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A Polish flat (sometimes referred to as a German duplex) is a two-
family In human society, family (from la, familia) is a group of people related either by consanguinity (by recognized birth) or affinity (by marriage or other relationship). The purpose of families is to maintain the well-being of its members an ...
home A home, or domicile, is a space used as a permanent or semi-permanent residence for an individual, group or family. It is a fully or semi sheltered space and can have both interior and exterior aspects to it. Homes provide sheltered spaces ...
with separate entrances, with the units stacked on top of one another instead of side-by-side. Most homes of this type were constructed in the early 20th century. Constructing the units in two stages balanced affordability and quality. The new Polish immigrants, as soon as they could afford to do so, would purchase a small one-story or story-and-a-half cottage, or sometimes build one on a vacant lot with minimum cost, with a modest Victorian Gothic or Queen Anne façade. When they saved again, they would then raise the frame up on jacks creating a partially sunken basement, excavate the area underneath, pour a concrete floor, build foundation walls with masonry, then set the old frame back down over the new apartment. This arrangement enabled a family of limited means to end up with both a home and a modestly priced
rental Renting, also known as hiring or letting, is an agreement where a payment is made for the temporary use of a good, service or property Property (''latin: Res Privata'') in the Abstract and concrete, abstract is what belongs to or with so ...
apartment An apartment (American English American English (AmE, AE, AmEng, USEng, en-US), sometimes called United States English or U.S. English, is the set of varieties of the English language native to the United States. Currently, Americ ...
unit. Most of the remaining Polish flats are found in
Milwaukee, Wisconsin Milwaukee (, ) is the largest city in the state of Wisconsin Wisconsin () is a state in the Upper Midwest region of the United States The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US), or Amer ...

Milwaukee, Wisconsin
.http://urbanmilwaukee.com/2015/02/25/milwaukee-architecture-the-first-100-years-of-city-homes/ Since
Polish American Polish Americans ( pl, Polonia amerykańska) are Americans who have total or partial Poles, Polish ancestry. There are an estimated 9.15 million self-identified Polish Americans, representing about 2.83% of the Demographics of the United States, U ...
immigrants prized land ownership in their own
culture Culture () is an umbrella term which encompasses the social behavior and Norm (social), norms found in human Society, societies, as well as the knowledge, beliefs, arts, laws, Social norm, customs, capabilities, and habits of the individuals in ...
, this solution which was prominent in the areas they settled in came to be associated with them. Similar housing was common in many Detroit neighborhoods built before World War II. Polish flats were "specifically designed both to accommodate and to accelerate the economic improvement of the family... Polish flats were human values reflected in architecture and testified to the hard work, practicality, and optimism of their inhabitants," wrote former Milwaukee mayor John Norquist in his book, ''The Wealth of Cities.''


See also

* Duplex (building), Duplex * Cottage flat


References


External links

* https://web.archive.org/web/20081011091927/http://www.huduser.org/periodicals/fieldworks/0800/fworks1.html * http://www.wisconsinhistory.org/hp/register/viewSummary.asp?refnum=03001486 * http://www.retrocom.com/retromilw/milwaukee.htm Buildings and structures in Milwaukee Polish-American history {{Realestate-stub