In the past, a home's front porch served as the main outdoor gathering place for social visits and family relaxation. As a matter of fact, the history of our changing culture can be seen through the various architectural forms and purposes of the front porch. Why was the front porch so significant to family life during colonial times? A University of Virginia thesis on The Cultural Significance of the American Front Porch supposes that the front porch was the family's connection to their land, and to nature - in a country where the wilderness was still yet to be tamed:
In essence, the porch served as a vital transition between the uncontrollable out-of-doors and the cherished interior of the home...In many ways, the front porch represented the American ideal of family. The porch, in essence, was an outdoor living room, where the family could retire after the activities of a long day.