chapter  8
72 Pages

Nostalgia and the Avant-Garde, 1915–1940

Architecture for a New Century
ByLeland M. Roth, Amanda C. Roth Clark

The years between 1915 and 1940 were the years between "the war to end all wars" (the First World War) and the even more catastrophic global conflict that came to be called the Second World War. The US Congress seems always to have strongly resisted getting involved in the business of authorizing, much less subsidizing, the building of private housing—perhaps due to pressure from realtors and private builders. The years between the wars were marked by strong contrasts, for it was a period of both ingenious invention and looking backward. There developed a dichotomy between seemingly contradictory passions for modernity and historical nostalgia. The companies offering precut houses through catalogues did especially well after the First World War, particularly the Radford Architecture Company, the Gordon–Van Tine Company, and the Aladdin Company, among many others. Early in the twentieth century, railroads and automobiles together made landscaped suburbs possible near every large city in the United States.