The vast majority of the houses surveyed in the county are of frame construction. There are few naturally available building materials available in the county, leading most of the nineteenth century settlers to rely on sod construction. But for the waves of early twentieth century home seekers establishing farms, lumber was readily available from either local lumber yards or kit houses delivered via the railroad. The compactness of the county and central railroad line meant that most farms were within ten miles of a lumber yard or depot. Most of the frame structures have been covered with synthetic siding.
Most of the houses inventoried in the survey fall into one of the following general types. Rural housing tends to be a mix of National Folk types combined with popular housing style trends. Farm houses were found to be similar, but simplified versions of housing in Haxtun and Holyoke. Farm houses tend to be practical with minimal decoration. Building additions are common. No high style housing types were located.
Foursquare houses were popular in Colorado from c.1900-1930. Character-defining features include a square plan, two-story height, hipped roof with overhanging eaves, and a full-width porch.
Hipped or Pyramidal Box:
This category includes two closely related folk types. The hipped box is a small house with a hipped roof while pyramidal box has a square plan with equilaterally hipped or pyramidal roofs. Pyramidal examples often feature a flat roof peak with a central chimney or vent. This type is most commonly single story but can be one and a half story. Roof pitch ranges from medium to steep. Surveyed buildings include classic examples of these types as well as altered and modified versions. Porches are optional.
One and a half story side-gabled or cross-gabled box:
This is a popular local type found seen both in farmhouses as well as houses in Haxtun and Holyoke. The houses are usually one-and-a-half stories with box shape. Roofs feature either a cross gable or a large dormer that gives the suggestion of a cross gable. Eaves are generally open and boxed and feature gable returns. Most examples feature full-width front porches.
This type was popular from the 1930s through the 1950s. Houses are generally single story, small with minimal decorative detailing. Characteristic features include low or medium pitched side-gabled roofs, close eaves, a large chimney, and small front-gabled projections containing an entrance or large window.
A popular mid twentieth century style, Ranch houses began appearing on farmsteads in the 1950s, likely as replacements for older homes. Characteristic features include low-pitched hipped roofs with a wide eave overhang. Ribbon or picture windows are also common. Houses are single story.
Rectangular plan, front-gabled:
A common folk form, many of the surveyed houses built in this type show the influence of the early twentieth century Craftsman movement. Character defining features include front porch, exposed rafter tails or roof brackets, and low to medium pitched roofs. Houses are one or one and a half stories.
Rectangular plan, side-gabled:
Examples of this folk form range from very simple two room houses from the earlier settlement period (now mostly abandoned) to later, larger massed plan examples. Many of the massed-plan examples also show the influence of the early twentieth century Craftsman movement, featuring large porches, exposed rafter tails, and dormers. Houses are one or one and a half stories.
Outhouse: Most farmhouses did not get indoor bathrooms until the 1940s or 1950s, making the outhouse an essential feature. In the 1930s, many farmsteads in Phillips County received, improved modern outhouses from the WPA that were supposed to be more sanitary that traditional outhouses.
Tankhouses consist of a large water tank elevated on a wooden frame. Tankhouses were located adjacent to the well and windmill and stored the water pumped from the well. The tankhouse frames could be exposed (such as the tankhouse on 5PL.147) or enclosed within a roofed enclosure. Raising the water tank created water pressure allowing for gravity flow of water to the house.
Various domestic functions such as laundry as well as meat processing, lard rendering lard, or cream separation were often completed in a small building located adjacent to the main house.