Thursday, December 14, 2017

Narrow Side Halls

During our recent 2017 Ocracoke Island Holiday Homes Tour I had a conversation with one of the homes' hostesses about the narrow side hallway in this turn-of-the-20th-century home.

We wondered about the purpose of this hall. There are several other older houses on the island with them, and a quick internet search yielded a number of references to more older homes with similar halls.

The wall with three windows (on the left side of the photo, above) is an outside wall. The room to the right is the dining room. Why were a few feet separated from the dining room to create this hallway?

Here are a few speculations:
  • Many of these halls seem designed to  provide access to the kitchen without passing through adjoining rooms. This makes most sense if the adjoining room or rooms are bedrooms. 
  • Perhaps the halls were originally open "breezeways" connecting the main house to a detached summer kitchen. Then maybe the two buildings were connected and the breezeway closed in.
  • Even if the house never had a detached kitchen, the narrow side hallway may be a design feature that persisted, although it had now lost its primary function. 

If any of our readers know the original purpose of the narrow side hallway, please leave a comment.

This month's Ocracoke Newsletter is my analysis of a sentence penned by surveyor Jonathan Price in 1795. The sentence reads, "Occacock was heretofore, and still retains the name of, an island. It is now a peninsula; a heap of sand having gradually filled up the space which divided it from the bank."  You can read my analysis here:  

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