Ranch House Guidelines

Ranch-SidebarAs mid-century ranch houses become eligible for historic status, states, communities, and homeowners struggle to identify their importance and to properly describe a house type that is so common.  The Ranch House in Georgia: Guidelines for Evaluation furnishes Georgia’s historic preservation professionals with tools for conducting Section 106 identification surveys and National Register of Historic Places eligibility evaluations.  The Guidelines also provide direction for researching, assessing, and recording ranch style homes in Georgia and beyond.  Among the first studies in the nation focusing on the historic significance of this distinctive form, the document is the result of a joint venture between New South Associates, the Georgia Transmission Corporation, the Georgia State Historic Preservation Division, and the Georgia Department of Transportation.

The study presents the national and regional antecedents of the ranch house and how it became emblematic of post-World War II housing. Research identified preliminary subtypes as well as a list of character-defining features that aid in defining the Ranch House as a historic property type.  In addition, the Guidelines contain a list of Georgia architects who had a role in making the Ranch House such a successful part of the urban and rural landscape.

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The Guidelines are designed as a visual reference that uses photographs and line drawings to aid in the identification of ranch houses, subtypes, and their key attributes. This visual approach benefits field survey by showing practitioners what to document about ranch houses, while establishing a common methodology and descriptive vocabulary. The guidelines provide sample evaluations of different ranch house types, styles, and settings to illustrate what surveyors may expect to find throughout the state. These case studies are presented in a “workbook section” that allows field surveyors to see the Guidelines in action.

In addition to preparation of the guidelines themselves, the team developed a full-day course curriculum with multiple speakers and PowerPoint presentations. These materials were used by New South Associates to present training sessions on the application of the guidelines to other preservation professionals and members of state agencies.

Since its release in 2010, the Guidelines received the Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation’s Excellence in Preservation Service Award and has been named recipient of The National Council on Public History’s Michael C. Robinson Prize, which recognizes history projects that contribute to public policy. The Guidelines and Georgia’s approach to ranch house architecture have also been featured in an article by Dr. Richard Cloues of the Georgia Historic Preservation Division in the Winter 2011 issue of the Recent Past. You can access the Georgia ranch house guidelines for yourself on the Georgia State Historic Preservation Division website.

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