Skip to main content

Out On The Old Front Porch

April 2024
1min read


Few of the Drakes’ contemporaries had summer homes, but virtually everyone who had a house had a porch, and that is where middle-class America spent the summer. On the porch, which often ran around three sides of the house, the men could sit in shirt sleeves through the hot evenings while the family-played Parcheesi, listened to patter songs on the gramophone, and watched the occasional water wagon trundling by, laying the dust on the street. The Drakes spent their summers at Keuka Lake, but here, too, the porch was the focus of their lives; it was there that the piano was installed, along with the aquarium and the parrot. Today people are demolishing the porches that were built on their homes during the second half of the nineteenth century, thereby restoring the original architectural form of the houses but at the same time sacrificing one of the greatest pleasures of summer.

We hope you enjoy our work.

Please support this magazine of trusted historical writing, now in its 75th year, and the volunteers that sustain it with a donation to American Heritage.

Donate