Preservationists want to restore the Peters-Margedant House, a prototype of Usonian design
From the street, the Peters-Margedant House doesn’t necessarily scream landmark. Set back from the road, the small, the diamond-shaped home at 1506 East Indiana Avenue in Evansville, Indiana, merely stands out from the row of modest bungalows that line the the block. Covered in worn out oak panels, the modest, 552-square foot dwelling may seem like nothing more than an aging oddity in the Rosedale neighborhood. But as a group of architects and preservationists working to restore the home have found, this eccentric cottage and proto-tiny house offers perhaps the earliest example of Usonian-style architecture, a vision of residential construction and planning for the common man that was a passion of Frank Lloyd Wright.
Built in 1935 by noted architect and Wright protege William Wesley Peters, the structure pre-dates Frank Lloyd Wright’s 1937 Jacobs House, often considered the first Usonian design. Wright’s Usonian concept, the basis of roughly 60 homes he built across the country, prioritized the affordable, functional, and beautiful, aiming to make stunning architecture attainable to the common man. But often, these designer homes for the middle class cost significantly more than the competition. What’s striking about Peters’s design for this tiny workingman’s cottage is that due to its size and simple materials, it may have achieved the Usonian ideal on a modest budget. […]