At the Front of American Life

A classic symbol of rich tradition and rest, nothing says “home” quite like a porch.

If you’ve ever purchased a new car, you know that classic, euphoric smell. You can’t beat it.

There’s no feeling like climbing in the driver’s seat and taking in the sweet aroma of newness, of ownership. It’s the first sensation–the introduction–to entering the car. It’s the gateway to a place you call your own. That new car smell says only one thing: that new car is yours.

A front porch isn’t much different. But a porch isn’t only a gateway to a home–it’s a symbol of the richness of American social life, social status unconsidered.

For over a century, front porches have been a staple of classic American life. Since the mid-19th century, American homeowners have been building columned overhangs at the front of their homes, coalescing and communing with family and friends, enjoying meals by firelight, or swinging in rocking chairs and sharing belly-laugh stories.

Even President Rutherford B. Hayes was very fond of porches, when he described his porch as the part of a home to build around, not as an add-on: “The best part of the present house is the veranda. But I would enlarge it. I want a veranda with a house attached.”

In the early 20th century, the porch became a commonplace portal to conversation and casual interaction. This was the porch’s golden era. In an age obsessed with manners, homeowners began to surround the porch with shrubbery and other decorative plant life to serve as a sort of thinly veiled fence. It was welcoming enough where a neighbor would feel comfortable walking up, but a sense of privacy, ownership, and respect for the home was maintained.

After its peak popularity, front porches began to see their acclaim die down around the mid-20th century. With air conditioning becoming more ordinary than luxurious in most American homes, Americans were opting to stay indoors during hot, muggy summer months–not outside.

Around this time, back porches began to see a surge in activity. Families, especially those with young children, used private back porches as an area for play and fun activity. Front porches, which were naturally in public sight, weren’t being used as often, though they served as great spots to hang out and converse with loved ones.

While porches have undergone plenty of style shifts and culture changes, they’ve held their ground as a steadfast staple of classic American living over the decades.

At Green Key Village, we know the value a porch can offer. Homey, nostalgic and comforting, porches bring feelings of happiness, rest and the ultimate element of home.

Check out our available homes and be the next to enjoy island-inspired, classic porch living at Green Key Village!