Shotgun. Most people know the term “shotgun” as it applies to a house. The old saw about the origin of the name is that you could stand in the front door and fire a shotgun straight through the house to the back door.

A “shotgun” is not a style of house, but rather a plan that is typically one-story, rectilinear, with a gable-front roof and a hall that extends from front to back with rooms to one side of the hall.

Shotgun houses have been built in the United States since about the 1880s, according to the Field Guide to American Houses. This group of shotgun houses in the 900 block of Elm Street was probably constructed about 1910. Despite neglect and alterations, such as aluminum siding and the loss of their original doors and some decorative elements, they retain a good degree of their historic integrity, including their original plans, windows and porches.

A historic renovation would make these little shotguns shine again.

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