This essay explores the ideological roots of the formal and the material differences between the domestic architecture of the New England and the Chesapeake Bay colonies in the second half of the seventeenth century. The focus is on a preference for wood-frame construction, and double, back-to-back fireplaces at the center of the house in the New England colonies, as distinguished from a preference for brick, and for protruding fireplaces at the opposite ends of the house in the Chesapeake colonies. Scholars traditionally attribute these differences to climatic and ecological differences between the two regions. Pointing out various anomalies that render the climatic and ecological explanations implausible, the article argues that the specific formal and material preferences in the domestic architecture of each colony were not so much pragmatic responses as they were attempts to give tangible physical expression to two very different world views: the Puritan and the Anglican.

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