Friday, April 24, 2015

Lexicon: Hi-Lo

In the late 1920s, New Orleans realtors began advertising “Hi-Lo”s to indicate a new type of raised basement bungalow that accommodated ground-level parking.  Edward Sporl proposed a Craftsman Hi-Lo elevated nine feet above grade (above).

Hi-Lo Bungalows, Hi-Lo Houses and Spanish Hi-Los came to describe story-and-a-half residences with garages. Colonial Revival and  Mission Style residences most frequently adopted the bi-level profile. “La Jolla,” the house at  6 Trianon Place (built circa 1925), originally had a two-car garage.

While the phraseology seems to have originated in New Orleans, Hi-Los became a national phenomenon when direct mail catalogs adopted the expression. The Southern Pine Association first featured a Hi-Lo in its 1937 catalog, Livable Homes of Southern Pine. The Ideal Plan Service published its Hi-Lo ten years later.

Early bi-level residences in San Francisco were referred to as "Doelgers," named for the developer -- Henry Doelger -- who frequently built them. Hi-Los and Doelgers were precursors to split levels.

Image above:  Edward F. Sporl. Raised  Basement [“Hi-Lo”] Bungalow. Ink and colored ink on linen. Undated. Edward F. Sporl Office Records, Southeastern Architectural Archive, Special Collections Division, Tulane University Libraries.

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