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Architects' Small House Service Bureau
(On Permit Date):
Grieco, 427 Washington Street
W. & Florence Greico
not attributed to a particular architect, 28 Somerset Road is based
on a design from the Architects' Small House Service Bureau, an
organization sponsored by the American Institute of Architects (AIA)
and its branches around the country.
first developed in Minnesota in 1919, was envisioned as a way of
bringing the technical and design skills of professional architects
to the construction of small homes -- generally defined as six rooms
or less -- even in cases in which the homeowner was unable or unwilling
to engage the services of an architect.
homeowners could review basic designs and plans published in a periodical,
The Small House, or in one of several books of designs
the Bureau produced. Interested parties could contact the Bureau
-- there were branches in Boston and other cities in 1929 -- and
purchase a set of documents at a cost based on the number of rooms
in the design.
with each purchase were blueprints, specifications, surveys, and
contract agreements. Homeowners were also offered technical advice
via mail and, for additional fees, revisions to the standard plans
to be drawn by the Bureau's architectural draftsmen.
of the Bureau saw it as a means of bringing architectual standards
into the burgeoning small house market. At the same time, it was
seen as a way to fight competition from construction and lumber
companies, catalog firms like Sears & Roebuck and even magazines
like The Ladies Home Journal, all of whom were making their
own plans and designs available to builders.
Homes of Distinction, a plan book published by the Bureau the
same year that 28 Somerset Road was built, included several designs
similar to this house, though none exactly the same. 28 Somerset
was the only house in Blake Park to make use of the Architects'
Small House Service Bureau.
a men's clothing manufacturer born in Italy, and his family were
the first residents of this house, but were only listed in the Street
List for one year (1930). The 1930 U.S. Census showed the residents
as: Victor W. Greico, 38, manufacturer (men's clothing), born Italy;
Florence S. Greico, 36, born New York; Alisha (?) A. Greico, 14,
born New York; and Alda J. Greico, 7, born Maryland. The house was
valued at $20,000.
in the Street List were Frederick B. and Florence I. Early, previously
in New York. Frederick (born 1883) was a stock broker. The Earlys
were listed in the Street List at this address from 1931 to 1943.
Listed with them until 1938 was Martha E. Goodkin, who may have
been Florence Early's mother. After a one year gap in the Street
List, the Earlys were followed by Martha Goodkin's son Benjamin
(1886-1968) and his wife Viola (shown as Marion V. Goodkin in the
Street List.) The Goodkins moved here from Newton. Benjamin Goodkin
was a retired carpenter and stage mechanic who at one time had worked
for the Ziegfield Follies. He and his wife lived here until the