y MICHAEL HARRA,
IN AMERICA., as in many coun.
tries, the drama and the pathos
of the nation's heritage is often
contained durably in thearchitec-
ture. Thomas Tileston Waterman,
author of "The Dwellings of Colo-
nial America," points out that "a
dozen European nations and cul-
tural groups contributed their tra-
ditional methods of building.
These were modified to meet vary-
ing demands of American climate
and the living conditions of the
ever-expanding American frontier.
"The various traditions influ-
enced one another as the colonials,
moved westward from the coast
and southward down the slopes
and valleys of the Appalachians."
In a word, they blended. And
thus America did not really have
a hodge-podge of English, Swed-
ish, German, and Dutch architec-
ture, but rather a combination--
a truly American architecture--
with a charm all its own.
Perhaps the most stately and
refined of American houses were
in the southern colonies-below
what was later the Mason-Dixon
line. The lavish elegance and com-
fort which they exude are very
much a part of the South, and it
is hard to.imagine a South with-
And yet lavish or even solid
buildings were the farthest thing
from the dwellings which existed
at the outset. Captain John Smith,
relates of the pioneer Jamestown
colony (1607-Virginia) that "the
tents were rotten and the cabins
no better," and the captain of the
First Supply in 1608 reported to
Queen Elizabeth that the colonists
lived in "shambling cabins and
holes in the ground."
Of this primitive settlement,
however, little but legend remains.
Perhaps the oldest of the houses in
the area of the colony today is the
Brinson House on Fresh Pond in
Princess Anne Count, Maryland.
Dating late in the 17th century, it
is a frame building, one and a half
stories high. It has but one room,
with a fireplace at the far end. The
sidewalls are flanked with a win-
dow apiece, and a narrow stair by
the fireplace ascends into a small
alcove between the chimney and
the wall. And so, while this house
is a marked improvement over
Jamestown, it doesn't even ap-
proach the pictured houses of the
The Growth of Colonial Architecture
Fairfax House, Alexandria, Virginia,
is typical of early Southern architecture.
Mount Pleasant, Philadelphia. This Georgian house is more in the local
manner than Cliveden.
The Old City Tavern at Alexandria,
Virginia. A Philadelphia-style doorway.
Michael Harrah is an a4-
sistant night editor on The
Daily and is a sophomore in
the literary college.
McIntyre garrison house at York, Maine. Built about 1670, it was constructed with an eye toward
defense against Indian attacks.
Cliveden, Germantown, Pennsylvania. The coursed stone work
shows the colonidl phase of the style.