Some weeks ago I was driving my son’s car on the interstate and it blew out a tire about 45 minutes from home.
I was able to pull over safely and put on the donut emergency tire, but it effectively ended the trip to Georgia I was taking with three of the children.
Since it wouldn’t be safe to continue on the Interstate with a donut tire, we navigated our way home via a series of back roads a little north of the Florida border.
Somewhere east of Brewton, we came across this beautiful little Cracker house:
It’s a fantastic specimen, and still looks pretty solid. Note the “dogtrot” breezeway right through the center.
Down in Grenada I wanted to build a Cracker House but never managed to pull it off. Of course, it ended up not mattering since we had to move back to the states during the pandemic, but it was something we researched extensively.
This book by Ronald Haase was my main inspiration:
We corresponded by email as well – he is an excellent architect, with some creative additions to the original Cracker design.
However, I prefer the original, two-cottages-connected-by-a-roof design. The simplicity and usefulness of the design in the heat of the Deep South is near perfect.
It may become even more perfect as the economy declines and they take away our fuel, air conditioners, gas stoves, etc.
You start with the “single pen” house in the graphic above, then make a second one with enough spacing for your dogtrot, then put it all under a big, wide roof. The cooler air that comes in through the porches and breezeway keeps the house much more pleasant than a concrete Modernist home.
The architecture matches the environment, unlike most new houses which are built for AC.
It wouldn’t be all that pleasant to live without AC in the heat of summer (it’s nearing 100F today), but it would be better to live in a Cracker House without AC than in a concrete box with windows that barely allow air flow.
One day, I may still build one. It was wonderful getting to see a classic example that was still standing.