Buildings That Come in Pairs | Back Home Again: Buildings That Come in Pairs

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Buildings That Come in Pairs

It's time for another historic architecture lesson! 

I see all sorts of house types in my job when I'm out surveying, but some of the more interesting ones are houses with paired doors i.e. the double-pen log house, saddlebag house and double-door house.

I know, I know...the what house?!

Akinson Griffin Log House - Confederate Hospital

The double-pen log house is a log cabin that is basically two cabins (or in architectural terms pens) joined together. The double-pen evolved from the single-pen. The single-pen was constructed first, and quickly so that settlers could have shelter. It was usually constructed with a later addition in mind - creating the double-pen (it could also be frame). Double-pen log houses usually have a chimney on both ends and a lot of the time have been framed out and are now covered with siding.

There are several variations of the double-pen log house, including the dogtrot (two pens connected via the roof with an open space between them) and the saddlebag.

The saddlebag house evolved from the double-pen log house. It is a double-door house with a central chimney, hence the name saddlebag. 

Early saddlebag houses are usually of log construction, but those dating from the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries are almost always frame. This is actually one of my favorite houses to survey, mainly because I like the name :-)

The double-door house is also known as the tenant house or the Cumberland house. It's commonly found in the South, around the Cumberland River Valley, but can be seen in the East and Midwest as well. It is a double-door frame house with a central flue with stoves in each room instead of a central chimney. It's called the tenant house because newly married couples would live with their parents and each would have their own private room with a separate entry and shared common spaces such as the kitchen. The simplest version of this house is side-gabled, but Bungalows and other architectural styles also exhibited double doors. 

Aaaannd if you're still with me congrats! You've learned something about historic architecture and what I do everyday :-)

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