Dating old shotgun houses

However, because of their inherent lack of privacy and because even the largest shotgun layouts rarely offer more than one thousand square feet, a fair number of doubles have been converted to single family homes. Typical facades include columns, ironwork, porches or postage stamp front yards, though some shotguns are not set back from the sidewalk at all.

In this country, the shotgun house had its beginnings in New Orleans in the early 19th century after thousands of free Blacks came to New Orleans from Haiti following the revolution of Toussiant L'Overture.When my husband and I were lured to New Orleans a dozen years ago, it was to renovate a dilapidated double shotgun Uptown off Magazine Street.Inside, shotguns typically feature high ceilings, wood floors and wood mantles, all of which lend elegance and character to even these modest New Orleans homes. Originally, double shotguns were meant to house two households, and many still do.Few elements of the New Orleans cityscape speak to the intersection of architecture, sociology and geography so well as the shotgun house.Once scorned, now cherished, shotguns shed light on patterns of cultural diffusion, class and residential settlement, social preferences and construction methods.

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