The Southeast Coastal Province is characterized

by flat topography; sandy, well-drained soils;

bogs; and many other types of wetlands.

Located primarily in drainages, the forests

of the province mix tall, slender pines with

deciduous trees. The oaks produce tannic acid

that give this province’s flat, slow-moving rivers

a tea-colored hue. The weather is hot, with

frequent thunderstorms. It is an enclosed

landscape with few opportunities for vistas.

Above the “fall line” of rivers of the Southeast, the

province includes the Lower Piedmont areas where

streams run faster and clearer, topographical

changes are more pronounced, and hardwood trees

are bigger. This upland zone is an area of foothills

and dense forests punctuated by towns and

agricultural clearings.



Old-world traditions shaped this new world. The

French contributed the raised “Creole cottage”

and the wrought ironwork seen in New Orleans.

African-Americans are associated with the

“shotgun house” with its connected rooms and

broad, shaded entry. Formal British styles, such

as Georgian houses, flourished almost everywhere.

German immigrants contributed highly

crafted stone and timber construction for

farmhouses and barns. Another strong cultural

factor is a high regard for heritage in this region,

where the historic preservation movement began.


Other influences include:

Settlement Patterns: Early European settlements

relied on shipping and fishing. They clung to the

coasts and in communities along navigable rivers.

Early waterborne industries included the fur

trade, logging, fishing, and rice.


Agriculture and Industry: The early Southeast

Coastal Province was an agrarian society. Tobacco

flourished as a cash crop in Virginia, Maryland,

and Kentucky. Rice was grown along the coasts

of Georgia and the Carolinas. Sugar cane and,

later, cotton were king in the South.


Indigenous Materials: Settlers in coastal

South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida appropriated

a Native American material called “tabby”—

a mixture of lime, sand, and oyster shells.

Brick became common as more permanent

buildings were erected in the colonies in the

mid-1700’s. This was particularly true in Virginia,

where the red clay is suited to mixing and firing.

This region’s large stock of stone and brick

buildings remaining today belies the fact that

most early buildings were constructed of wood.




Chapter 4.3 Table of Contents

Reader’s Guide