America: Homes Sweet Homes

When we heave open our giant textbooks and discuss colonial America, we learn all about colonists settling down, not knowing anything about the new land, dying, finally figuring out how to stay alive, their new and improved lifestyles and how they lived–but not so much about where they lived. And when I say “where” I mean their houses. Their places of residence. Their abodes. And, if you think about it, houses are an important possession. They provide, first and foremost, shelter (hopefully), but also insight into the changes and growth of a country.

Architectural style in New England is good to focus on because it changed relatively often. In the 1600’s, the “First Period”, houses were built based on European styles colonists were used to, with some changes of course. Most of theses changes were based on the materials they had at hand. Houses were usually wooden, two stories, and built for winter with slanted, shingled roofs for shrugging snow off, and chimneys to accommodate a fireplace.

Image

In the 1700′s Georgian style houses became all the rage. They were based on Italian architectural ideas which were derived from Roman architecture. These Georgian houses had some of the same principles as First Period houses such as two stories and a chimney, but tended to be a little more fancy or stylish. For instance, the doors and moldings tended to be more decorative than First Period ones.

Image

Just these two developments of houses show how styles of architecture in colonial America built upon each other surprisingly fast to create new styles and designs not necessarily unique to America, but with an American spin.

Sources:

http://www.historicnewengland.org/preservation/your-older-or-historic-home/architectural-style-guide#federal-adam-1780-1820

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Architecture_of_the_United_States

http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Wadsworth_House_(1784).jpg

 

Advertisements

5 thoughts on “America: Homes Sweet Homes

  1. This post is very interesting, I would have never though about this. I like how the houses of colonial America and their distinct style are yet another way for the colonists to differ from Great Britain and to be their own individual nation.

  2. If one of Great Britain’s main purposes for creating a colony was to increase its profit and expand its empire, why do you think houses became so individually American over time as opposed to remaining as the most simple, functional buildings they could be?

  3. I like that you compared the development of the architectural style to the way America was developing over the years. Textbooks don’t usually go into detail about the architectural designs of homes in previous centuries, so I found this new and interesting. Good job

  4. I really like the fact that you interpreted (or looked at) the growth of America from a different perspective that I personally would not have even thought about or heard of from any textbooks (like you stated). Due you think that this also lead to an increasing industry or a growth in the economy of the nation?

  5. The photographs and witty title first caught my eye. You have a distinct approachable voice in this, and it all flowed well. Your topic was not covered in the textbook or in class, which made me even more curious! However, it would be more interesting if there was some conflict or challenge that you made or had to contradict. Or maybe you could have elaborated on how house styles were different from north to south or rich to poor. Contrast would give your post more dimension. I still found this very interesting though!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s