Eastern New York
OVERVIEW: CHARACTER OF THE NORTHEAST PROVINCE BUILT AND NATURAL ENVIRONMENTS
Northeast Coastal Province
The Northeast Province of the Forest Service encompasses national forests and facilities in the New England and Middle Atlantic States.
Northeast design is traditionally sensitive to
climate. Early builders were preoccupied with
keeping warm and dry. Because they lacked
mechanical systems to help them, they developed
architectural adaptations that still work well
today. For example, to conserve heat, they placed
chimneys within the building rather than outside
the wall. They connected farm buildings to their
homesónot just for the people, but for the
animals, who were more productive when kept
warm and sheltered.
Influenced by the traditions of Mother England,
New Englanders strongly preferred wood as a
building material. Writings of the period are full
of pointed comments about damp, cold masonry
The buildings of New England are traditionally
sensitive to their sites and landscapes. The
rambling fieldstone walls of New England farms
literally grew from the land as farmers moved
them out of fields and stacked them into
boundaries. New England barns fit well with
the contours of the rolling topography.
Farther south, in the Middle Atlantic, German
settlers enjoyed brick and stone masonry and
celebrated its use with elaborate design. Many
rural buildings of Pennsylvania seem to grow
directly from the landscape of fractured rocks
shaped by glacial freeze-thaw cycles. Scandinavian
settlers introduced the log cabin in Delaware.
Scottish-Irish settlers spread this most-American
of building forms throughout mountains and valleys.
Throughout the province, farm buildings were
clustered close to roads to ease transportation
of crops and products to market. This is only one
example of a traditional idea that makes sense
today. For example, contemporary buildings placed
close to roads simplify snow clearance and mail
delivery. This also is a sustainable strategy as
it concentrates buildings near existing services,
transportation, utilities, and infrastructure.