It was a new look for a new century. Low, ground-hugging houses with refreshingly spacious interiors under sweeping roofs, leading to terraces reaching out to nature, all dressed in the colors of the prairie in autumn and simplified with built-in furniture. A group of idealistic young architects in Chicago, led by Frank Lloyd Wright, had succeeded in their quiet revolt against the fussiness of Victorian houses. Gazing toward the horizon, they saw the prairie as the perfect metaphor for redefining the American home."2Arhchitects of the Prairie School sought to redefine American housing by designing homes with low horizontal lines and open interior spaces in deliberate contrast to the Victorian Era's tall, narrow houses with closed-in interiors. Victorian housing was the creature of Eastern cities with small, constricted urban lots. Prairie houses were children of the Great Plains; low, wide structures more suitable to its limitless horizons. Rooms were often divided by leaded glass panels or low cabinets rather than walls. Both American Southwest and Japanese influences are most apparent in this Arts & Crafts style, more so than in the Craftsman or Four-Square styles.
"It is the jovial, rotund, country grandma of houses: broad, squat and plain, with neither style nor pretension, but with limitless warmth and comfort. No house says 'welcome home' like the wide, smiling front porch of the classic American Four-Square."It also may be the most American of house styles. With the exception of our neighbor, Canada, where the style is almost as popular, no other country has Four-Squares in any significant number.
On August 18, 1945, an incendiary bomb attached to a paper balloon that had floated across the Pacific and half way across the United States exploded above 50th and Underwood streets in Dundee with a loud bang and bright flash. It did no damage, but woke up most of the neighborhood and set dogs to howling for miles around.
The incendiary bomb was attached to large hydrogen-filled balloons set adrift across the Pacific as part of a Japanese army plan to set West Coast cities ablaze. Japan launched more than 9,000 balloons between November 1944 and April 1945. The 5,000-mile journey took about three days. Most did no harm. Only a few reached North America and most of those that did fell harmlessly in western forests and on empty prarie.
Many failed to explode such as the bomb found in Schuyler, Nebraska in February, 1945 and another in Laurens, Iowa. Americans were asked to keep quite about the bombs to deny the Japanese any information about their range or effectiveness.
The Omaha bombing came three days after Japan had already announced its surrendered on August, 15. The formal peace accord was signed on Sepember 9, 1945 in Tokyo Bay aboard the U.S.S. Missouri.
Two weeks after the Dundee explosion, a pregnant woman and five children from a Sunday school class were killed in Oregon by a bomb they found laying on the forest floor. Theirs were the only known deaths caused by the bombs and the only deaths due to enemy action in the continental United States during the War.