The History of the Shotgun House
The shotgun house is a narrow rectangular domestic residence, usually no more than 12 feet wide, with doors at each end. Shotgun houses usually consist of two to five rooms in a row with no hall ways. The term “shotgun house”, which was in use by 1903 but became more common after about 1940, is often said to come from the saying that one could fire a shotgun through the front door and the pellets would fly cleanly through the house and out the back door. The origins of the shotgun house have always been something of a mystery but more recent studies by folklorists and cultural geographers make strong arguments for African beginnings in the case of the shotgun house of the American South. In this country, the shotgun house had its beginnings in New Orleans in the early 19th century after thousands of free Blacks came to New Orleans from Haiti following the revolution of Toussiant L'Overture. The Heritage Village will consist of two versions of the shotgun house, the single-barrel shotgun house and the double-barreled shotgun house. Another variation of the shot-gun house is the camel back shotgun house.