Tuesday, August 02, 2016

Front Porches

"Nobody thought much about the front porch when most Americans had them and used them. The great American front porch was just there, open and sociable, an unassigned part of the house that belonged to everyone and no one, a place for family and friends to pass the time."
--Rochlin, The Front Porch, in Home, Sweet Home (Quoted in The Evolution of the American Front Porch)

"Elsie's House" with open porch, on Howard Street

Nowadays "reverse floor-plan houses" (bedrooms on the first floor; living & kitchen areas and lofty decks upstairs), privacy fences, and air conditioning do not lend themselves to that "open and sociable" front porch.

Margaret Ruth Little, in her book Carolina Cottage, quotes a South Carolina writer who equated the piazza (on Ocracoke it is called a pizer) with southern hospitality:

"The most friendly thing about them [the old houses] is the piazza. Suggested by the climate, it expressed the character of the people. For piazza life combines the private life of the home and the public life of the world beyond; and to a remarkaable degree the private and public life of the South was one."

Let's hope front porches continue to play a significant role in the vitality of Ocracoke community life. If you stroll by Lawton Lane, and see us visiting on our pizer, please give a wave, and call out a friendly "hello."

Our latest Ocracoke Newletter is the story of Augustus Cabarrus, early inlet pilot, and the present day d'Oelsnitz family. Click here to read the Newsletter: Ocracoke...The French Connection.              

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous5:34 PM

    pizer???? I am 73 years old and have lived in New Endland (where everyone has a 'porch' and Ohio, again, more porches, Virginia, yes, porches...pizer?- that's a new one on us.