Posts Tagged ‘Porch’

Home Sweet Home in America

Every now and then I treat myself to a “camera walk” in the small college town of Lexington, Virginia just down the road from home.

 If I were writing a travelogue it would feature the area’s theater, art, and history, the Stonewall Jackson House, the George C. Marshall museum, the tomb of Robert E. Lee, the Natural Bridge, Hull’s Drive-In Movie, outdoor opportunities,  and so many other attractions.  But this is a roaming walker’s on-foot impressions by the side of the road.

The routine is to amble along randomly snapping pictures of anything that looks like a photo op.  And sometimes when I get home and peruse the treasured results, I see surprising patterns.

This day it was porches.  There are a lot of old fashioned front porches in the little town of Lexington, Virginia.  And that got me thinking about how very American that is.

Porch on Main St 2

The back streets of my town are dotted with storybook homes.  Now I ask you,  “What architectural feature played a more important role in forming our unique American identity than the highly beloved front porch?”

I looked up “porches” and learned that from way back in the 1880’s they were the places to see and be seen in America, where courtships blossomed on the proverbial porch swing, and where families sat outside after dinner to escape the heat indoors and to meet and greet passersby.  That is a long tradition.

Porch on Main Sttreet

Sadly, by the 1950s, when radio and television kept families inside,  patios and decks were the trend.  In fact, if you wanted to modernize your house, you were advised to tear down that old fashioned structure altogether!

Happily the front porch is regaining popularity today and is once again added to existing buildings and included in new house designs and plans.

Porch 2 Front Portch American Style

We are surely longing for an idealized past – a place to leave our boots in muddy weather, to rock the baby to sleep, a place for the family to rest and relax after a fine meal and catch a summer breeze.   The front porch is still for first kisses, creaky swings, iced tea and good neighbors.

I wish I had a front porch.  Don’t you?



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