The Importance of the Front Porch

words: Marla Cantrell
images:courtesy Conference on the Front Porch

Most of us have memories of lingering on a front porch. Often, we were doing nothing more than sitting on a wide swing, making it move back and forth by pushing our toes against the wooden floor. But in those moments, a great deal was going on. We were letting our minds fill with creative thoughts, connecting with the place we called home, and carrying on a deep tradition of the American South.

The front porch is such an important part of who we are that there is now a two-day meeting celebrating it. The Conference on the Front Porch will be held in Taylor, Mississippi, just minutes from Oxford, on October 21-22. Speakers will talk about the front porch from an architectural and social perspective, discuss its origin, how the front porch became popular and then declined in popularity, and how it’s coming back in full force. There will even be explanations of how porches influence communities, play roles in presidential politics, and the music that evolves there.

Cost of admission includes six meals, lectures and panels, one evening porch concert and an evening porch play. If you love front porches, this is the conference for you.

For cost and additional information, visit



Speakers and Panelists

R. Scott Cook: Author of The Cultural Significance of theFront Porch

Michael Dolan: Editor of American History magazine and author of The American Front Porch: An Informal History of an Informal Place

Carter Wilkie: Historian and author of The Search for Community in the Age of Urban Sprawl
Leah Kemp: Interim Director of The Carl Small Town Center Group at The Mississippi State School of Architecture

Charles Reagan Wilson: Former head of The Center for The Study of Southern Culture and now Professor Emeritus

Jay Watson: Howry Professor of Faulkner Studies at Ole Miss

Claude Stephens (aka Crow Hollister): Founder of The Professional Porch Sitters Union and a frequent commentator on NPR

V. John Tee: Architect and frequent commentator on the stylistic evolution of the porch in the American South

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