Conch House - History

History

The conch house style was developed in Key West by Bahamian immigrants, known as "Conchs". Many Bahamians had experience building boats, and the earliest conch houses were built like boats, using timber framing. In the 1880s timber framing was replaced with balloon framing. Houses in the conch style were also build in Miami, in particular, in the Coconut Grove and Overtown neighborhoods. The term "conch house" has been applied to houses built in a variety of styles in Key West, but the most common usage is for houses built in a Bahamian style. About half of the historic houses in Key West have been classified as being in the Classical Revival style. The Bahamian immigrants in Key West were accustomed to building houses in the Bahamian clapboard house style. This style placed houses on posts or piers, used timber framing, had large windows and high ceilings to allow cooling by available breezes, and had louvered shutters hinged at the top ("Bahamas shutters"). The Bahamian clapboard house style has influenced housing in many areas with tropical climates.

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