The Sunday porch: Washington, D.C.

Wash. D.C., rowhouses, via Library of CongressSeven Washington, D.C., rowhouses in 1939, by David Myers, via Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.

The neighborhood is not given, although it looks like Capitol Hill to me.

In his book, The American Porch, Michael Dolan attempts to trace the European, African, and Asian origins of our many kinds of porches.  The front stoop — several steps and a small landing — came from the Dutch.

Down the coast [from New England], in Nieuw Amsterdam, a different entry was proliferating.  Made of stone or brick, the stoep — Dutch for “step” — was a roofless link between doorway and street.  Though municipal tradition required a building’s occupants to maintain the stoep, the Dutch deemed it public territory.  However, in Nieuw Amsterdam, the stoop acquired a private connotation:  “. . . before each door there was an elevation, to which you could ascend by some steps from the street,” an observer wrote.  “It resembled a small balcony, and had some benches on both sides on which the people sat in the evening, in order to enjoy the fresh air, and have the pleasure of viewing those who passed it.”

The stoops above lack benches, but the owner of the first one has brought down a chair, and two doors down there is a park bench in the tiny garden.  You can see a similar arrangement here.

I’m taking a break from blogging for a couple more weeks (except for “The Sunday porch”), but I’ll be back for GB Bloom Day in October.

4 thoughts on “The Sunday porch: Washington, D.C.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.