A Short History of Mid-Century Ranches in the Midwest

13 min read We can all use a reminder that history comes with context — what was important and why –before we make informed choices about what we change, and what we shouldn’t.

This week, I’m digging into the history of mid-century ranches in the midwest. After all, it helps to know where we’re coming from before we plan where to go next.

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What Every Ranch Owner Needs to Know about the History of the Midwestern Ranch

6 min read The Midwestern Ranch arrived in the middle from both East and West Coast influences. Plus there was a local influence (pssst – it was Frank Lloyd Wright).

The Midwestern Ranch has many influences. If you’ve been following me for any amount of time, you know how much I love a ranch. Today I’m digging into what I see as the  major inspirations of my local variety.

The Midwestern Ranch arrived here from both the East and West Coasts, where the two movements met and melded.

Continue reading “What Every Ranch Owner Needs to Know about the History of the Midwestern Ranch”

Exploring Mid-Century Color: Cherokee Red

6 min read Long before the millennial Mid Mod craze for grey painted houses with color pop doors, the color people chose to say “I’m in with Mid-Century architecture In-Crowd” was a particular shade of dark brick red.  

Searching for a bold Mid-century Color? Cherokee Red (with a few variations) was the signature color of the early mid century period.

Cherokee Red defied the soft-spoken powder blue and baby pink color schemes of milder and more traditional post-war homes.  It made its mark before the 60’s Mod drive toward bright orange flowers and avocado appliances.  Cherokee Red was the color of choice especially among the mid-century architects who trained with Frank Lloyd Wright at his Taliesin schools. Continue reading “Exploring Mid-Century Color: Cherokee Red”

Featured Ranch: the Jacobs House

3 min read Most experts acknowledge some Wright influence on the development of the ranch. I see some very direct lines from his Usonian experiments and later midcentury mass housing styles.

This, and the other Usonian houses designed by Frank Lloyd Wright are more like older cousins of the ranch – not in the direct line but still strongly connected from both a design and lifestyle philosophy point of view.

Wright started to design Usonian or USA-onian houses during the depression when he was short of clients and those he did have were equally short of funds.  They were more than cheap knockoffs, however.  Wright designed the Usonian Houses to be a “building system, adaptable to each client with whatever modifications he might need regarding space and site conditions. Continue reading “Featured Ranch: the Jacobs House”