MARTIN & MARY NELSON HOUSE

In the Nelson house the horizontal emphasis that is the hallmark of the Prairie Style has been reduced to its simplest elements: a well-proportioned rectilinear main block positioned with its long side facing the street, a simple side-gable roof with very wide overhanging eaves, and a broad entrance porch whose roof pitch echoes that of the main roof. Also contributing to the overall horizontal effect are the two wider than usual windows that flank the entrance. Like all Prairie Style buildings, the design makes no reference to earlier styles. Ornamentation is also minimal, what little there is being structural in nature and limited solely to the front entrance porch.

If the Nelson house is one of the simplest of Nakoma's Prairie Style houses, however, it is certainly not a small example. The two-story main block is generous in size, and it is further enlarged by the addition of a two-story sleeping porch wing. Sleeping porches are one of the more interesting elements associated with the various Progressive styles of that day, their presence reflecting the then popular belief in the health benefits to be gained by sleeping out of doors, especially in summer. Examples are found not just on Prairie Style designs but on Craftsman and Arts & Crafts style examples as well.

 

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