Years ago, I was reading an early 20th Century book on house painting and there, amidst the many ads for “high quality, high lead” paints and “natural horse hair bristle brushes” was a little snippet on painting porch ceilings. “Sky Blue” was the preferred color for porch ceilings, the article said, because it was a known fact that mud daubers and wasps would not build a nest against a blue ceiling.
One hundred years ago, front porches were a big part of American culture and they became – in a way – auxiliary living rooms. Elderly folks have told me that when they were little kids and it was raining outside, their mom would send them out to the front porch to play – for the day!
The porch was a place for social gatherings, too. City sidewalks bustled with pedestrians moving to and fro, and front porches provided a window on the world and a place to chat with neighbors and catch up on the local happenings.
Front porches were comfortable, too. Before World War Two, air conditioning was something you found at a few movie theaters. In these pre-A/C days, front porches (and their fresh breezes) provided a little relief from the summer’s heat.
And all of that could be ruined by a few stings from an angry wasp.
One hundred years ago, homes were built intelligently and thoughtfully, and everything builders did had a good practical reason behind it, including using the color blue on porch ceilings.