During the housing boom following WWII, clusters of mid-century modern homes sprouted up all over the United States. And while cities like Palm Springs are well-known for being home to abundant mid-century architecture, there are plenty of other cities that are lesser known for their modernist designs but full of mid-century modern homes that you can admire, and even buy.
From Palm Springs to Washington, D.C., these are the best cities in the U.S. to find historic, mid-century modern gems.
We can’t have a list of where to find gorgeous mid-century architecture without including the mid-century modern mecca that is Palm Springs. The city is overflowing with works from MCM icons such as John Porter Clark, Richard Neutra, John Lautner, and Albert Frey. If you want to tour some of these homes yourself, then check out neighborhoods like Deepwell Estates, Twin Palms, and Vista Las Palmas, which boast particularly high concentrations of MCM architecture.
Austin’s population surged after WWII, and as a result, it’s full of mid-century architecture. Architects like Arthur Fehr, Louis C. Page, Jr., and Charles Granger all designed homes in the city. And for anyone who wants to check ‘em out, the suburbs of Rollingwood and West Lake Hills are great places to start.
It should be no surprise that the birthplace of Frank Lloyd Wright has plenty of stunning mid-century modern architecture. In fact, you can drive around the city's designated Frank Lloyd Wright Trail, which will take you by a number of MCM treasures, spanning from Kenosha County to Richland County.
Speaking of Frank Lloyd Wright, the architect often spent his winters in warm Scottsdale, which is home to his vacation house, Taliesin West. You can tour this house, built by Wright and his apprentices, in person, as well as the smattering of other mid-century gems scattered about the city, including the Hotel Valley Ho, designed by MCM architect Edward Varney.
Scottsdale isn’t the only MCM hotspot in Arizona; Phoenix hosts plenty of modernist homes in its own right, especially in the Windemere neighborhood. MCM architect Ralph Haver designed a wide variety of homes in the neighborhood, many of which are still preserved in their nearly original form.
Thanks in large part to Charles Goodman, a prominent modernist architect, Washington, D.C., features a wide variety of mid-century modern homes, particularly in Hollin Hills. You can also find MCM works by architect Chloethiel Woodward Smith, particularly in Harbour Square.
The city of Albuquerque practically doubled in size between 1950-1960, resulting in a major mid-century modern design boom. In fact, the city hosts more than 366 MCM commercial buildings and 200 MCM homes, including the Dekker House, which was built as architect Art Dekker’s personal residence.
Many people don’t realize that Massachusetts is home to some of the first modernist neighborhoods in the country, with some popping up even before WWII ended. And topmost among those neighborhoods is Snake Hill, a 1940 development for which architect Carl Koch is responsible. Notably, the neighborhood’s steep access road was innovatively outfitted with hot-water pipes designed to melt snow and ice, making it all the more attractive to residents.
After WWII, Portland began to earn a reputation for a counterculture that strayed from societal norms, making it a hotspot for the freedom of thought and exploration associated with mid-century modern architecture. As a result, you can find original MCM houses scattered throughout the city, particularly in neighborhoods such as Dunthorpe and Forest Park.
Famed mid-century modern developer Joseph Eichler focused much of his work on building out MCM subdivisions in Palo Alto. One of the most intact of these subdivisions is Green Gables, which is also among the first examples of the many neighborhoods that Eichler helped develop. Similarly, the Greenmeadow neighborhood hosts a variety of Eichler homes, in addition to modernist gems from the likes of Jones & Emmons and Thomas Church.
Bellevue is home to the Hilltop Community, a planned co-op of artists, architects, academics, and engineers. The community features homes from some of the Northwest’s foremost modernist architects, including Fred Bassetti, Perry Johanson, John Morse, and Lee McRae.
In 1946, Frank Lloyd Wright was commissioned to design a series of homes on a 47-acre tract in Kalamazoo called Parkwyn. In the end, Wright only designed the layout for it, but many other MCM architects stepped in to build it out, including Norman F. Carver.
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