In Praise of the Front Porch Swing

By: Conrad Neuf , Contributing Writer
In: Old Houses, Old House Musings, Old House History
Front Porch Swing from SudburyDesign.com

Front Porch Swing from SudburyDesign.com

My old house doesn’t have a front porch swing. Actually it doesn’t even have a front porch anymore; it was enclosed during a previous owner’s restoration project many years ago. But late summer brings back many memories of sitting on front porch swings and watching the goings on in the neighborhood. My friends and I would discuss the approaching baseball playoffs and the upcoming football season. We often talked of what the future might hold after we graduated. Many evenings we sat on that front porch swing until the moths were bouncing off the front door lights, and we could hear the mosquitoes whistling past our ears. Those were simpler times, and I sometimes can’t help but think we would all be better off if we made more time for front porch swing evenings today.

Old Houses and Front Porch Swings

I’m not alone in my fond memories of front porch swings: I think one of the first things that occurs to many old house enthusiasts when they see an empty front porch is that it might be a great place for a swing. Perhaps it comes from old movies such as “To Kill a Mockingbird” where the fictional town of Maycomb, Alabama, had homes with expansive porches and families spending their summer evenings conversing on their swings. Others may have grown up in old house neighborhoods similar to mine, where every other home had a front porch swing.

I found a blog post that manages to be humorous and romantic at the same time as the author describes making a front porch swing as a gift for his fiancee to represent the old house they would someday own together. When they started house hunting in South Carolina a primary consideration for every home they looked at was whether it had a porch for the swing, and the house they purchased looks like it was built just for that swing.

Another family found what might be the perfect old house for a front porch swing in Baltimore, Maryland. Actually, from the photos on the blog the entire old house might be perfect; whoever did the restoration appears to have done an incredible job. All the old house needs is a sleeping porch.

There is another old house in upstate New York that is a prime candidate for a front porch swing, and it sounds like it may have one as soon as the kitchen restoration is complete. I found this to be a great blog full of interesting descriptions of a typical family’s adventures while restoring a home built in 1855. I just wish I could enjoy reading about it on my front porch swing.