What Is a Sleeping Porch?

At the height of heat in the South, no possession is more valuable than an air conditioner. When the thermometer reads 90 degrees before 10 a.m., you undoubtedly wonder, 

"How in the world did people survive before air conditioning?!" They managed to survive since air conditioning was not widely available in homes until after World War II,

which meant that the house might be one of the most suffocating places to be if appropriate cross-ventilation was not provided.

And, while you could escape to a body of water or a well-shaded park during the day, sleeping inside at night could be extremely uncomfortable. 

This is why many Victorian-era and early twentieth-century homes feature what is known as a sleeping porch.

The sleeping porch was an enclosed deck or balcony with screened windows, usually accessible from one of the second- or third-story bedrooms and situated in a corner of the house to capture as much cross-breeze as possible.

Even better, they could stretch the entire length of the back of the home, exposing three sides to cooler nocturnal winds. 

The entire family (particularly the youngsters) would seek sanctuary on the sleeping porch, spending those hot summer evenings on cots or mattresses.

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