Originally Posted by N.B. Forrest
I award this championship only after laborious research and incessant prayer.
I am familiar with the back streets of Newark, Brooklyn and Chicago, and have made scientific explorations to Camden, N.J. and Newport News, Va.
The effect is that of a fat woman with a black eye. It is that of a Presbyterian grinning. But they like it.
I too have often lamented the comparative fugliness of American architecture to that of the Old World, and wondered why it is so. Why didn't our European forefathers come here and build in the same beautiful, picturesque styles of their lands of origin? Some did, of course; living in Virginia, for example, means seeing more fine old buildings than in pretty much any other state - but even here, the majority of houses & places of business have no exciting style to speak of. Some pioneer cabins were constructed well enuf to last centuries, but most have little beauty other than that conferred by time.
US stuff was built quick and cheap - people were always moving on, moving west. That has to be part of it. Not many were settled and rich enought to really build something marvelous like a plantation, say Monticello, or some of the rich houses up in Rhode Island.
It's easy to romanticize Europe, but remember that Europe lacks basic functionality in stuff like toilets and showers - by our standards. I'm not kidding. In the stuff where functionality and convenience matter most, the US is better than Europe, generally. At least in countries outside of Germany. Yes, we have nothing like Europe's castles, and it is generally better kept than the US. But it's also small, heavily populated, and incrementally built up over many centuries. The US - half of it is hardly 100 years old.