Common Houses in America’s Small Towns
The Atlantic Seaboard to the Mississippi Valley

John A. Jakle, Robert W. Bastian, and Douglas K. Meyer


"Thoughtful new insights into how the physical makeup of our towns ultimately defines how we live and how we react to our heritage."
Small Town


A geographical field guide to the American house. Based on an inventory of seventeen thousand homes in twenty sample cities from the Atlantic Seaboard to the Mississippi Valley, this book explores how Americans housed themselves in the 1980s.


  • Houses are divided into categories based on form, creating five broad families--one room deep, two rooms deep, irregularly massed, bungalow, and ranch.
  • Photographs illustrate such diverse types as the hall and parlour cottage, salt box house, and raised ranch house, and such characteristics as height, roof form, and facade material.
  • Charts and maps plot regional variations, revealing for example the prevalence of pre-World War I housing in the Middle West and of post-World War II ranches in the South.
  • Glossary of structural forms gives more formal definition and description for the sixty-seven specific dwelling types analyzed.
Page count: 254 pp.
Trim size: 8 x 10


List price: $29.95

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John A. Jakle is a professor of geography and landscape architecture at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. Among his many books are The Visual Elements of Landscape, The Tourist: Travel in Twentieth-Century America, and The American Small Town: Twentieth-Century Place Images. Robert W. Bastian is a professor of geography at Indiana State University. Douglas K. Meyer, a professor of geography at Eastern Illinois University, is the author of Pictorial Landscape History of Charleston, Illinois.