View and print photos and
measured drawings of floor plans, exterior elevations and
Saltbox House Designs from the Historic
American Building Survey
What is a saltbox
house? According to the Library of Congress, it's a Colonial
style of architecture which originated in New England. Saltboxes
are frame houses with two stories in front and one in back,
having a pitched roof with unequal sides, being short and high
in front and long and low in back. The front of the house is
flat and the rear roof line is steeply sloped. The simplicity
and strength of this design, first seen around 1650, continues
to make saltbox houses popular today.
The saltbox shape
may have developed because it is a good response to cold New
England winters. When oriented with their fronts to the south or
south-west, saltbox homes expose their largest exterior wall and
most windows to the warmth of the sun.
The Library of
Congress list of Saltbox home designs, shown in photos and
measured drawings, includes seventy houses homes built in
Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York,
Oregon, Rhode Island and Virginia.
American Building Survey is a joint effort of the Library of
Congress and the National Park Service. Read more about their
efforts to preserve America's heritage by visiting their
Built in America To learn more
about any of the designs listed here, search for it by its card
number. Then, explore the vast and ever-growing HABS collection
to view related building designs.