What is a Shotgun House?

Shotgun houses were a common type of architecture in the South for many years between the Civil War (1860s) and the Great Depression (1930s). The name stems from the fact that you can see straight through the house from the front door to the back door like the barrel of a shotgun.

Most were 12 feet wide and long and narrow. These homes were also known as a shotgun shack, or shotgun cottage. Homes similar in a neighborhood were close to each other, so windows on the side of the house were not done.

Being simple, small, rectangular houses they were usually only one-story and were erected quickly as affordable housing for those without the means to build stately homes in brick with many rooms. There was just a front door and straight back is a back door. No hallway and one room flows into another. Most of these style homes did not have a bathroom, using an outside outhouse instead. Some had a bathroom added later.

Some of your family members may have grown up in such a style home and you never knew its background. Check some of the family photos.

Photo: Shotgun House.

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Ancestral Hometown

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