Shotgun Shacks Disappearing from Arkansas Landscape

JONESBORO, AR - Shotgun homes, once a standard architectural feature among cities across the nation, now find themselves fading away as more fall away from neglect.

By definition, the small homes all have the same feature, all rooms are directly alligned to each other.  But in some cities, preservationists want to hold onto the homes, while other want to demolish them, like one home eyed by the city of Jonesboro.

Dr. Richard Burns, associate professor of English and folklore at Arkansas State University, researched about three dozen shotgun shacks and bungalows.  Burns describes the shotgun house as "a type of vernacular architecture common throughout the South, buildings that folklorists now recognize as part of an African-American heritage."

Burns says some scholars believe the architectural style could have come from African descendants, passed through the Caribbean where French ideas of architecture mingled with the building ideas of future slaves.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)