INFLUENCES ON ARCHITECTURAL CHARACTER - LANDSCAPE AND ECOLOGICAL
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
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.