Ranch-style housing (also known as American ranch, California ranch, rambler or rancher) is a domestic architectural style originating in the United States. Fusing modernist ideas and styles with notions of the American West working ranches, a unique, very informal, and casual living style was created. Architect Cliff May is credited with building the first Ranch style house in San Diego, California in 1932.
The Ranch style was extremely popular with the booming post-war middle class of the 1940’s to 1970’s, and developers cashed in on this demand by embarking on a suburban building boom of unprecedented size and scope. By the 1950’s, the California ranch house accounted for nine out of every ten new houses, and the style is often associated with tract housing built at this time. As the automobile became king in America, homebuyers could live further out and on bigger chunks of land, making the Ranch style home an attractive commodity. By combining modern building developments, simplicity of design, and the seemingly endless ability of the style to accommodate the individual needs of the owner/occupant, “ranchers” satisfied the needs of the time.