Minnesota Classics: Colonial Homes

The Colonial style houses often featured emphasis on the front door.
The colonial style houses often feature emphasis on the front door.

Arguably the most popular exterior style for homes in the history of the United States, the colonial home is well known and considered the staple of the American Dream. Colonial homes are found predominantly in older neighborhoods of Minnesota from Macalester-Groveland in Saint Paul to the East End of Duluth. This distinct style has a rich history.

The colonial style became distinct for it’s obvious use of geometry. This developed from European influences in the 1600s and made it’s way to the United States as colonists emigrated. Colonists settled primarily along the Eastern Seaboard and built homes that became the colonial style. They started as two-story homes that feature one room on each floor and eventually grew into the stately, four-over-four, two-story homes most associated with the colonial style. Four-over-four alludes to the style of four rooms on each floor of the home.

While more popular in the Eastern and Southern United States, specific characteristics make a colonial home easy to spot in Minnesota. The homes are symmetrical, or square, and feature an entry door that can be found in the middle of the front of the home. The style also features two windows on either side of the entry door, with five windows on the second floor, with one directly above the entry door. Other characteristics include paired chimneys, a medium pitched roof to provide drainage in rainy weather, and a stairway that is directly behind the entry door and leads to a hallway that bisects the middle of the second floor.

These homes evoke a nostalgia of time past. Characterized by classic American features and white picket fences, the colonial home is remains a staple.

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