramidal roof. A house in this style would be the Johnson Cottage at 133 S. Charles.

Neoclassica l, a late 19th-century design, was inspired by Georgian, Federal and Greek Revival styles. It features a basic column design. Wichita’s houses in this design typically are rectangular, with the long side facing the street. Walls can be brick, stucco, stone or wood clapboard. An example is the Gelbach House at 1721 N. Park Place.

Italianate houses are generally two story with masonry walls and wide projecting eaves with decorative brackets and a square tower or bay. Windows are tall and narrow. An example is the Wiedeman House, 1805 S. Wichita.

Colonial Revival was popular in Wichita from 1910 to 1950 and is often featured in the College Hill neighborhood. The houses also include foursquare and Cape Cod styles. Typically the houses are two-story buildings, two rooms wide and two rooms deep, with low-pitched roofs.

Dutch Colonial Revival was popular in Wichita during the early 20th century. The house typically has wood clapboard siding, a gambrel or barn-style roof with gabled or shed dormers, exterior brick wainscoting, multi-paned double-hang sash windows and battened shutters. The Hypatia House, 1215 N. Broadway, is Dutch Colonial Revival.

Italian Renaissance Revival was popular from 1890 through 1930 and found in College Hill and Midtown neighborhoods. These houses have flat facades, stucco or masonry walls with different architectural treatments on different stories, beltcourses between stories, and classical columns. The main entrance is often a hooded entryway over round arched doors. An example is the Marc Clapp House, 1817 N. Wellington Place.

Tudor Revival, popular from 1880 through 1940, usually features brick, stucco or a combination of wood, stucco and brick, steeply pitched gables, and little or no eave overhang. Houses are often two stories, two and a half stories or three stories. Many are found in College Hill. Patterned brickwork or stonework is common. Typical of this style is the Powell House at 330 N. Crestway.

Spanish Colonial Revival houses are typically one- or two-story and gabled. The facade is asymmetrical, and the house may have a square tower. It gained popularity in the early 20th century. An example is the C.M. Jackman House at 158 N. Roosevelt.

Arts and Crafts houses are typically foursquare and bungalows. The two-story foursquare houses are two rooms wide and two rooms deep with low-pitched roofs. The front porch is full-length, usually with a hip roof. The bungalows feature different styles: the Queen Anne cottage from 1885 to 1905, the California style from 1900 to 1930, the Mission style from 1890 to 1915, the Tudor style from 1890 to 1915, and the Prairie style from 1900 to 1920. The Art Moderne bungalow from 1930 to 1940 featured looks inspired by designs of locomotives and other modes of transportation. Examples of Craftsman include the Roberts House at 235 N. Roosevelt and the Allen House that Frank Lloyd Wright designed at 255 N. Roosevelt.

Source: Kathy Morgan, Wichita city preservation planner

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