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Saltbox, American Classic (The Saltbox)

What is a Saltbox House?

If you are looking for a home, you may come across a saltbox style. These are usually historic properties located in the city center or modern homes designed according to their iconic Saltbox structure.

There are some key features that make up this house, which made its style useful in the period when it first became popular. An inexperienced realtor may try to market a home as a box model, even if he lacks some of these key characteristics.

Learn more about Saltbox and what you can expect when you buy one:

What is a Saltbox House?

Saltbox is a two-story house with an uneven sloping roof. Typically, it is two storeys at the front, with one storey at the rear. This means that there is a shorter roof in the front of the house and a longer roof in the back.


These homes have been popular since the mid-16th century in the United States. The name comes from wooden boxes for storing salt that were essential in colonial kitchens. These boxes helped preserve meats throughout the year at a time when refrigeration and preservatives were unfamiliar.

You can still find these homes throughout New England and many homes are in historical records. In Massachusetts, you can see the style in the historic home of the second President of the United States, John Adams. This house style has also been built to this day.

Why were Saltbox houses useful?

There are many reasons why the box style was used in colonial America. First, homes were built to maximize the amount of sunlight that was shed per room. Electricity was not common until more than 300 years after the first settlers were established in the United States, which means that sunlight was essential for completing daily chores and navigating the home.

Although candles and kerosene lamps were also used, they were sometimes expensive and difficult to obtain. In addition, could not illuminate a room with candles at the same level that natural sunlight can provide.

This house also reflects the climate in which the houses were built. New England is known for its winter storms, and snow on the roof can cause trouble for homeowners. Water is more likely to leak into the house the longer they stay on your roof while eating the shingles and wooden beams. By building a steep roof, the snow was expected to slip right away and leave the house intact.

Finally, many kitchens were built in the back of these houses, in the one-story part of the house. It has also served a purpose in keeping the house cool in the summer. The heat was rising so the stoves and hot fires from the kitchen could escape outside instead of going up to the bedrooms. In an age without air conditioning systems, do everything to be comfortable.

saltbox houseSaltbox homes started as additions,
As the United States became an established state, more and more people began to intentionally build homes of this style. They realized that there are many benefits to investing in this type of construction, so models of this house can be found today.

When settlers came to the United States, their first goal was to build every house they could. They needed basic shelters to survive the impending winters. Even throughout the establishment of the United States, new landowners focused on developing basic homes - and that was often the only thing they could afford.

However, over time, the wealth of these Americans increased. When they had money, homeowners would build an addition to their existing homes. They added a few rooms at the back of the house and lowered the roof to accommodate the one-story addition at the back. This created the Saltbox House.

These additions can be used for large families, aging relatives, landlord offices and even servants' residences in some wealthier homes.

Where can I Find Saltbox?

You can find historic homes throughout New England, especially in Massachusetts, Connecticut and Pink Island. The Library of Congress has a website for these houses, which you can sort by country. You can search for any of the properties closest to you.

All of the homes listed are on the East Coast except for the Dibble House Museum in Mulalla, Oregon. All of the East Coast homes are in New England except for Swallow House in Scottsville, Virginia.

This does not mean that houses can not be found in the rest of the country. First, these are only the homes listed in the Historical Register by the Library of Congress. Second, many architects today use similar construction. Modern homes are found throughout the United States - even in the southern and western parts of the country. You may come across these structures in search of homes.

Where was the fireplace in the Saltbox house?

Without central heating, it was important that the houses be built in a way that would heat the entire house. Many fireplaces are located in the center of historic buildings so the warmth may spread throughout the house. Wealthy families may have been able to build multiple fireplaces in their homes.

Why do Saltbox homes have long roofs?

The long, sloping roof at the back of the house is an iconic part of this house style. This roof structure was created when American families began to build additions to their homes. They could not afford to build two floors, so they built an addition of one floor at the back and then lowered the roof to connect the house.

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