Bungalow Houses

a virtual museum

by Gina Giuliano

At one time, to me, a bungalow signified a small, probably rented, damp, dark, and (of course) unpleasant temporary residence. Later, I found that some of my thinking was misguided, but not all of those childhood images were incorrect. The literature does not mention bungalows as being particularly damp, dark, or unpleasant; in fact, Gustav Stickley (1912/1982) praises them by writing in The Craftsman that they are "houses that are durable, beautiful, comparatively inexpensive and always convenient" (p. 59).

The bungalow seems to have had two origins. "Narrowly, the bungalow as a house form originated in British Bengal, from which came even the name, derived from bangala, signifying typical native dwellings. But more broadly the bungalow as a kind of impermanent dwelling is rooted in the earliest decades of North American history and its entire frontier tradition" (Gowans, 1986, p. 76). Although bungalows first appeared as vacation homes in the northeastern United States, this type of house is frequently associated with California.

Working class families in Castleton embraced the bungalow; there is almost no street in the village that does not have an example of this type of house. "By their very nature, bungalows were non-professional and part of popular rather than high culture" (Cumming and Kaplan, 1991, p. 124).

Works Cited

Cumming, E. and Kaplan W. (1991). The arts and crafts movement. London: Thames and Hudson Ltd.

Gowans, A. (1986). The Comfortable House. Cambridge, Massachusetts: The MIT Press.

Stickley, G. (1982). More craftsman homes. Republished, New York: Dover Publications, Inc. (Original work published New York: Craftsman Publishing Company, 1912).

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