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George Washington makes his appearance, as Dolan describes how the amateur architect and nation builder may have happened upon a porch in Barbados and brought the concept back to Mount Vernon. But the story is far older and more complex than that, and since those days the porch's popularity has risen and fallen and risen again. Dolan shows how the porch evolved into an icon of Americana, from plantation days to the new urbanism.
Dolan's narrative isn't purely intellectual. He revived the front porch on his house in his hometown of Washington, D.C., designing and overseeing construction of a classic four-pillared porch to grace his 1926 bungalow, complete with lacquered ceiling, overhead fan, and restored metal glider. The story of that porch's decay and restoration not only inspired the book but serves as a touchstone in the author's story as well.
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