Q. I have heard the term “Roosevelt Home” and wonder if any of them exist in Ann Arbor.

A. People who’ve heard that term are rare–it’s new to both local historian Grace Shackman and locally based national historian Jim Tobin, whose biography of Franklin Roosevelt, The Man He Became, was published in 2013. But Internet searches turn up a few references, which appear to overlap with a style more commonly called the “WWII Era Cottage,” the “American Small House,” or the “Minimum Traditional House.” Whatever the name, these are small, porch-less, one-story homes, often with hipped roofs (roofs that slant downward in all four directions). Some feature windows that meet on either side of a corner of the house, and some have an octagonal window near the front door.

Giving Roosevelt’s name to the style presumably reflects the federal government’s expanded role in housing construction and finance during his administration (1933-1945). In 1934 Roosevelt signed the National Housing Act, which created the Federal Housing Administration (spawning another term for this style, “FHA house”). The agency provided construction guidelines for small homes, and extended mortgage guarantees to buyers of homes that met them.

These popular “starter” homes went up all over town during Ann Arbor’s rapid growth after WWII. Just west of Pioneer High School there are whole neighborhoods of this style, and many sit in the Crescents neighborhood west of Forsythe and Wines schools, but they can be spotted in many Ann Arbor neighborhoods.

Know more about Roosevelt Homes, or have a question? Email question@aaobserver.com