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From Cottage to Bungalow: Houses and the Working Class in Metropolitan Chicago, 1869-1929 (Chicago Architecture and Urbanism) 1st Edition

5.0 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0226048758
ISBN-10: 0226048756
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Editorial Reviews

From the Inside Flap

Between 1869 and 1929, immigrants streamed into the city of Chicago at unprecedented rates. The burgeoning working-class neighborhoods and houses that these immigrants inhabited are at the heart of From Cottage to Bungalow.

In this unique book, Joseph C. Bigott challenges many common assumptions about the origins of modern housing. For example, most studies of this period maintain that the prosperous, middle-class housing market produced innovations in housing and community design that filtered down to the lower ranks much later. Bigott shows that the number of houses built for the working class far exceeded those built for the middle class and argues that this dynamic low-end housing market generated enormous wealth and significant social change.

Bigott analyzes ubiquitous, yet previously ignored, aspects of the built environment to make his argument. Drawing on physical evidence found throughout Chicago, he shows how modern bungalows evolved from nineteenth-century cottages through years of incremental change in construction practices, building materials, and methods of selling real estate. He also explores the social and cultural consequences of working-class home ownership by examining two of Chicago's largest immigrant groups, the Germans and the Poles. To show how changes on the landscape affected the lives of ordinary people, Bigott provides a fascinating look inside these communities and their working conditions, labor relations, local politics, and religious institutions. He argues that an intimate, local form of capitalism thrived, even as the great corporations of the day flourished. By improving the circumstances of everyday life, immigrants expanded the notion of who might become worthy citizens to include groups who, fifty years earlier, had been considered beyond redemption.

Ultimately, this book shows that the transformation from cottage to bungalow reminds us that material progress has the power to diminish, as well as extend, the barriers that separate American citizens.

About the Author

Joseph C. Bigott is an assistant professor in the Department of History and Political Science at Purdue University, Calumet.
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Product Details

  • Series: Chicago Architecture and Urbanism
  • Hardcover: 264 pages
  • Publisher: University Of Chicago Press; 1 edition (August 15, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0226048756
  • ISBN-13: 978-0226048758
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.9 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,071,158 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Hardcover
This book steps inside the modest bungalows of ethnic blue-collar workers in greater Chicago at the turn of the century. It examines the bungalow as a housing form that evolved from multiple influences, and considers the meanings that consumers constructed around their homes. A must read for folks who want to understand how ordinary people lived, and how Home, Sweet Home became part of every immigrant family's version of the American Dream.
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Format: Hardcover
I started genealogy research for our family this summer. Our ancestors hail from the Hammond and West Hammond areas featured in the book. The author does far more than merely focusing on the housing designs. He provides an interesting look back at the social, political, and economical climate the immigrants / early settlers lived in. The Notes section is packed with references and has proved to be invaluable as I continue my family history and local history research. I can only hope the author chooses to pick up where this book left off.
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