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  #1  
Old Posted Sep 19, 2019, 4:12 PM
Docere Docere is offline
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Interwar neighborhoods and suburbs

What sections of your city (and suburbs) were built up during this time - say 1920-1940.

This is an interesting period for urban development in that you have dense urban neighborhoods, streetcar suburb type development, garden suburbs, automobile suburbs etc. A period of transition.

In Toronto, the core below St. Clair Ave. was built up by 1920. The interwar period saw the development of North Toronto, the old borough of York, Old East York as well as the Kingsway and lakeshore sections of Etobicoke.

Many of TO's richest areas date from the interwar period though of course more working class areas were built at that time too.
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  #2  
Old Posted Sep 19, 2019, 4:59 PM
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A lot of southern Westchester, Nassau County, LI, Outer Queens and large swaths of Northern NJ date from the interwar era. Definition a transition era, as auto-oriented (though not auto dominated) suburbia came into focus.
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  #3  
Old Posted Sep 19, 2019, 6:02 PM
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Pretty much all of Miami's core was built out during this period, though much of it was bulldozed and rebuilt recently. Miami's core, plus Coral Gables and Miami Beach were mostly built in the 20's and 30's (not much was built anywhere in the 40s).
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  #4  
Old Posted Sep 19, 2019, 6:59 PM
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because of the great depression, chicago (as i'm sure in many other cities) has a very noticeable dearth of housing constructed in the 30s.

there was an absolute shit-load of stuff built in the '20s, but that all came to a screeching halt, and didn't really fully pick back up again until after the war.

it's why you see a lot of this in certain sections of chicago: random lots that didn't get built before the depression struck that then laid fallow for a couple decades until they were finally developed alongside their noticeably older neighbors in a radical new style

https://www.google.com/maps/@41.9588...7i16384!8i8192
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Last edited by Steely Dan; Sep 19, 2019 at 7:30 PM.
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  #5  
Old Posted Sep 19, 2019, 7:18 PM
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LA's historic core is still pretty intact and and was built in the 1920s and 30s mostly. Much of LA's housing stock east of La Cienga (8 miles west of downtown) was probably built in this same time frame.
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  #6  
Old Posted Sep 19, 2019, 7:27 PM
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In the Philadelphia region, a new type of rowhome came into being during the interwar period: the airlite. As this Inky article on the Philadelphia neighborhood of Mayfair puts it:
Quote:
Mayfair's houses are primarily airlites.

Simply put, an airlite is a rowhouse with its kitchen and dining room side by side at the rear of the first floor - as opposed to a "straight-through" rowhouse, in which one (typically the kitchen) is behind the other.
A second key feature of the airlite, which Mr. Heavens ignores and probably informs the demonstrably wrong paragraph following, is that airlites were the first rowhome style to have garages come standard. Early airlites date to the early- to mid-1920s and were often decorated in an ornate Tudor style, like this or this.

By the 1930s, though, consumer tastes had changed, and airlites became much simpler and less ornate. The bulk of Philadelphia's airlites date to this era, with Oxford Circle and Mayfair (the two major interwar neighborhoods in Northeast Philadelphia) and Cedarbrook -- as well as some suburbs like Upper Darby -- got built out in this style.

Interestingly, semi- and fully-detached housing of the period tended to be confined to railroad suburbs, of which the Northeast's Burholme neighborhood is perhaps the best example.

Airlite construction continued after WWII -- into the 1960s, in fact -- with some interesting modernist takes on the style, like these 1950s examples from Wynnefield Heights. But, by this time, national trends in housing had begun to overtake the local industry and the airlite style, which constitutes a not insignificant percentage of the Philadelphia region's rowhome stock, died off in favor of the kinds of suburban subdivisions found nearly everywhere else.
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  #7  
Old Posted Sep 20, 2019, 12:08 AM
Docere Docere is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steely Dan View Post
because of the great depression, chicago (as i'm sure in many other cities) has a very noticeable dearth of housing constructed in the 30s.

there was an absolute shit-load of stuff built in the '20s, but that all came to a screeching halt, and didn't really fully pick back up again until after the war.

it's why you see a lot of this in certain sections of chicago: random lots that didn't get built before the depression struck that then laid fallow for a couple decades until they were finally developed alongside their noticeably older neighbors in a radical new style

https://www.google.com/maps/@41.9588...7i16384!8i8192
I'm guessing much of the bungalow belt is from the interwar period, as are the North Shore suburbs and Oak Park.
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  #8  
Old Posted Sep 20, 2019, 2:15 PM
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Originally Posted by Docere View Post
I'm guessing much of the bungalow belt is from the interwar period, as are the North Shore suburbs and Oak Park.
i grew up in wilmette on the north shore. it was built in several waves. the commuter rail station in wilmette opened in 1869, and the village was then incorporated 3 years later, but growth was slow at first. it wasn't until sometime in the 1880s that the village crossed the 1,000 people threshold. then things started moving, between 1890 and 1920, wilmette grew 5-fold. that's the part of wilmette that i grew up in (east wilmette). it was primarily built out by 1920 (the house i grew up in was built in 1912, our next door neighbor's house was built in the 1880s).

then came the '20s and wilmette annexed the adjacent village of gross point (central wilmette), swelling the village's population, and new homes continued to be built in central wilmette. then came the depression and the war and things quieted down, then in the '50s and '60s, west wilmette was primarily built out.
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Last edited by Steely Dan; Sep 20, 2019 at 2:29 PM.
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  #9  
Old Posted Sep 20, 2019, 10:39 PM
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The main interwar neighbourhood in St. John's is actually my own. Rabbittown. It was started immediately following WWI and finished just before WWII.

It's here in the centre:



A little tour in the spoiler below, set to some scenes from the neighbourhood local...

Video Link


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Last edited by SignalHillHiker; Sep 20, 2019 at 10:50 PM.
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  #10  
Old Posted Sep 21, 2019, 2:47 AM
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The city of Detroit expanded from 40 square miles in 1910 to 178 square miles by 1930. So obviously a lot of the city is interwar development (as would be Grosse Pointe and Highland Park/Hamtramck).
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  #11  
Old Posted Sep 21, 2019, 3:02 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Docere View Post
The city of Detroit expanded from 40 square miles in 1910 to 178 square miles by 1930. So obviously a lot of the city is interwar development (as would be Grosse Pointe and Highland Park/Hamtramck).
And Dearborn, the Downriver communities (Wyandotte, Lincoln Park, Melvindale), and the Lower Woodward communities in Oakland County (Ferndale, Pleasant Ridge, Berkley).
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  #12  
Old Posted Sep 21, 2019, 10:42 AM
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I’m going to be potentially controversial for this forum, and say that aside from Art Deco commercial architecture, the interwar years were for the most part not great architecturally. In the UK, I’m not even a fan of early 20th century Edwardian housing. It was the Victorians that started to introduce cheap, mass-produced housing and “suburbia”. It’s the neighborhoods from before the 1870s or so that are most attractive.
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  #13  
Old Posted Sep 23, 2019, 1:15 AM
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Outer London is largely interwar.
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Old Posted Sep 23, 2019, 2:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 10023 View Post
I’m going to be potentially controversial for this forum, and say that aside from Art Deco commercial architecture, the interwar years were for the most part not great architecturally. In the UK, I’m not even a fan of early 20th century Edwardian housing. It was the Victorians that started to introduce cheap, mass-produced housing and “suburbia”. It’s the neighborhoods from before the 1870s or so that are most attractive.
I'd agree with this, broadly speaking.

Architecturally speaking, the interwar periods were notable for two general trends. One was the continued simplification of design and removal of ornament. For residential buildings, this didn't generally yet mean anything interesting in terms of modern design, just toned down, uglier versions of styles which began a few decades earlier (bungalows, foursquares, etc). In terms of styled residential architecture, there was a movement away from more freeform styles to "revivalist" styles (Federalist Revival and "Tudor" revival in particular) which are honestly kind of hokey.

In terms of layout, interwar neighborhoods are boring proto-suburbia. In the U.S. there's actually very little difference between them and the earliest postwar suburban neighborhoods (besides the general lack of attached garages). Even streetcar suburbia is basically just the suburbs. Outside of a few of the densest cities, new-built urban neighborhoods basically stopped being built around 1900 or so.
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Old Posted Sep 23, 2019, 3:23 PM
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From Creeping Conformity, a book about suburubanization in Canada:

Quote:
Suburbanization began before 1900. In the larger cities, quite extensive suburbs had grown up during the prosperous decades from the 1840s onward. In Montreal in the 1850s, for example, impressive terraces were built on newly subdivided lots north of Dorchester Street, between Mountain and University streets, while above Sherbrooke Street estates were laid out on the lower slopes of Mount Royal. Similarly, during the economic boom of the 1880s another fine suburb began to grow up in Toronto north of Bloor Street and west of Avenue Road, an area that became known as the Annex after it was brought into the city in 1884. But the wave of suburban growth that gained momentum after 1900 was different, above all in scale. The depression of the 1890s was the deepest of the nineteenth century, in some respects equalling that of the Great Depression of the 1930s. Some cities lost population for a short time in the 1890s, and few new houses were built. In areas like the Annex, which had been subdivided but incompletely developed the 1880s, the discontinuity was blurred: piecemeal development in the 1900s filled the gaps. Much more striking was the creation of extensive new districts during the speculative boom in suburban subdivision that reached a fever between 1909 and 1912.

Subdivisions that were laid out between 1900 and 1914 produced suburbs on a wholly new scale around almost every Canadian city. Two developments combined to create this new phenomenon: the electric streetcar and unprecedented economic growth.
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Old Posted Sep 23, 2019, 3:43 PM
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I kinda like urban 1930's-1940's design, but I'm not a fan of ornament. I like the streamlined, clean lines. But given the times, many of the layouts were less lavish, and ceiling heights started shrinking.

The superprime stretch of Fifth along the Park has a ton of 1930's-1940's buildings. I prefer, say, 880 Fifth, over its predecessor and successor neighbors:

https://www.google.com/maps/@40.7708...7i16384!8i8192

But yeah, there wasn't a lot of high density development in most of urban America, really from 1929 till the early 1950's.
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  #17  
Old Posted Sep 23, 2019, 3:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Docere View Post
Outer London is largely interwar.
Yes, except for where there were older villages or towns that were absorbed into the metropolis after the fact. Somewhere like Richmond is largely Georgian if you are anywhere near the center. But most of what was added as part of the 1965 amalgamation of Greater London isn’t really London anyway.
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Old Posted Sep 23, 2019, 4:07 PM
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I mean, to my mind the fundamental disjuncture - the beginning of suburbia - was the electric streetcar because that was when you really started seeing a separation of the uses and the classes.

Earlier neighborhoods - even "proto-suburbs" connected to the core via horsecar, cable car, via railroads, or ferries - were all "walking neighborhoods." They were meant to be interacted with primarily on foot. Blocks were short, streets were narrow, and buildings on a given block could vary dramatically in terms of style, scope, and utilization. This was a necessity because every neighborhood needed to have residences available for all classes, every neighborhood needed commercial storefronts, and virtually all ended up having some industrial businesses as well. What this meant was a great deal of heterogeneity on each block, which makes them a pleasure to walk to just in the sense that you never knew what you were going to see when you turned the corner.

The electric streetcar changed this because it created the first neighborhoods not primarily meant to be dealt with on foot. Thus you got large swathes of land made up of interchangeable residential housing - often all made for people of basically identical socio-economic status - with nothing else nearby other than perhaps a tiny smattering of commercial. But really, not that much to see - or to walk to - because you aren't supposed to walk, you're supposed to catch the streetcar and go somewhere more interesting.
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Old Posted Sep 26, 2019, 3:43 AM
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San Francisco's Marina District is built on the site of the 1915 Panama Pacific International Exposition, which was held mostly to celebrate the city's post-earthquake resurrection. Almost none of the expo buildings were kept, and the site was redeveloped as a new, 'modern' residential district. It is almost certainly the first sizable chunk of San Francisco to have been plotted and built with the automobile in mind. In any case, Wikipedia states it was fully built out in the 1920s, which would put the majority of the district's structures within the 1918-1933 'interwar' period. Anecdotally, my great-great-grandfather lived with one of his daughters and her husband in a Marina District home that the couple had purchased brand new.

An example of a residential intersection:

https://goo.gl/maps/yqtdrz25FwySXMhSA
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