National Park Service

The Great American Landmarks Adventure

Houses of Our Past (17th-20th c.)

We built places that reminded us
of the places we left behind...

Adam  Thoroughgood House
House built in 1680.

Adam Thoroughgood House
Virginia Beach, Virginia
This brick house may look big, but it only has two rooms downstairs. Each one has a large fireplace. Clay and oyster shells were used to make the mortar to lay the bricks. Because glass was scarce, the window panes are very small. The steep roof, windows, and the pattern of the brick laying are all done the way it was done in England. The walls were very thick to provide natural insulation against the harsh winters and warm summers.

De Wint House
House built in 1700.

De Wint House
Tappan, New York
With its flaring roof line, this small stone and brick house looks much like other houses of Dutch builders who settled the Hudson River Valley. it has four rooms‹a kitchen and living room downstairs (each with a fireplace) and two bedrooms upstairs. The living room has the original blue Delft tile in it, which the builder imported from his old home in Holland. You can still see the year 1700 set in the side of the house in large brick numbers!

Parlange Plantation
House built in 1750.

Parlange Plantation
Mix vicinity, Louisiana
This "Creole" house was based on building methods used in France--steep roof, stucco over brick walls, and long windows called French doors. At the same time it is not just like a house built in France. It was adapted to the hot, humid climate of the bayous using the traditions of people who lived in the West Indies and Africa, then came to the Mississippi Gulf Coast. The main living area is on the second floor, raised above the muddy ground. The first floor was used as a kitchen and for storage. The long doors could be opened to cool the inside rooms, and the porches provided shade.

African House at Melrose Plantation
House built about 1820.

'African House' at Melrose Plantation
Melrose, Lousiana
The 'African House' is just one of the buildings on this large farm, and was most likely used as a shed for tools. The first thing you notice is its broad roof, shaped like an umbrella, that was designed to protect people from the hot sun and the rain. In Africa, this type of building would probably have had a thatch roof.

Rafael Gonzales House
House built about 1825.

Rafael Gonzalez House
Santa Barbara, California
Much like those built in Spain, this house is built of adobe brick, covered with stucco, and has a red clay-tile roof. The walls are two feet thick, which helps keep the inside cool. Also, because it is warm in California all year and people are often outdoors, there is a veranda and a patio.

Wo Hing Society Temple<
Temple built about 1912.

The Wo Hing Society Temple
Lahaina, Maui, Hawaii
This temple was built by people from China who settled in Lahaina. It was mainly a social meeting hall, although there was an altar room on the second floor. You can see that the building has been designed to fit the warm Hawaiian climate, with large doors and windows that allow the ocean breezes to cool the inside. Greeting all who enter is the "Dancing Lion of Taipei," a ceremonial lion sculpture that serves as the traditional Chinese symbol of good luck.

Travel through time to...Old South Meeting House Back into the time machine!

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