Do all foursquare homes have full porches?

firsthome1January 20, 2011

Hi there,

I am a new member and first-time home owner. We purchased a 1910 home 3 years ago. I am trying to get the home back to its original status. However, I would like to be sure of the architectural category before we make more improvements. I am not certain it is a foursquare because we do not have a full porch, only stoop. We have all the other trademarks though. Any feedback would be great. Also, while I am posting we are looking for thoughts on removing the siding that previous owners put on all the gables. Does any one have historically acurate suggstions?

Thanks in advance. PS I have tried to provide a photo, but have not figured it out. Can someone guide me on that as well? Thanks

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Welcome! I am not any authority on house styles, but from what I understand the description of a four square includes a large porch that spans the front of the house. However, I'm sure it is not unheard of that the porch may have been removed. Is it a covered stoop, or just the steps? Either way, that may be the case. It sounds to me like you must have a four square, including the gables and if it is the typical 4 rooms over 4 rooms and probably an attic. As for siding, I don't know. My guess is anything from brick to clap-board siding would have been original to the four square style. You will no doubt get some more educated answers than what I can offer. Pictures are always good :) I use image shack and then post the link to the photo in the "Optional Link URL" area under the dialog box. Good luck!

    Bookmark   January 20, 2011 at 7:09PM
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There are certain markers that people use to HELP identify house styles. NOT every house within that style is going to have ALL the markers.

I wouldn't worry too much if everything else says 4 square but you are missing the porch.
Houses evolve, things are added, things are taken away. Houses do not survive if they are not functional for the families that dwell inside them.

If you really want to find out if yours had a porch I'd wait till spring, get out a shovel and start digging down about 3 feet. If you hit a foundation you will know something else was there.
Another option is to simply add on a porch that is in the four square style. For all you know the original owners may have intended to put one on got to the end of building season OR ran out of money and decided to put something much less costly on.

It's not going to hurt anything to add on elements that if the money had been there the original owners might have chosen. What does hurt a old house greatly, I think, is trying to make it into something it's not by adding things that were not intended for that house for the time period it was built.

    Bookmark   January 20, 2011 at 7:44PM
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Put the picture up at Photobucket and copy the link which says 'Direct Link' into the url box when you write a post.
My house is definitely that type, and there are lots of them around my campus neighborhood--most have their porches, but one two houses away has only a concrete stoop left. The house right next to thaT one had two square porches originally, but the current owner connected them into a wraparound porch which looks great.
Nearly all foursquares in my area are frame; mine has three dormers, the main one has fishscale shingles, the other two have hipped roofs.

    Bookmark   January 20, 2011 at 9:50PM
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Our 4square in St Paul, MN did NOT have a porch, it just had a covered stoop.

The 4square name applies to what's inside the house...4 rooms over 4 rooms (2nd and 1st floors).

    Bookmark   January 21, 2011 at 5:01AM
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Try this for pic posting instructions.

Here is a link that might be useful: kitchen forum how to

    Bookmark   January 22, 2011 at 12:34AM
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First home, you may not find a foundation for your porch...I had to replace a support post under the corner of mine, and all it had was a concrete pier block. Mine sagged because the bottom of the post was almost entirely eaten away by termites and rot. :) Chances are, if the went to the trouble to remove the porch, then they also took up its supports.

    Bookmark   January 24, 2011 at 7:03PM
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My wife and I just recently built a old/new Foursquare. Most of the pictures that we collected of Foursquares showed them with a front porch. Perhap's a previous owner removed it.

If you google the following: foursquare house character pdf
You will find two PDF's that was extremely helpful to us.

One is called:
American Foursquare (1900-1930)

and the other is RULES & DESIGN THE AMERICAN FOURSQUARE History and Character ...

You can also check out our blog that shares our journey of building our own home (foursquare).

Here is a link that might be useful: Our Foursquare

    Bookmark   August 2, 2011 at 8:29AM
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The two story porches on our 1920s home (not a four square) had only nailbuckets (small barrels) filled with concrete under each pillar to hold them up! Front and back alike. It worked well enough until about 5 years ago. We had the porches jacked up and most of the supports replaced with modern forms. Maybe you would find some concrete just underground.

You can also post pics directly in the message by copying the html code and pasting it in the message.


    Bookmark   August 2, 2011 at 4:14PM
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In our area (NE Mid-Atlantic) all 4 squares (including ours) are brick.

    Bookmark   August 3, 2011 at 8:44PM
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