The popularity of the Craftsman bungalow coincided with the expansion of the middle class, the growth of suburbs, and mass consumerism. Mail-order house kits like those available from the Lewis Manufacturing Company of Bay City, Michigan, contributed to the bungalow’s popularity. Vertically integrated, the company owned forests, sawmills, lumberyards, cutting mills, and finishing mills in Michigan’s timber country. The prospective homeowner could purchase a kit for a bungalow of two bedrooms or a deluxe model, complete with beamed ceilings, a formal dining room, a separate breakfast room, and a den. The buyer supplied the land and the foundation, but the Lewis company provided nearly everything else, precut, numbered, and keyed to the blueprints. Rudolph and Sarah Peterson selected the Vallejo, one of the company’s finest clapboard houses. A side-gabled roof sweeps out to shelter the full-width porch, whose wing walls form a base for wide, tapered columns supporting the roof. Vertical wooden strips along the face of these columns accentuate the tapering, creating “harmony of dimension and design,” according to the catalog. An oversized gabled dormer dominates the facade. A group of three windows with narrow, vertical panes in the upper sashes partially fill the dormer and illuminate each of the rooms. These provided the fresh air and natural light that Progressive reformers believed were important to good health and a happy family life.
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Rudolph and Sarah Peterson House
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