Montana and the American Front Porch

America isn’t the only country in the world that has front porches for many of their homes, but there’s something distinctly American about Montana, the big sky, and looking at it from your front porch.

“The twilight was blurred and soft. Supper was almost ready and the smell of cabbage floated to them from the open hall. All of them were together except Hazel, who had not come home from work, and Etta, who still lay sick in bed. Their Dad leaned back in the chair with his sock-feet on the bannisters. Bill was on the steps with the kids. Their Mama sat on the swing fanning herself with the newspaper. Across the street a girl in the neighborhood skated up and down the sidewalk on one roller skate. The lights on the block were just beginning to be turned on, and far away a man was calling someone.” –From McCullers, The Heart is a Lonely Hunter, in Out on the Porch


In many ways, the front porch represented the American ideal of family. The porch, in essence, was an outdoor living room, where the family could retire after the activities of a long day. In the evenings, as the outdoor air provided a cool alternative to the stuffy indoor temperatures, the entire family would move to the front porch. The children might play in the front yard or the friendly confines of the neighborhood, while the parents rocked in their chairs, dismissing the arduous labors and tasks of the day into relaxation and comfort. Stories might be told, advice garnered, or songs sung. Whatever the traditions and manners of the family might be could be offered in this setting. What the family room or t.v. room of post World War II America would become, existed first as the front porch. As stated in an introductory quote, the front porch was truly “a place for family and friends to pass the time”(Out on the Porch 65). via xroads.virginia.edu


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