The lakes Vernacular Zone includes the eastern prairies and the Great Lakes StatesThat is no longer the case due to rapid (over)development. The growing season is quite short however, so certain portions have returned to their natural state of beauty, being abandoned by early farmers. As one moves west, the plains unfold before you, with too little rainfall to support many trees. With a high groundwater table, basements are rare. Vegetation is plentiful, creating intimate spaces in meadows rather than grand vistas, most often.
As one moves west, the plains unfold before you, with too little rainfall to support many trees. With a high groundwater table, basements are rare. Vegetation is plentiful, creating intimate spaces in meadows rather than grand vistas, most often.
The earliest settlers here were Native Americans, who built dome shaped wigwams of curved trees covered with bark, longhouses, and earthworks.
The first European settlers were French and British trappers and traders, who were very interested in the protection of their goods, and started building fortified trade complexes, religious missions, and military compounds. The form of these structures was most often square, and surrounded by high walls of log or stone. As later settlers moved in from the East, they first built log cabins and then brought in the architectural styles of the east coasts' later periods, including Greek and Gothic revival. Lumber was plentiful in the forested areas, thus wood was the preferred building material, with horizontal siding on the main body of the structures and vertical siding in the gables. The structure was often celebrated, with deep ornamental brackets, posts, and trussing.
Craftsmanship was key, and the woodworking of the time was second to none. Arts and Crafts and Adirondack styles were highly prevalent here in the late 19th century.
Response to Environment
Protection of the wild landscapes (riparian zones) around the lakes and streams and rivers here is critical to protecting the wildlife and plants that thrive here. Most winds come from the northwest, and evergreen plantings are used to push that wind away from the structures. Southwest winds are allowed in with the use of deciduous trees. Most homes are no more than 2 stories. Windows are more vertical than horizontal and are usually double-hung. Shutters are common for keeping in the warmth on winter nights. Entry vestibules are usually added on in lieu of planned into the main body of the structure. The commonly hipped or gabled roof pitches are steep, often 7:12 or more, and have broad overhangs to minimize the impact of driving rain and snow.