Builders in the early 20th century referred to this type as “truly American . . . the square type of modern home,” “massive” and “conservative.” Whether done plain or embellished with Prairie School, Arts and Crafts, or Colonial Revival details, the Foursquare house was economical, built—and suited to small lots, prefab parts, and the housing boom. Foursquares seemed to spring up almost overnight. There were none in 1890. By 1910, thousands had been built. This familiar house got recognition and a name in 1982, in an article by Old-House Journal publishers Clem Labine and Patricia Poore.
The epitome of the post-Victorian “comfortable house,” the Foursquare is about dignified self-containment.