German And Dutch Influence On American Housing
German settlers came to North America in the late 17th century, they settled mainly in Pennsylvania. Germans built large, lasting houses of wood and quarry stone. Dutch settlers came, more than a century earlier, to the New World. Their first settlements were in New Amsterdam, now known as New York City, and the Hudson Valley to the north. Dutch immigrants used stone and brick to build their homes. Their homes were large according to colonial standards. Dutch homes were noted for their decorative brickwork.
The Germans enticed by such good reports, more displaced Germans came, crowding the trails that led westward. The rolling hills and fertile soils of the River Valley in Pennsylvania reminded them of their homeland, so they settled by the thousands, and their descendants, misnamed the “Pennsylvania Dutch” remain there to this day. The Dutch landed and decided to call New Amsterdam their home.
They learned to use the sea to their advantage and became fishermen, they supplied seafood to Europe and soon became one of the leading exporters. Germans used Gable roofs with hoods in building their dwellings. Germans used hoods, or abbreviated roofs, to protect the people walking, from rain, and helped with the removal of rain from the roof. Dutch settlers built their homes using intricate, stepped gables. Some of the main architectural features in German and Dutch-influenced houses are dormer windows, stepped gables or “hoods”, metal gutters, small windows with sliding shutters, and the Dutch door.
The Dutch door is a door that is divided in half horizontally, like the door outside of the pool for the concession stand. There are some distinctive features between the Germans and the Dutch; Germans had fireplaces in the center of the first floor. The fireplace was the center of most activities.
On the opposite side of the fireplace was a large family room for entertaining, they used the light and heat from the fireplaces to do many daily chores and used for entertain the guests. A favorite feature of the Dutch was the wide front porches on their homes. The Dutch also had dormer windows that are still widely used today.
Dormer windows are windows that are projected through a steeply sloping roof. While doing this report we found that not many houses can be influenced by only one group of people. Shingles from the English settlements and dormer windows from the Dutch can be used on the same house. Although many houses have different characteristics they still have a distinct styles.