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Shot Gun House 12x12

The “shotgun house,” a residential house design, is a Black cultural architectural form that originated in the American south and was used extensively throughout the region. Shotgun houses are prototypically long and narrow with a gable-ended entrance, one room wide, and two or three rooms deep. The shotgun house is so named because it is said that one can fire a shotgun through the front door and the shot will exit out the back door without ever touching a wall. Studies by folklorists and cultural geographers make strong arguments for African beginnings of the shot gun house as a blend of West African architectural styles with West Indian indigenous architectural styles and is believed to have originated in the 1700s. From West Africa to the Caribbean to the Gulf Coast of the Southeastern United States, this folk architectural style evolved into the vernacular shotgun house. Most fascinating of all, the name of the house type, "Shotgun," may be an altered form of "togun," the African Yoruba word for "house." The shotgun house was typically used as low-cost housing for the low-income workers of the South. Many are still in use today, and some have been restored to a level of importance that did not exist when they were first built.