Scholars like Jay Edwards of Louisiana State University and John Michael Vlach of George Washington University have long made a convincing case that the long, narrow form of what we now call the shotgun house came to the United States through New Orleans via Africa and Haiti, making it the country’s one, true African American architectural form. But as you can see in the advertisement below, published in the Memphis Commercial Appeal, by the twentieth century, the shotgun–scaled down and without the decorative ornament commonly seen on New Orleans shotguns–was marketed to planters, a class that was by that time almost all white, as cheap and easily moveable housing for their mostly black tenant workers.
Note also the comment that Masterbilt was clearing out the shotguns to be replaced by their “bungalow business.” As we saw earlier this year, Hattiesburg’s Gordon Van-Tine mill put out a catalog in 1922 that was full of “bungalow business,” although they still had one lingering shotgun tacked on at the end. These were the two pages Gordon Van-Tine dedicated to tenant and worker housing.
See more of Gordon Van-Tine’s 1922 catalog . . .