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What do you call this house part?


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Originally posted by Bain

They're called piers in some of the architectural books I've read. I would likely refer to them as balustrades, though, even though they have no balusters and I realize that's a misnomer.

I'd call it an end wall (because it's a wall at the end of the steps); or, I might stretch and call it a return.

But if it's really killin' you, ask Clem Labine. If anybody knows, it'll be him.

http://www.traditional-building.com/7.htm

WJ

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Very, very common from the teens through the late 20s. The house in Jim's pic is missing its twin. I don't know what the kids are callin' em these days, but the correct term from the period is buttress.

House plan catalogues from that time show a large majority of the homes have them. NONE of the plans ever show railings at the porch steps.

A side note from that period - porches that don't have roofs are always called "platforms".

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Thanks everyone.

I've never called these things anything other than end walls and I'll probably continue to use this term because it's easily understandable.

As Bill noticed, the right one is missing. A car, moving at 50 mph, took it out after the left front wheel rode up the step. The car eventually stopped, upside down, in the neighbor's yard.

- Jim in Oregon

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That's why I would have called it a balustrade, even though it's wrong. People will understand, "The right balustrade beside the front-porch steps was taken out by a car and requires reinstallation." Maybe one person in a thousand would catch the error and ask, "What does he mean? The buttress? The cheek wall?"

Sometimes you guys are too smart for your own good. [:-graduat

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Originally posted by Jim Katen

Originally posted by kurt

Cheek wall in Chicago. At least, that's the term my micro-group uses. . .

Would that be because you can stand on the step and lean your cheeks against these walls?

- Jim in Oregon

With the way this discussion is going, one might reasonably conclude that the term buttress is a corruption of butt rest.

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Originally posted by Jim Katen

Would that be because you can stand on the step and lean your cheeks against these walls?

- Jim in Oregon

I have no idea, but I'm officially adopting that analysis as the basis for my calling them cheek walls.

Enshrine them in the popular folklore as where you lean/place/rest your cheeks.

History was made here in TIJ today; the meaning of cheek walls has finally been uncovered.

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I don't doubt that the contemporary name for these things was "buttress." The problem I have is that it doesn't really buttress anything. It's not as if the little end walls are keeping the stairs from racking or falling down...

If anybody asks me, I'll go with "end wall;" or, "those little walls on either side of the stairs."

I've seen many a bungalow where people -- or flowerpots -- sit on the walls. They make a dandy spot for eating off a paper plate at a family reunion...

WJ

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