Social Change

by Steve on August 25, 2006

The town I grew up in was, and still is, essentially open range for children. Not many fences and large old homes with huge front porches. The architecture within that community is something rarely encountered anymore. Most of the homes in the older sections of town are well over 100 years old with many approaching the 200 year mark. High maintenance but well worth the effort. Another noted feature of these older homes is the garages are usually tucked out of sight behind them in the back yard leaving the home itself as the focal point. Life back then was lived out front in the open. Neighbors talked, their kids roamed the block playing in the front yards or street, and the grand porches offered a view of all the activity.

Contrast that against what we see today in most communities: the garage is on the front, the house itself is largely devoid of any real architectural value, the front porch has decayed into nothing more than an entrance used for entertaining only, and we’ve sequestered ourselves behind privacy fences on backyard decks. We may know our immediate neighbors but how many of us can name the couple that lives four doors down?

You can put a time frame on this shift in our national mindset by looking at when we started building ourselves into the back yard. The more important question is why the shift occurred. Maybe it’s time to get out front again.

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