“Suburban Modern” Homes of the Early 20th Century – April 18th

“Suburban Modern” Homes of the Early 20th Century

The Westfield Historic Preservation Commission will present a special program titled “Suburban Modern:” Homes of the Early 20th Century, on Thursday, April 18, at 7:30 pm in the Community Room, 425 E. Broad St. in Westfield, NJ.   Presented by Janet W. Foster, an authority on New Jersey historic architecture, the illustrated talk will discuss how these homes were built, what physical and social attributes they shared, and how they continue to create pleasant, livable neighborhoods.  The program is free and open to the public.

Westfield’s tremendous population growth in the first third of the 20th century created a housing boom that remains evident in many of its historic neighborhoods.  Hundreds of homes ranging in size from cottages to mansions — including Foursquares, Capes, Craftsman bungalows, and popular revival styles such as Tudor, Dutch Colonial, and Spanish Mission — were built between 1900 and 1930.  This housing stock was “modern” in every sense of the word, from the exterior design to the interior amenities, including bathrooms, kitchen, heating system, and often a garage to meet the latest requirements of a middle-class homeowner. 

Janet W. Foster is an architectural historian and historic preservation consultant with over 30 years of experience with New Jersey’s buildings.  She is a graduate of the Columbia University Historic Preservation Program, where she currently serves as adjunct professor.  She is the author of numerous articles and books, including Building By the BookPattern-book Architecture in New Jersey (1992, Rutgers University Press), the definitive history of NJ’s early 20th century plan book and kit homes.  A resident of Madison, Ms. Foster serves on the New Jersey State Review Board for Historic Site and the New Jersey Historic Trust.    

Recognizing the cultural significance of Westfield’s rich historic and architectural heritage, the Historic Preservation Commission was established by municipal ordinance in 1984. The HPC is charged with preserving historical sites and structures while fostering an appreciation for these landmarks as an essential element of the town’s unique character.  For additional information, please visit westfieldnj.gov/historicpreservation.

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