The Dutch dwellings in the Middle Colonies were a little different. Their dwellings were tall, thin, and brick. They faced the water wherever feasible, whether it was the sea or a canal constructed from swampy rivers. The plantations had "great" homes, which were quite big brick and wood structures. These were usually located near the administrative buildings, church, school, and other large structures.
The great homes were often made up of several sections, such as a downstairs section for eating and entertaining guests, and an upstairs section with many rooms for each family member. Sometimes there was even a third section called the "lockup" where prisoners could be locked away from view.
These sections often connected by a ladder that went up between them, so that people didn't have to walk through their living quarters! The whole house was surrounded by a high wall for privacy, and inside the garden was filled with fruit trees, flowers, and other plants.
The middle colonial households tended to be very wealthy, since they owned most of the land around them. A few families may have had slaves, but this is not common practice during this time period. Slaves weren't treated well by the Dutch, and many ran away from their owners to find work in other colonies. Some states (such as New York) banned the import of slaves, while others (such as Virginia) allowed it until 1808.
Dutch colonists settled along the Hudson River on what would become New York, Delaware, New Jersey, and western Connecticut. Dutch Colonial homes are built of brick and stone, with chimneys on either side. They frequently feature a steep gable or gambrel roof. The front door is usually framed by fluted Doric columns supporting an entablature with fan-shaped acanthus leaves. The interior features wide-plank wood floors covered in wool rugs. Ceiling beams are exposed throughout most of the house, with heavy wooden posts supporting the roof above them.
New Amsterdam was originally a fort, but it became a small town after the British took control in 1664. More buildings were added to the town center over time, including churches, schools, shops, and offices. By the late 17th century, almost all of the land inside the present limits of Manhattan Island was developed. This includes 57 square blocks between Broad Street and Hudson River Park, which is about one-third of the island.
Manhattan was divided into two counties, Westchester and Putnam, before it became part of New York City in 1683. Both counties were largely rural until after the American Revolution, when urban development began in earnest. By 1825, almost all of today's Westchester County was built up, while Putnam County remained mostly open farm country until after World War II.
The colonies of New York, Delaware, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania comprised the middle colonies. The Hudson River and the Delaware River were two of the major waterways. This area also has adequate maritime harbors along the shore. The terrain varied from coastal plains to piedmont (rolling hills) to mountains further inland. It was not until after the Revolutionary War that the first bridge over a large river was built - the Delaware Bridge at Wilmington, Delaware.
The middle colonies had their origins as separate settlements long before they became one nation. They included parts of New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania. Although they shared many similarities, each colony had its own government and laws they could decide what role, if any, they wanted to play in the emerging United States.
There are three types of harbors - natural, artificial, and combined. Natural harbors are areas where rivers meet the ocean and contain deep waters close to the land. These are the most peaceful places to dock your boat but they can be difficult to find because only a few get washed away by storms every year. An example is Cockburn Cove on Cape Cod. Artificial harbors are lakes or channels dug by humans that allow boats to dock safely even when water levels are low. The Lake Champlain Maritime Museum in Vermont is located in a former industrial canal lock. Combined harbors are the combination of an artificial harbor with other types of facilities such as marinas, warehouses, fuel docks, restaurants, etc.
There were few towns in the south. Farmers lived in farm homes, some lovely, others not so nice, on their farms. Plantations were home to a few prosperous farmers. In between the great houses were other smaller buildings such as sheds for storing crops and livestock, smokehouses for preserving meat, and ice houses for keeping food fresh.
The farmers in the south had more freedom than those in the north. They could do what they wanted with their land, build what they wanted, when they wanted. There was no king or government to tell them what to do. But at the same time, they didn't have much power either. They got their supplies from the merchants who came through their towns, sometimes with soldiers to fight off bandits. And if any problem arose with a neighbor, they went to the church or the magistrate. But rarely did they get revenge, kill someone over something that happened years ago. There were just too many people for that.
In time, the colonies became more independent of England. They raised their own taxes, made their own laws. By the end of the 18th century, the colonies were trying to figure out how they could separate themselves even more from England. This led up to the American Revolution.
Ordinary people's dwellings in the Middle Ages were often composed of wood. However, several were erected or rebuilt in stone or brick in the late 16th and early 17th centuries. By the late 17th century, even the poorest people were generally living in brick or stone dwellings. They were far superior to timber dwellings. The great fire of London in 1666 destroyed many dwellinghouses.
The average size of a house in England in 1600 was about 12 feet wide by 20 feet long. A four-roomed cottage with a thatched roof had a maximum capacity of 10 people. A two-story building with wooden floors and a thatched roof could hold up to 15 people. A mansion with stone walls and a tile roof could house as many as 24 people.
There were no central heating systems in homes in 1600. Fire was used for heat as well as light. Wood from local forests was usually used for fuel. There were no chimneys on houses in 1600. The only way to remove smoke from houses was through windows or doors.
People lived on the first floor. Bedrooms were usually small but included a bed, chest of drawers, and wardrobe. Bathrooms were also small but they included a bath, toilet, and washbasin. Living rooms were large enough to accommodate furniture such as tables and chairs. Windows had no glass in them in 1600. They opened either by sliding panels or by swinging doors. Ceilings were very low in homes in 1600.