INDIANAPOLIS — Chances are good you can tell a log cabin from a Victorian-era home. But, can you identify a Tudor — or Second Empire-style home? Do you know why the Greek Revival movement found its way to the country’s heartland? Did you know that you used to be able to order a house from Sears & Roebuck?

These facts, stories, and more are part of a new online guide Indiana Landmarks that launched Sept. 1 to help Hoosiers learn about residential home designs over the last 200 years. “Historic House Styles: A Guide to 200 Years of Residential Architecture in Indiana” documents more than 40 home styles – from rustic log homes to modern ranch houses – all of which can be found in Indiana. 

Not only will the online guide help Hoosiers identify architectural styles, but site visitors also will learn how home styles reflect the cultural and historic events that shaped the state and influenced the houses we built. Home designs can say a lot about the time when a home was constructed. 

For example, upon discovery that germs spread illness, Americans rejected the plush interiors of the late nineteenth century in favor of the bare floors, built-in cabinets, and open sleeping porches of the twentieth-century Craftsman style. The new guide showcases home designs that helped spur suburban growth after World War II and shares related details, such as how a home council determined in 1951 that the split level home was particularly well suited for women who liked to clean different parts of the house on different days.

“As you travel along city streets and country roads, you can learn a lot by looking at historic houses. Our new guide is an insightful look at how Indiana home styles have evolved over the last 200 years,” says Suzanne Stanis, Indiana Landmarks’ director of heritage education and information. “You’ll get the background story on how styles evolved, and the cultural events that shaped them. Plus, you’ll find interesting and amusing trivia related to each style!”

Find the guide and begin exploring at https://www.indianalandmarks.org/historic-houses/.

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