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American Vernacular Architecture: The Shotgun Style in Florida

Images above provided by State Archives of FL, FL Memory. Image left by David A. Taylor, Apalachicola, FL. Image right by Dale M. McDonald, Key West, FL.

Some of America’s most interesting forms of architecture have grown out of various vernacular styles, meaning that the concept for the structure originates not from a professionally trained designer, but rather from common citizens. Since the United States is a melting pot of cultures from all over the world, it is fascinating to see how different people blend their structural philosophies into the places they create. Structures can tell us so much about how people think, what they value and how they live. American culture is such a melting pot, in fact, that the origins of certain architectural styles can be forgotten leaving architectural enthusiasts to play the part of the archaeologist as we sift through the visual elements to discern the origins of the vernacular styles. This is the reason that many vernacular styles fascinate me so much, and one style in particular is the Shotgun Style.

 

 

 

 

Image at left by Lesa N. Lorusso, Images center and right provided by State Archives of FL

The Shotgun house is a more modest architectural relative of the New York City brownstone structure and the Charleston single house. Similar to the entry in the the brownstone homes seen in the American Northeast, the entry to the Shotgun Style house is typically on one side of the building’s facade with adjacent windows overlooking the street or thoroughfare (1). Built primarily in the rural southern regions of the United States including Florida, Louisiana, Texas, Mississippi, Alabama and Georgia from the late 1800s to the early 1900s, the Shotgun style is a one- or one-and-a-half-story house that is commonly supported on short piers, is typically one room wide and several rooms deep, with all rooms and their doors in a straight line perpendicular to the street. These homes are often built with a narrow gable front with a porch, often with a similar porch at the rear (3).

Image from State Archives of FL, FL Memory. Camelback Shotgun home, Tampa, FL. Photographer Dwight DeVane

There are several variations of this style, including the Double-barrel Shotgun, the Camelback, and the Double Width Shotgun. Double-barrel Shotguns are basically duplexes, or two separate Shotgun houses sharing a single, central wall to allow more houses to be built in an area. The Camelback is a Shotgun with a second story built onto the rear of the house. A Double Width Shotgun is a single structure that’s twice the width of a normal Shotgun (5).

Though the Shotgun Style home is a freestanding structure, it typically will have no windows on the sidewalls. These houses are often built so close together that windows would be impractical for light or ventilation and would severely compromise personal privacy (1). This house type is one room wide, one story tall and several rooms deep (usually three or more) and has its primary entrance in the gable end. Seen throughout the American south as well in certain parts of cities in the northeast it is easy to designate this style as an American vernacular born from urban living and the inherent structural constraints from tight slave quarters and stop right there. The truth, however is far more interesting. In fact, the true origins of this style have a rich history that trace back from New Orleans, Louisiana across the Atlantic Ocean to the western region of the African continent.

The shotgun house is believed to be an architectural hybrid that developed in the West Indies and entered the United States via New Orleans in the early 19th century (2). Through research I have found that the Yoruba people of West Africa have a word “shogon” which means “God’s House.” It is possible that the enslaved West Africans brought this term, (which could have later morphed into “shotgun”), their close-knit sense of community and intimate style of dwelling to plantations in the West Indies and eventually to America. Images at left from the University of Nebraska Lincoln’s Image and Multimedia Library. Top Image: Section of home in Fulbe Village, Africa. The Fulbe people are located in western Africa, where many slaves taken to the West Indies and America originated. Lower Image: Fulbe Village house. Notice both images use covered front porches and central entryways seen in the American Shotgun Style.

Long before mechanized air conditioning, homes built in the Shotgun Style take advantage of natural breezes that are circulated through the home via the central corridor or passageway created by opening the front a back door. This identifying feature is often given credit for the styles name since a bullet fired from the front door would travel unobstructed through the home and out the back door (4). Image by Lesa Lorusso

 

Image on left by Lesa Lorusso, Image on right from State Archives of FL, FL Memory

Nestled on 12 acres of old orange groves in Mims, Florida stands an example of the uniquely African American Vernacular style. Located on the property of the Harry T. & Harriette V. Moore Memorial Park & Cultural Center, this home is a replica of the home shared by American Civil Rights leaders Harry and Harriette Moore and serves today as a teaching tool to visitors of the complex. Harry T. Moore was organizer, president and state coordinator of the Florida branch of the NAACP. Moore and his wife Henrietta were educators and champions for racial equality. They were killed in a bombing at their home on Christmas Eve 1951. Although the original structure was destroyed in 1951 when a bomb beneath their bedroom floor destroyed the Moore’s home, a historically accurate replica has been rebuilt and tours are provided by knowledgeable docents.

Images on left and right by Lesa Lorusso

Like so many vernacular styles, Moore Home replica in Mims, FL is a Shotgun Style home with uniquely Floridian features including yellow body color and white trim. The featured front porch is an integral element of the American Shotgun Style and is a visual connection to the West African origins of the style that favors the intimacy of communal living.

Images by Lesa Lorusso

Within the Moore Home replica, visitors will find an interior lovingly furnished with personal items from the Moore family and is accurately equipped according to the time frame that the Moore’s occupied the home.

In addition to the replica of the Moore Family residence, the site also houses a welcome center that contains an interactive timeline of African American history, park grounds, contemplative reflecting pools with a gazebo and beautiful orange trees original to the site. It is a unique and enriching complex run by dedicated docents and knowledgeable staff of the Brevard County department of Parks and Recreation. For more information on Harry and Harriette Moore visit www.brevardparks.com/hthvm. Images by Lesa Lorusso

 

  1. Jim Kemp. American Vernacular: Regional Influence in Architecture and Interior Design. Washington, D.C.: The American Institute of Architects Press, 1990. p86.
  2. John Michael Vlach. “Afro-Americans.” America’s Architectural Roots, Ethnic Groups that Built America. Washington, D.C.: The Preservation Press: National Trust for Historic Preservation, 1986. p43.
  3. shotgun house. (2006). In Dictionary of Architecture and Construction. Retrieved from http://www.credoreference.com/entry/mhbuilding/shotgun_house
  4. Christine Brun.  (2010, August 4). Shotgun House. Creators Syndicate, Retrieved June 13, 2012, from ProQuest Newsstand. (Document ID: 2100865341).
  5. http://www.casasugar.com/Architecture-Styles-Shotgun-House-1017383
  6. http://www.gnocdc.org/tertiary/shotgun.html
  7. www.brevardparks.com/hthvm

 

 

29 Responses

  1. Lana Bonomo

    The shotgun style home even though small can be highly ornamented with Victorian or Greek revival style vent covers and brackets that hold the roof. The high ceilings offer the illusion of more space. This is the first style of home in America that featured an overhanging roof to create a porch. (Clark) This style home was originally built by slaves influenced by structures built in Haiti. Denise Andrews said, “The shotgun house represents the slaves’ reaction to adversity, making sense of their new environment by modifying familiar living patterns….” (qtd. In Clark)

    Although the shotgun house is considered a piece of history people today are finding it to be a practical style to live in. Economic hard times have forced people to rethink the way they live. The decision to be debt free is a strong motivator for some. Internet Brands, Inc. features a video from Faircompanies.com of a newly constructed shotgun style home for a family of three returning from nine years in South America. The family discovered homes had gotten bigger and were filled with ‘stuff’ that was not needed. After having lived in a large home prior to their trip they decided they had become slaves to the house. They worked more hours to pay for it and didn’t spend enough time there. Upon their return they built a 320 square foot home and a smaller structure beside the house for their business which allows them to home-school their son and spend more time enjoying life. (Faircompanies.com)

    They paid less than $20,000 for their home. The tiny space offers a living area, kitchen, bath, bedroom and loft used as their son’s room. It can accommodate guests with up to four to six people total. The owner likes to think of what her home offers rather than what it does not. I like the idea of smaller homes. I’ve seen too many slasher movies to feel comfortable with lots of extra space. The idea of being debt free is also appealing.
    Sources
    Andrews, Denise. “The Bahamian influence on the South Florida shotgun house.” Kislak Foundation. Accessed May 9, 2009.
    Clark, Josh. “What’s a Shotgun House?” How Stuff Works. 12 June 2012
    FairCompanies.com. “Shotgun Shack Redux: Mortgage Free in 320”video Dornob.com. Internet Brands, Inc.. 12 June 2012

  2. Bryan Mozo

    I’ve always found it so interesting how in the Vernacular style of homes that different cultures and groups of people have found ways to enhance the way they live just by taking older styles of homes and changing certain things just to fit their needs. I haven’t really learned too much so far about the history of the Shotgun style of houses other than the fact that they have the streamlined shape. I found it very interesting that the shotgun style originated in West Africa and was brought to Louisiana and down to Florida through slaves.
    I guess now, at least for people my age, that it’s hard to think of life without air conditioning. I mean I’ve heard stories from my parents growing up in Daytona about having to go to school and everything without it, but being born in ’89 I’ve never had to deal with such things. I just find it interesting to learn how just the shape of a house and it’s interiors you can change the entire airflow of a building.
    I could imagine why these would be very popular around coastal communities and in the keys where you get that nice cool off-shore winds coming in. I know when my family visits the keys we have chances to stay in buildings very similar to the shotgun style houses and even if it’s around late summer or early fall, if you can open up the home so that the air can come through it stays extremely comfortable.

  3. j sartori

    Different styles of architecture developed for many reasons, I think that a home is such a personal statement, especially if you were lucky enough to build from the ground up. Architecture in the past developed from both environmental and social circumstances. Building to meet the surrounding terrain, climate and lifestyle seem more practical than building to create a social status, like the country home referred to as Versailles… but both driving forces have helped develop a rich and interesting build environment around the world for us to enjoy. I have always lived in the south and have lived in different homes each displaying features that help celebrate the surrounding environment. Growing up on the river two miles from the beach, spoiled me in regards to my current location on rural mainland, still only two miles from the river. The difference is the constant breeze; even on the hottest day’s there was always air movement living beachside. Living somewhat rurally on the mainland provides a spectacular display of evening stars, but definitely falls short in the breeze department. The architectural elements of overhangs, large and numerous windows on all sides of the house, and indoor to outdoor living with several porches, both back and front while living beachside certainly took advantage of the air movement, we were often able to open up the house and use the air flow as a cooling element. Presently, I have a ranch style home spread out on an acre. I have several windows but not a cross flow of air, interior walls block any type of good cross-ventilation. Looking at your lifestyle and property location can be good indicators to which type of architecture will work best for your family.

  4. Saidee

    Great Post! I had no idea there were that many variations of the shotgun style architecture, from the standard shotgun style to the double barrel, to the camelback and the double width. It was great to read how you described each example in detail to be able to identify the variations. I also admired the creativity of the named style and how each variation in a sense matched the altered architecture. Your diagram was a great visual to understand the shotgun term. I also enjoyed your origin findings of the shotgun style along with your photos from the Moore Home in Mims Florida. It was great to be able to see the interior of a shotgun styled home along with your exterior descriptions of American Vernacular.

    Through my lessons in your class I have had the opportunity to study Vernacular Architecture and I have learned that it is an area of architectural theory that studies the structures made by experimental builders. Craftsmen that was not professional architects but those of the community or tribesman such as the Yoruba people. There exist many areas of non-professional architectural practice, from primitive shelter in distant communities to urban alterations of building types that are imported from country to country. Vernacular Architecture is an interesting study and I was really excited to read your blog this week on the American Vernacular of the shot gun house. It is like a “blue foot print” of a building, where the concept started and thus transformed into what is admired and used today.

  5. Clair Brown

    My grandparents built a one-story shotgun house in a small town near Wilmington, North Carolina. The rooms of the house were built off a long hallway that extended from the front of the house to the back. The bedrooms lined up next to each other on one side of the house and a living room, dining room and kitchen on the other. The living room had french doors and there was a long porch that stretched across the entire front of the house. There were 11 children to provide bedrooms for and I do recall a large kitchen table. According to my Dad, my grandfather added rooms to the back of the home and the children got older.
    It is interesting that the shotgun style home is the duplex style home. The first home I owned was a duplex and I entered the front door on the side of the house and the garage was on the front. This style is prevalent in urban areas where homes and row houses are built up and extend back. Also, it is preferable to live in an end unit with more natural light and air circulation on the side in addition to front and back.
    The Harry T. Moore home is a tribute to his accomplishments. “He was the principal of the Titusville School from 1934 to 1936 and is honored with the Harry T. Moore Social Services Center at 725 De Leon Street, which is one block south of South Street; the center has a small bust outside the building that honors this civil rights leader who was killed by a bomb in his home in 1951.” (McCarthy)
    Source:
    McCarthy Kevin M. Black Florida, New York: Hippocrene Books, 1995.

    1. maritzaq rodriguez

      I also read that some of these shotgun homes not only did they have no inside pluming but some I know did not have inside water rooms. I have seen them and have had the pleasure of visiting many of them in puerto rico. To think that they are historical is amazing. These were homes of the poor.

  6. Catherine Biegler

    I loved reading about the shotgun style houses. I am from up north and don’t remember too many homes being designed this way, which is probably due to the fact that they were more popular in the south.

    My favorite structural detail would be the front and sometimes back porches. I have always loved having a place to sit and enjoy being outside, but still be protected from the sun or rain. Another feature that I find very interesting is that there is one central hallway. This would definitely help with keeping cooling costs down when having windows open and air able to flow freely through the home.

    While I was reading various articles about the shotgun style I read that the style received its name due to the fact that you could shoot a shotgun through the front door and the pellets would fly right out the back door. While I do not know if this is true, I did find it intriguing. (1)

    I was also reading on another site, although I do not know how reliable the information that the oldest shotgun style home did not come with indoor plumbing. I know from experience that the outhouse is an interesting object to behold (and utilize). (2)

    I also found it interesting that so many walks of life lived in the same style homes. This style was adaptable and expandable; when noting that today, these homes of small origins have been expanded to have second floors. But also while the homes started out with middle class along with the poor, it became a symbol of poverty in the mid-20th century. Many have been demolished due to urban renewal. (2)

    Resources

    (1) http://www.farmersalmanac.com/tiny-revolution/2011/05/16/shotgun-house/
    (2) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shotgun_house

    http://dornob.com/shotgun-style-historic-small-plan-homes-have-no-hallways/
    http://architecture.about.com/od/periodsstyles/ig/House-Styles/Shotgun-House.htm
    http://www.jetsongreen.com/2011/04/shotgun-style-shackleton-house-raleigh.html
    http://www.greatbuildings.com/buildings/Shotgun_House.html
    http://home.howstuffworks.com/home-improvement/construction/planning/shotgun-house.htm

  7. Jan C Reed

    Before reading this blog I was misinformed on two accounts: the definition of vernacular and the origins of the shotgun house. I thought the Florida vernacular referred to the homes with tin roofs, pastel colors and deep porches. My understanding was partially correct, in that is the description of many Florida vernacular homes. It was interesting to learn that vernacular means that the concept for the home originates not from a professional designer, but from common citizens. I also thought that the shotgun house was named that because as you mentioned, a bullet fired from the front door would travel without obstructions through the house and out the back door. It is fascinating that the origin of shotgun could have been from The Yoruba people of West Africa. That is what makes history so interesting; there is usually more than one explanation for the origins of historic items.

    A style very similar to the shotgun style is used today in many single family and multi- family homes in the Florida Keys. This style is what many, including myself, refer to as the Key West style, and is very similar to shotgun. They are narrow, deep homes without many or no windows on the side, front and back porches, and tin roofs and are painted pastel colors that make them uniquely Florida. The narrow design lends itself very well to the small lots found in the Keys and to multi-family buildings. One of my favorite places to vacation in the Keys is the Villas at Hawks Cay Resort on Duck Key, which are designed much like the Key West style just described (Maybe that is why we like it so much!). Check out the pictures at http://www.hawkscay.com/sunset_village.

  8. maritzaq rodriguez

    I have been into many of these homes in Puerto Rico, never thought these houses would be historical. My uncle who was very well off lived in a shotgun house. It belong to his father it was where he was born. It was a man of business but never had the desire to live better, he use to say he was brought up in that house and would die in that house.This house was up in a mountain. It had a front porch the entrance was straight into the living room then the kitchen next a bedroom with a back porch. because of the heat in puerto rico they would open the front door and back door to let air travel through. No water room in this house there was a latrine, which I once had to use on a trip to visit and almost fell through. My sister in-laws husbands mother lives in the placita in ponce puerto rico and also has a shotgun house, but hers does have a water room, this house belong to her mother and she as well refuses to live anywhere else. Not that they don’t have the means to live better because they do, she states its memories that keeps her in that house. she raised three boys in that house one which is a teacher and another one an attorney. I have visited these homes and don’t think I could live in one of them. Some of us have been to spoiled and we have given so much that we don’t realize what some people haven’t had not half as much but have had much happier lives. The good thing about shotgun homes now a days is that for maybe 30.000 to 50.000 thousand dollars we can have a shotgun house built to suit our needs.

  9. maritzaq rodriguez

    file:///C:/Users/owner/Pictures/Tres%20casitas%20%20%20Flickr%20-%20Photo%20Sharing!.htm

    If You go to this site you will be able to see three beautiful shotgun houses in Ponce Puerto Rico

  10. Clair Brown

    The local Rockledge Drive tour is a struggle to me between the view of the Indian River Lagoon on the east side and the large beautiful homes that line the west side. Although, the historical feel makes it is easy to imagine what life was like along the scenic drive before cable TV and central air conditioner. Numerous large front porches make it easy to imagine residents enjoying evening strolls and sunsets as the mature trees frame the river view that extends to the Merritt Island border.

    The Florida Vernacular home is a storybook whimsy with gable roofs, pastel pink color, white trim, slender windows and wrap-around porch. The same porch is seen on the Tudor home with its raised panels and centered entrance. The Mission home on the drive appears modest to me like most of this style. The color is pale with a red roof and varying window styles that gives the home a subtle appeal on the exterior which could be just the opposite on the interior. The Georgian style home is very elegant yet grand with many columns that flank the first and second floors and leaves the steeped centered gable almost unnoticed. The Queen Anne style home is framed by a three story steeped tower roof with many tall windows. It was popular for original Queen Anne style to have many exterior colors. The more colors there were on a home signified health although this home only has two. The box style of the Colonial style home has a curved brick drive similar to the tall chimneys on the home

  11. maritzaq rodriguez

    I have been looking further into the shotgun house’s, and found through (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/shotgun house) that typically, shotgun houses have a wood-frame structure with wood sliding, and some are in existing that are in brick and even stone. I also found that chimneys were built in the interior, along the front and middle rooms to share a chimney with a fireplace opening in each room. The kitchen had a chimney of its own. I also read that those houses were used in poor neighborhoods, consisting of three or four rooms in a row. In a research down by John Liehard for the University of Houston’s College traced the shotgun houses going back to 1800s , he also found older ones in the sugar growing plantation islands in iaiti and the Dominican Republic.. He also stated that if those were the homes of the poor it was because they were force to be poor, which I agree 100% with him. In the late 1800’s when cost of wood fell the shotgun was the best way the poor could keep a roof over their children’s head. So if you ever go through a poor neighborhoods with rows of shotgun houses just think that these are the remains of the shotgun homes credited to the africans. Brad Pitt’s has a foundation call make it right foundation, if you go to http://thecreatorsporject.com/videos/graft-architects/media/shotgun-homes you will see modern version of shotgun houe’s.

  12. Coral Moyle

    There is such diversity in America that it leads to having a diversity and mixture of style as well as architecture. With that being said when looking at a home today sometimes you can see the different styles that make up one building. You can also see a person’s personality or culture in their home or building. When looking a home sometimes without knowing where it is located you can tell which area it was originated at or found. For example when I see a home such as the shot gun style house I typically think of New Orleans area. Though this style is seen in other areas such as Jacksonville Florida. Though styles are spread around you think of the place you see it the most. Like the homes designed with front porches and no garage, my first thought is North Carolina because when I lived there a lot of homes that I had seen were built this way. The shot gun style homes give off an older historical feeling. This style is not one of my favorite styles but I still think it is a unique style. I do like the open front porches with the short columns. I do think it is interesting that the shotgun style homes are usually built with no windows on the side, because it impractical in these homes since they are so close together. The thought that these homes may have branched off of the homes in the West Indies fascinates me. I think it is interesting and unique when we take different styles and put them together to get a new and improved style.

  13. Kathleen Miron

    The Shotgun Style houses were built as a necessity and basic in every sense of the word. I like the fact that you can add on to these houses and as a Vernacular Style its simple. The history of the shotgun house is very interesting as it went from one continent to another serving the same purpose of accommodating slaves/workers. It looks like to me that the craftsman style could be a follow-up design from the shotgun style. I have noticed that the shotgun style houses in Florida are in clusters, a whole neighborhood of them. This lets me know that there are or were orange groves near by. I have recently researched these little houses of today. I found that they are built by,”Tumbleweed tiny house company” and were originally designed as shelter when hunting. The original ones start at 65 square feet and that one is built economically green without extras. The need for these to be permanent homes grew due to financial waste in the average house. These houses come in different styles from Vernacular to Gothic Revival. Just like the original shotgun house these are necessity designed in one, two, and three bedrooms. Some are even regularly mobile. They say history repeats itself, I guess that goes for architectural designs too. Sharing the purpose of need for this house then and now I find interesting, but the reason for that need humbles me. All in all we have a statement in history with the Shotgun Style house. When you get a chance go to the site, they are adorable.

    http://www.tumbleweedhouses.com/

  14. Jamie Goodwin

    I really enjoyed your article about the Shotgun style homes. I find that they have an attractive look for an inexpensive home. The charm of the front porches really caught my eye. One aspect of a Shotgun home that I do not care for is the fact that they arrange them so close together that they typically do not have any windows on the sides of the home. I am a huge fan of natural light and would find this to bring down my room. On the other hand, I find that the air flow design is brilliant. I could not imagine how miserable it would have been way back when they did not have hvac systems. They say that desperation breeds innovative ideas and I think that this style of architecture proves this saying right. I have learned that the reason that old homes were raised was to help keep the home cooler. The wind would be able to blow under a home which would help with circulation of air. Being as these homes are a staple of Florida architecture, I would like to see more home builders keep true to Florida’s architectural roots. I think ti would be wise to build more of the newer home to feature some of the qualities of shotgun and cracker style homes of the past. In fact, if I were to be able to design and build my own home here in Florida I would choose a style with some of these nostalgic features.

  15. Chelsea Pushman

    I love vintage style elements. The shotgun style is beautiful. I just do not like how the houses are so close together though. I kind of prefer my own space and yard. Privacy is important when it comes to a home.

    Anyways, I have been to Mississippi, my great Aunt and Grandmother are from there. Every home is typical shot gun style just about. My aunt actually lives in a similar style home. I really like the country. Homemade, southern style, minus the extra redneck elements some possess. But I love country music and homey type of elements. These houses seem very intimate and cozy. A main part of country is that there is always a story and the shot gun style tells a story of the past. The vernacular factor is the story. The article talked about how this style helps learn about the people/community who designed the architecture. It helps learn the story of the community.

    Although the shot gun style may be a southern type of thing, but I have been to the FL Keys and this style is present in Key West. The color of the houses, the porches, everything just gives a happy, homey type of vibe. On my better half’s side of the family, they rented a house in the Keys and I was able to stay with them. It is really awesome, very tight and intimate. I don’t think I want to live with a family in this style but I definitely appreciate the fact that it exist and I have the opportunity to see the different cultures of communities such as in Mississippi and the Keys.

    Thanks,

    Chelsea

  16. David Scott

    I found that your statement that the shotgun house is believed to be an architectural hybrid that was developed in the West Indies and then entered in the United States via New Orleans sometime in the beginning of the 19th century agreed with some thoughts I had after reading the article. I was born in Jamaica which is a part of the West Indies and growing up there for a part of my life, most architecture there were similar in design. In fact, the designs included the variants in shotgun designs which you mentioned and other vernacular styles. Jamaicans tend to build their homes in a manner that allow them to cover various pointers that lead to ease of living. Many of these are covered in the shotgun variants, hence, the popularity of it in Jamaica and I am pretty sure, many other countries of the West Indies.
    Many shotgun style homes in Jamaica aren’t build how they are in the United States. In fact, they like to keep some extra land space handy and not install a rear porch, in order to have the option of adding on more sections to the home. Most homes in Jamaica are also more likely to be larger in width than in height because as I mentioned, to have an ease in living. These homes weren’t popular in specific parts of Jamaica, but appeared all over the island. The main feature which seemed to be praised was the fact that by just keeping the front door open and spending some quality family time on the porch, would allow the home to be ventilated by natural breezes. This was due to the fact that no one found the need to have an air conditioning when the country is already cooled by constant cool breeze being blown. This exemplifies the name shotgun based on the concept in which it was derived from. I have never been inside a shotgun style home in America, but I hope to do so very soon and make comparisons with what I am used to seeing in Jamaica.

    Best regards,

    David

  17. ahmed

    The shotgun styles are small houses but mostly they’re the best style to choice by small families. The Shotgun house is a more modest relation of the New York City brownstone house and the Charleston Single House. Like the brownstone, the entry to the Shotgun house is on one side of the facade with adjacent windows overlooking the street. Though the Shotgun is a freestanding structure, it has no windows on the sidewalls. These houses are sited so close together that windows would be impractical for light or ventilation and would severely compromise personal privacy. This house type is one room wide, one story tall and several rooms deep usually three or more and has its primary entrance in the gable end. Its perpendicular alignment breaks with the usual Euro-American pattern, in which the gables are on the sides and the entrance is on the facade or long side. Although gable-entry houses occur in some parts of central Africa, the shotgun house is a New World hybrid that developed in the West Indies and entered the United States via New Orleans in the early 19th century. Having this style in Florida can tell us more about the families, which built this style. For example, we can notice that they used to like the small styles that cost less than bigger styles. Finally, It was great to read how you described each example in detail to be able to identify the variations. Also, your diagram was a great visual to understand the shotgun term.

  18. Emily Windsor

    Lesa.Lorusso the shotgun style as always intrigued me because it is literally a straight shot. I love the picture you have of the house with a chain running through it because it shows this styles main attraction perfectly. Your comments about how America is a melting pot and that being the reason why so many structures are vernacular is very true. I did not know that houses could have half of a story. That is quite interesting. I did not know there were so many different versions, but I think I would really like to see the camelback style of the shotgun. I would like to see how the straight through style of the shotgun would work with a second story built into it. It is cool that you found out about the Yoruba tribe in Africa about the “shogun” and morphing in the “shotgun”. I like how you said that this style of house is a very close-knit style of a house. It is so true because all the bedrooms are either across the hall or right next door and so everybody is very cozy together in this living situation. I love the picture you have of the air circulation; these houses were first built before air conditioning, like you said, and this picture shows how they dealt without air conditioning using the natural breezes. It is awesome how accurate that replica of the Moore house is. Now that you pointed it out the yellow outside of houses is very common in Florida.

  19. Abdulaziz AlQahtani

    “A “shot gun house” is a narrow rectangular domestic residence, usually no more than 12 feet (3.5 m) wide, with rooms arranged one behind the other and doors at each end of the house.” I myself live in a shot gun house. I live in a two bedroom house and the house its self is narrow and rectangular and everyone in the neighborhood has the same house. However, I feel the best thing about a shot gun house is the way how air condition function due to the reason that as soon as you cool off the living room, the other rooms start to cool off. I can save so much money when it comes to my electrical bill cause that way I won’t have to keep the air condition running all the time just to try to cool the other room because I go the living room to do it, as long as it is cold. “The rooms of a shotgun house are lined up one behind the other, typically a living room is first, then one or two bedrooms, and finally a kitchen in back.” Exactly the same thing with my house. First the living room, than my bedroom, than the bathroom than the guest room and then the kitchen. Each room has the perfect size, although, each one of my rooms, except the guest room, has high ceilings and from what I understand the reason why is because of cooling purposes and therefore, to keep the whole house cool cause usually, the southern side of the US is so hot that you need to keep you house cool and we all know we won’t be able to keep the air condition running all the time or otherwise we won’t be able to catch it.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shotgun_house#Characteristics

  20. Melanie McAboy

    Spending a lot of time in the car driving from place to place, I have seen a lot of these homes before. I never found them particularly attractive. Now that I’ve learned a little bit about them, they don’t seem so unattractive anymore. These homes have substance, and purpose. I was especially interested in the image that was added in this article which shows how the breeze circulates through the home by having a door in the front of the house and a door in back of the house which is parallel to each other.
    I haven’t heard of Harry & Harriette Moore Memorial park before reading this article but I’m particularly interested in checking this place out. The house itself definitely intrigues me, but the history behind the house is interesting as well. My question about the house is who planted the bomb underneath it? Was it because they were black civil rights activists? It seems surreal to me that this happened in the 50’s. The world was a different place back then, but it is so different now it feels like when people talk about things like this happening, it would not have happened for at least a hundred years prior to today, maybe more. In ways, we have come so far in 60 years; it’s hard to believe it was just 60 years when a lot of these kinds of things were happening.
    Playing a little with our location, I was reading about the history of the south and came across an interesting fact which suggests people also built these houses in this style because they believed that ghosts could pass through the house easier!

  21. Drew Lacy

    I mistakenly always thought that the term “shotgun house” came from the idea that you could fire a shotgun through the front of the house, and the propelled materials could fly all the way through the rooms to the back of the house! It’s really interesting how words can morph and change, from words to one language to similarly sounding words in another language. The move from “shogun” to “shotgun” isn’t a stretch, but the difference between the two words couldn’t be greater.

    I also find it entertaining that the word choice in the other styles of shotgun houses also reference the gun as well as the building. The “double-barrel” shotgun home takes the common phrase and gives it a whole new meaning.

    As someone who has lived in Brevard for my entire life, I’ve seen several of these shotgun houses, but never really thought about them as having a specific style. They were always just those small houses from an older time in “older Florida,” rather than a unique vernacular building type that today stands as a trademark of historical Florida architecture.

    I always thought that the long, slender shape of the home seemed strange, and frankly somewhat unappealing from an aesthetic standpoint, but when considering the idea of living without the luxury of modern air conditioning, it suddenly sounds a lot more appealing than simply having a nice looking home.

    With the modern luxuries we enjoy today, our houses are now often shaped based on what looks nice rather than what functions nicely. I wonder what houses will look like in 50 years, when the luxuries we know and love today become, in many cases, quaint antiques.

  22. Jessica Derrick

    I really enjoyed learning more about the shot gun style homes; I find vernacular styles way more interesting than styles created by one designer. Vernacular styles give so much insight on the history, community, and culture of a region. The idea of the shotgun style makes so much sense in relation to air flow, I find it amazing how creative people use to be in living their lives compared to how society is now. We now have electricity, technology, insulation, cement, double pained windows; so many new inventions that have made life easier, but have also made us extremely dependent on them. A great example would be how important air conditioners are in Florida, in many houses if the a/c breaks it is extremely hot and the windows are not properly aligned to allow a breeze to circulate. However, as many people try to ‘go green’ and sustainability comes to the forefront of construction, I believe that designs will start to learn from past designs that incorporate environmental factors into the designs.
    The house on the Harry T. & Harriette V. Moore Memorial Park & Cultural Center looks very well rebuilt, I would love to visit and see the home. I think site such as this is very important for sharing history of an area with future generations. It also helps to keep the awareness of the architectural style, since houses can easily be torn down, by having historical sites using the style it is going to stay part of history for generations to come.

  23. Dylan Serra

    These “shotgun,” homes have always amazed me. Where ever you go, you always see different styles of homes and usually they all make a lot of sense on their layout and the overall design of the home, but believe it or not…I never understood these homes. The way that they went so deep into the property and were so closely next to each other: I would always ask myself… “why are these homes so popular? Who wants to be on top of their neighbor like that? And what is the deal with those single room wide layouts?” Now that I have read this article, it all makes a lot of sense. Seeing how at the time, and the cultural impacts on the housing market were divided, these homes make much more of a practical and functional standing than before. The Eco-friendly “venting,” of the home is genius, especially in the hotter states where the stale wind can cool down a hot and humid home. Also the influence that the African Americans had on the development of these homes is outstanding. Even during the troubling times, a sense of community was developed and cherished throughout. Which says a lot about the power and influence a home can have on a single family or person. When looking at the bigger picture of it, cultural imprints have the biggest impact on almost anything. Whether it is clothing, housing, food or social interactions, the “melting pot,” mentioned in this article is spot on. Without different cultures we would have no contrast, no difference, no inspiration of life and change. Everything would be the same or tailored to our generations needs and likes based on the values we were raised with at the time and what is considered culturally correct in the specific region in question. That is why culture is so important. Even though it may not be your style or way of doing things, it is to someone else…and that is all that matters. :)

  24. Elizabeth Kiser

    I believe I have seen a couple of shotgun style homes when I traveled through Georgia. The majority of them were either remodeled or run down to the point of being non-livable. The ones that were remodeled had windows added to the majority of rooms to let natural light in. Many of these homes were not torn down, but new and modern houses built only yards away. This particular style of homes are the best design for major cities, and for farmhouses. I do believe though that these are homes that are not very useful but would be economical in today’s society.

    The shotgun style house would be very economical today because our houses are built very close together in just about every subdivision. It would also solve a lot of problems with tearing down forests for building houses. If everyone built the same house, there would be probably be less break ins because you couldn’t tell whether someone had a million dollars to someone that had five hundred dollars.

    I do not believe that these houses are not useful in much of today’s society. If these homes were designed today, think of how many less architects there would be, or the grandeur that would not be when looking at the exterior or interior of some houses that have been designed. In today’s society, houses are large, have spacious interiors, and are full of many different exterior designs. On one street you could have a house that has a Queen Anne style, and your neighbor may decide he wants a house that is Spanish in style.

  25. Shanna Lake

    It is interesting to read this post and find out so many different variations of the shot gun style homes. We drive around daily seeing different types of homes but never pass them and say “oh this is that kind of style”. After taking this course and reading about different variations and styles it has opened up an outlook. I have more knowledge. I can now look at these homes and use some basic knowledge that i have learned. It gives you such a different perspective. It is also neat to see that these homes are so close. Now reading about shot gun homes it is amazing to notice how many i have actually seen on a daily basis. I find it amazing how creative people use to be in living their lives compared to how society is now. Living in florida you see how important air conditioning is.

  26. Noelle Garrison

    All of these different places look like they would be really cool to visit. It made me really sad reading about the couple who died in the bombing, but it’s so great that a replica of their house was built. Every time I read one of these posts I find a new place I want to tour! I need to start writing a list of all these places. I also really liked that you went in depth into all of the different types of shot gun homes. It was really interesting to learn about all of them.

  27. Antwan Mingo

    Something interesting I learned is that a variation of this style of house is called a “railroad,” in which each room is located off a long hallway on one side of the house like the cars on a train. The original “shotgun” house has room after room accessed by sequential doorways on the opposite wall.

    The shotgun-style house is ideal for the southeastern region of the country. This area is known for hot and humid weather, as well as hurricanes and flooding. This style of house was usually built on a raised platform, two to three feet off the ground, which is an ideal way to prevent flooding during bad weather. And in the event of power failure, or just to take advantage of a great breeze, the layout of the shotgun house allows for a cross-breeze right down the center of the home.

    Another good feature of the home for the south is having the kitchen in the rear of the house with a small porch or stoop, to prevent cooking heat from heating up the whole house. Modern homes now feature centralized kitchens, where the hub of entertaining and family life now centers around because food is abundant and a major part of our lives. Back when the shotgun house was popular, there was less focus on food and more focus on social interactions and family life. It is interesting to see how architecture has changed with differences in the focus of our everyday lives.

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