Thursday, September 18, 2014

19th Century "Dog Trot" Cottage is a Unique Find

Blogger's Note: A well used style of 19th century architecture in old New Orleans is the Creole Cottage. The majority of these cottages are found in the French Quarter and the surrounding neighborhoods like the Marigny, Bywater and Esplanade Ridge. Creole Cottages were usually
built close to the property line, had a symmetrical four opening facade
wall and a steeply pitched roof.

From the article "How Well do you know French Quarter Architecture"
This one-story Creole cottage on Dauphine St. has an unusual design for the French Quarter, with an off-centered carriageway cutting through the home, dividing the rooms and leading to a courtyard. At one time, it served as a morgue and funeral home, according to several neighbors. It has an off center breezeway that was characteristic of a historic style that is said to have originated much further north, in Kentucky and Tennessee.

The Scots-Irish and German pioneers made their way westward through the vast forests of the U.S., and they often took the dogtrot house type with them. Adding on a new room and extending the existing roof was the easiest way to expand a residence, and they quickly became a symbol of prosperity among Upland South farmers. Originally, dogtrots were built of logs, but balloon framing became popular as manufactured lumber became more readily available in the late 19th century.

The style usually featured a breezeway through the center of the house with rooms of the house opening into the breezeway. The breezeway provided a cooler covered area for sitting. The combination of the breezeway and open windows in the rooms of the house created air currents which pulled cooler outside air into the living quarters efficiently in the pre-air conditioning era.

Note from Preservation Resource Center Blog
Over 70 dogtrots once stood in New Orleans, and in neighborhood sections of Mid City alone there were 55. Rows of urban dogtrots once lined Iberville, Bienville, North Miro, and Conti Streets. They provided housing for working and middle class New Orleanians beginning in the mid-to-late 19th century. 

Fun fact: The "Dog Trot" style got it's name because the pioneers could hear their dogs walking back and forth in the breezeway.