SLEEPING PORCHES • Promoted for the health benefits derived from resting
in the night air, these architectural remnants stir nostalgic memories of a simpler time
IN SEPTEMBER 1776, FOUNDING FATHERS John Adams and Benjamin Franklin were travel- ing through New Jersey. Finding themselves in a crowded inn, stuffed into a small room, in one bed, the two had a disagreement that would continue among Americans for the next century and a half:
Leave the window open or shut?
“I,” recalled Adams in his autobiography, “who was
an invalid and afraid of the Air in the night (blowing upon
me), shut it close. Oh! says Franklin dont shut the Window.
We shall be suffocated.” Adams complied, while Franklin
“began an harrangue, upon Air and cold and Respiration
and Perspiration, with which I was so much amused that
I soon fell asleep.”
Night air had long been suspected of carrying disease.
The miasma theory, going back to the ancient Greeks, held
that impure air, filled with the emanations of stagnant water,
rotting food, and other malodorous things, was surely at the
open to breezes on three
sides, this sleeping porch
in a new house designed
by Boston architects
Albert, Righter & Tittmann
is an inviting nook to
spend a summer’s night.