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Thread: Buffalo's Bungalow Belt

  1. #1

    Buffalo's Bungalow Belt

    There is an interesting cluster of Bungalows on Buffalo's south side. It seems that each city has a bungalow style of its own. Although these are not necessarily unique to Buffalo they are the prevalent type in the city and are very different from the type you would find in , say, Chicago.

    They are simple houses, very well built, nicely detailed and have great space inside. They even seem to hold up well against the vinyl plague.

  2. #2
    Cyburbian Luca's avatar
    Mar 2005
    London, UK
    In the UK, a "bungalow" is by definition single-story. But I know it's not that way in the US. I guess nowadays "nobody" wants such "small" houses in the US. Too bad.

  3. #3
    In the US a bonnet is a hat preferably worn on Easter

  4. #4
    Oct 2007
    Pittsburgh, PA

    Not Unique to Buffalo

    In Miwaukee, these very same types of homes are referred to as "Milwaukee bungalows." From the photos you've posted, it would be difficult to identify the exact city depicted. Could be Buffalo, could also be Cleveland, Detroit, Milwaukee or a dozen other cities of a comparable age/climate. Man, I'd love to live in one again - they were very comfortable homes, and many had a quasi-craftsman feel to the interiors. Granted, they are small by today's standards.

  5. #5
    Cyburbia Administrator Dan's avatar
    Mar 1996
    Upstate New York
    Blog entries
    Those houses scream "BUFFALO!" more than a drunk, shirtless Bills fan in the nosebleed seats at Raph Wilson Stadium in December.

    When they were first built and sold after World War II, Buffalo's bungalows were marketed as "semi-bungalows". Real estate agents, though, usually call them "colonials" or "capes" in their listings; both incorect terms.

    More Buffalo semi-bungalows: The side-hipped roofs (see below) are more common in Kensington and the outer East Side neighborhoods, while it looks like front-hipped roofs are the norm in South Buffalo

    There's also the "Kenmore compromise".

    Few of Buffalo's semi-bungalows are in their original condition. Most are located in what are now lower middle-class or transitional neighborhoods, and historical integrity has never been a priority among their owners. Large picture windows, vinyl and aluminum siding, and iron railings -- all common post-WWII modifications.

    There are even some two-flat semi-bungalows in Buffalo.

    Cleveland doesn't have many bungalows in the traditional sense. The bulk of single-family middle and lower-middle-end housing built during the 1920s were either four-square and Dutch Colonial variants, or industrial vernacular-style houses.

    In Cleveland, if you refer to a "bungalow", it means a 1950s-era 1.5 floor house with a hipped roof, that looks Cape-ish but not quite. A Clevelander will think of something like this if you mention "bungalow" to them.

    In the inner-ring suburb where I live, they're increasingly called "mid-century bungalows" or just "mid-centuries."

  6. #6
    Unfrozen Caveman Planner mendelman's avatar
    May 2003
    Staff meeting
    Nice set of photos.

    I agree that this building type is not unique to Buffalo. There is neighborhood upon neighborhood in Detroit with these same size/style houses.

    They are great houses anyways. I would certainly like one myself.
    I'm sorry. Is my bias showing?

    Every day is today. Yesterday is a myth and tomorrow an illusion.

  7. #7
    To clarify:

    I am not saying that these are unique to Buffalo just that they are the common Buffalo type.

    This one that dan showed is close to the Chicago type, though in Chicago it is more likely rendered in brick.

  8. #8
    Cyburbian Mud Princess's avatar
    Aug 2002
    They just don't make neighborhoods like this anymore! Seriously, all the cr@p that developers today market as "communities" are just a bunch of houses on a grid.

    Bungalows like this can be found in some of the nicer, older neighborhoods of Albany and Schenectady, too. Though small by today's wasteful mini-Mansion standards, these homes are often larger than they look, especially if the attic has been carved up into additional rooms. Looks like the neighborhoods in these photos are pretty well maintained. And walkable!

  9. #9
    Cyburbian jsk1983's avatar
    Feb 2004
    Chicago, IL
    I have quite a few pictures of Chicago bungalows - very similar to the Kenmore bungalow except of course brick. Interesting thing about Chicago bungalows is that the front uses a higher quality brick than the rest of the house. Still better than vinyl which would be the likely fate of the vast majority of these otherwise.

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