link: The Minneapolis Institute of Arts Unified Vision: The Architecture and Design of the Prairie School
navigation spacer Introduction navigation spacer The Collection navigation spacer Purcell-Cutts House Tour navigation spacer Architectural Tour navigation spacer Comments navigation spacer
Architectural Tour
 link: Selected Highlights Tour
 link: The National Farmers' Bank
 link: Stewart Memorial Presbyterian Church
 link: E.L. Powers House
 link: Dr. Oscar Owre House
 link: Merchants National Bank
 link: J.R. Watkins Medical Products Company
 link: Purcell-Cutts House
 link: Winona National and Savings Bank
 link: C.T. Backus House
 link: Lake of the Isles Tour
 link: Minneapolis South Tour
 link: Greater Minnesota Tour
 link: Razed Structures Tour
 Features of Prairie School Architecture
 See these buildings in person.
C.T. Backus House
previous stop C.T. Backus House next-tour
map icon
audio icon

Related Images
C.T. Backus House related image
C.T. Backus House related image
C.T. Backus House related image

C.T. Backus House, 1915
Purcell and Elmslie
212 West 36th Street, Minneapolis

Charles Backus, a piano tuner who occasionally worked for the Purcells, asked Purcell if his firm could design an affordable house for him along the same lines as Purcell's own home on Lake Place. Rising to the challenge, Purcell designed a charming, functional house costing just $2,992; at the time, the average home cost less than $3,000, while Purcell's own home cost $14,000. The house is generally considered the best example of Purcell and Elmslie's small open plans, with its characteristic low roofline, overhanging eaves, bands of windows, and off-center entryway. The stucco is original and has never been painted over. Although the nearly square house is only twenty-five by twenty-seven feet, its unique open plan creates the feeling of a much larger interior space. Purcell incorporated built-in shelves and benches, and even created a special place for Backus's piano so it would be the first thing visitors saw when they entered the house. The interior of the house has been only slightly altered. next tour >

Unified Vision Intro| The Collection| Purcell-Cutts House Tour| Architectural Tour| Comments