Synopses & Reviews
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.
It's hard to overestimate the complexity of the factors that dictate something as simple as where, and in what sorts of structures, people live. Urban planning, business, labor, ethnicity, architectureand#8212;each influences the types of structures people live in, and the sorts of lives they lead within them.
Joseph C. Bigott takes on all of these fields in From Cottage to Bungalow, a sophisticated study of domestic structures and ethnic working-class neighborhoods in Chicago during the critical period of 1869 to 1929, when the city attracted huge numbers of immigrants. Exploring the meaning of home ownership in this context, Bigott develops two case studies that combine the intimate lives of ordinary people (primarily in Chicago's Polish and German communities) with broad analysis of everything from real estate markets to the very carpentry practices used to construct houses. His progressive methods and the novel conclusions they support chronicle not only the history of housing in Chicago, but also the organizations of people's lives, and the ways in which housing has affected notions of who isand#8212;and who is notand#8212;a worthy American citizen.
Includes bibliographical references (p. 211-253) and index.
About the Author
Joseph C. Bigott is an assistant professor in the Department of History and Political Science at Purdue University, Calumet.
Table of Contents
List of Illustrations
Introduction From Cottage to Bungalow
Part One: The Evolution of Common House Forms
Chapter One The Evolution of Construction Practice and House Forms in Chicago, 1830-1930
Construction Practice in Illinois
Factory-Produced Millwork and Component Parts
From Rural to Urban Forms
Part Two: Local Capitalism and the Origins of the Working-Class Market
Chapter Two Creating Hammond
The Creation of an Industrial Site at Hammond
The Housing Market in Hammond
Chapter Three Local Politics and the Pullman Strike
Local Politics and Community Development in Hammond
The Origins of the Pullman Strike
The Pullman Strike in Hammond
Part Three: New Immigrants, Citizenship, and Chicago's Housing Market
Chapter Four Chicago Polonia and the Complex Market
Community Formation and Parish Life
The Nature of Chicago's Immigrant Housing Market
Changing Neighborhoods and the Evolution of a Complex Market
Part Four: Polish Community Life and the Development of
Chapter Five Polish Settlement in West Hammond
Chapter Six First-Generation Politics and Reform in West Hammond
Local Reform and the Vice District
Chapter Seven The New Civic Culture
Rebuilding West Hammond
Prohibition and the Business Administration
World War I, Prosperity, and the New Civic Culture
Expanding the New Civic Culture
The Emergence of Polish-American Culture
Conclusion The Search for Order