The History of the American Front Porch
The American front porch was originally developed more than 125 years ago. Although it is mostly for looks today, the origins of the front porch served as a status symbol, a way to cool down in the summer or to interact with community members.
If you look through the history of the American porch, you’ll find a lot about American history and how it has adapted to modern technology and societal changes. Here are some of the ways the porch was used through time…
The porch as a status symbol.
Originally the word “porch” just meant an entryway with a covering. A design element, which originated in ancient Greece to give the appearance of authority, was brought to the United States by the British and it was used as a status symbol. As time went on, that all changed.
The porch was the original air conditioner.
The porch expanded over time and covered a larger area, some of them now called “wrap-around” porches. This provided enough space for families and friends to gather outside. Adults could sit on the porch while children played in the yard. It also served a more important purpose, to provide shade while also allowing a breeze to come through. At night, people could open the windows to allow air in and keep bugs, rain and other pests out. With the creation of the air conditioner, these porches have slowly diminished.
It let neighbors get to know each other.
Before modern technology, people would congregate on and around the front porch to trade fresh produce and other goods or have a friendly chat and share the latest town gossip. The front porch created a sense of community. And it connected people with nature. But post World War II, all of these uses for the porch faded away.
While big urban areas have almost completely done away with porches, and homes entirely, for more condominiums, apartments and townhomes, in rural areas, porches still seem to be popular. If you’re looking for an escape to the country, United Country Real Estate has specialized in country homes, homes with acreage, farm land and other small town real estate since 1925. Start your search at www.UnitedCountry.com.