 The story of housing in the United States begins
before the colonies were established by the first
European settlers. There is a sharp contrast between
the houses of today and those of early North America.
 Early humans lived in caves. They provided the very
basic need of shelter, a place to sleep and rest.
 Another form is the dugout, a large hole dug in the
 First known as cliff dwellers. Overhangs were enclosed
to give them warmth, privacy, and security.
 Some Native Americans lived in huts that were
constructed of poles and coverings of thatch, hides, or
mud placed over poles.
 Some lived in tepees and wigwams.
 Some lived in permanent dwellings constructed of
 First shelters used by European settlers were copied
after native American dwellings.
 Houses were built in a short amount of time due to
house raisings. They attempted to copy the houses in
their homeland. The styles had to be adapted to the
materials available.
 The thatched roof houses in England were not suitable
to the cold New England climate.
 The abundance of trees made the log cabin convenient
to build.
Log cabin
Thatched roof house
 People moved west and settled on large plots of land.
 Farmhouses and plantation houses were built.
 Late 1700’s majority of settlers were agrarian, people
who earned their living from the land.
 By 1890, the rural population had decreased as a result
of the industrial revolution. People began to move to
cities along with immigrants looking for jobs. The
birth rate increased and cities grew.
 Houses were being built together and crowded.
 First tenement houses, built mainly for immigrants,
appeared in New York about 1840. They were constructed
without any regulations.
 A typical tenement house was 5 stories and consisted of 116
two-room apartments. Outdoor toilets were located on the
land in between the buildings.
 Conditions were very poor and landlords were known as
 In 1890 the Government required each room in a tenement
house have a window. Each apartment was to have running
water and a kitchen sink. Bathrooms were put in the
stairway area connecting the floors.
 First row houses were built in 1820’s.
 Row houses: continuous group of dwellings connected
by common sidewalls.
 Many were built to house factory workers.
 Wood and coal burning stoves
 Oil and gas lamps
 Ice boxes
 Indoor plumbing
 Machinery
Row Houses
Tenement Housing
Plantation Houses
 Number of immigrants was increasing.
 During World War I, almost no housing was built excpet
for by the federal government. This caused a housing
Housing was overcrowded and there was a shortage of
materials causing houses to fall apart.
After World War I 1/3 of the population was living in
substandard housing.
Great Depression 1929, more than half the population lived
in cities.
The government soon saw the need for housing reform.
 The first census, an official count of the population,
was taken in 1940.
 The census determined the housing needs of people
were not being met.
 Factory produced houses began to emerge.
 Modular, manufactured/mobile, pre-cut, and kit
 Following WWII housing construction resumed.
 Tract houses, groups of similarly designed houses

Influences on Housing Ch.2