Minimal Traditional (1935-1960)

Minimal Traditional houses can be found in most communities throughout Alaska.

The Minimal Traditional style, sometimes referred to as Minimal Tract, emerged  in the 1930s after the Great Depression. This style had a form that was relfective of Eclectic houses common in earlier decades, but less emphasis was placed on decorative detailing. In essence, Minimal Traditional houses were simplified versions of higher styles such as the Tudor.  The style grew in popularity in latter part of the 1930s, reaching its peek in the years preceding and following World War II. These buildings are indicative of a transition in American architecture when the deep set bungalows gave way to  horizontally oriented ranches.  Minimal Traditional houses were  built of a variety of materials, including wood, brick, stone, or a mixture of wall-cladding materials. However, in Alaska they were built mostly of wood, as this material was more readily available than stone or brick. Although Tudor homes are a rare find in Alaska, Minimal Traditional houses containing architectural features derived from this style are common. A cross gable sheltering the primary entrance on the principal facade is a stylistic feature typical of Minimal Traditional homes that is perhaps the most reflective of the Tudor style.

Stylistic Features:

  • Compact in size, typically one or one and a half story in height
  • Moderately pitched roof with little, if any overhang
  • Simplified details to reflect modernity
  • Side gable houses often have an intersecting gable to shelter main entrance
  • Clad in narrow horizontal wood siding, wood shingles, or in rare cases birch or stone
  • Windows are typically wood framed and modest in design. In some cases, one large picture window is incorporated onto the principal facade
  • Multi-lite windows are common with this style before World War II
  • Simple floor plan

William L. Conover had this Minimal Traditional built in 1937. It is reflective of higher style Tudor homes prominent in American architecture throughout the early 20th century.