The shotgun house is narrow, one story tall, one room wide, and two or more rooms deep. The narrow gable end faces the street and typically contains a single entryway and window. Each room is placed behind the other in single file, with no hallway. The roof ridge is perpendicular to the street.
The shotgun is an African-American house form that is most closely associated with New Orleans but is found throughout the Southeast and in the industrial cities of the Northern United States.
In Utah the shotgun house is uncommon; it is usually encountered in mining towns and urban working-class neighborhoods.
Where did the term "shotgun" come from? Nobody knows. One myth is that if one fired a shotgun through the front door, the shot would pass through the lined-up doors of each room and out the back door. However, typically the doors of the various rooms do not always line up. Possibly, the term may have originated among slaves from southern Africa, who used the word “to-gun,” which means roughly, "place of assembly."
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