When the Idea of Home Was Key to American Identity

From Log Cabins to Gilded Age Mansions, How You Lived Determined Whether You Belonged

Like viewers using an old-fashioned stereoscope, historians look at the past from two slightly different angles—then and now. The past is its own country, different from today. But we can only see that past world from our own present. And, as in a stereoscope, the two views merge.

I have been living in America’s second Gilded Age—our current era that began in the 1980s and took off in the 1990s—while writing about the first, which began in the 1870s and continued into the early 20th century. The two periods sometimes …

The Gilded Age Lives on in Manhattan’s Mansions

New York's Historic Dream Homes Reflect Changing Tastes and Economic Shifts

Sixty-six floors above Midtown Manhattan, Donald J. Trump lives in a fantasy world copied from the French royalty of the 18th century. His residence, an enormous three-story penthouse that has …

Small House Ruins

        lying together
[in the] Open

is solution
to architecture

        bone and stone

conform
briefly
then fall away

        [As] the foot
exposed
seldom …

South L.A. Is a Story of Both Segregation and Desegregation

Homeownership in the Area Has Been Gaining Since the 1990s, Even as Prosperous Residents Move Out

The first big change in South Los Angeles over the last half-century has been the shift of concentrated black communities westward into newer and better housing. The second big change …

‘Bring Back the Crooked Assessor’

California’s Assessors Used to Have the Freedom to Make Decisions. Now None of Us Do.

The ongoing criminal investigation of Los Angeles County Assessor John Noguez, on allegations that he lowered tax assessments on property owners in return for campaign contributions, divides Californians into two …