THREATENED: 315 N. Miro Street Dogtrot HouseBy
The house at 315 N. Miro street, located in the Mid City National Historic District, has been proposed for demolition by Code Enforcement. At first glance, this small Italianate style house looks unremarkable. It is, however, a rare dogtrot type house that was uniquely designed for the New Orleans urban setting.
A dogtrot is traditionally a rural architectural type found mostly in heavily forested areas of the deep South, including Louisiana. These double-pen houses consist of two rooms that are separated by a central breezeway, all under a common roof. Homeowners could hear dogs and other critters walking through the breezeway, which is why this style is commonly called a “dogtrot” or, in other parts of the South, a “possum trot.”
Although the type has its roots in 18th century Pennsylvania, dogtrots really took off when Scotch-Irish frontiersmen discovered the inherent cooling benefits of the breezeway, which offers a respite from the hot, humid summers and provides ventilation for the interior of the house. They took the style with them in their march through the Appalachians forests and into the southern states, where it became a very popular type of rural dwelling.
The New Orleans version of the dogtrot is smaller than its rural counterpart. The narrow lot sizes meant that the breezeway width shrunk from an average of 6-8 feet to approximately 2-3 feet. As a result, New Orleans’ dogtrots are unlike any other in Gulf South, or the United States for that matter. There are approximately 11 of them left in the city, while many more have been lost to neglect or demolition.
315 N. Miro represents a particularly good example of an urban dogtrot type in its unmodified state, and is too important to future research to lose. Much has been written about rural dogtrots, but not much is known about their urban counterparts. The PRC believes this home is a prime candidate for Sheriff Sale rather than demolition.
The Neighborhood Conservation Districts Committee will vote on the future of this house on Monday, September 17th at 2:00 PM in City Council Chambers. CLICK HERE to email the committee and share your thoughts. CLICK HERE to view the entire NCDC agenda.
Your opinion matters!
315 N. Miro is one of three identical dogtrots on this block in Mid City.
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