Every wonder why older homes sit so close to the curb? Curbed’s Robert Khedrian takes us into the history of why old homes, with all their quirks, are so close to often heavily trafficked roads.

As Khedrian writes:

One answer can be found in the plain practicality of being close to a road before the age of modern cars. "It takes energy to get to and from the house, either by foot or horse and buggy," speculated Bruce Irving, a realtor, renovation consultant, and former producer of This Old House. "You want the house to be easily accessed. So, why place it at the far end of a driveway or a big, big lawn?…” Since these homesteads were organized around sustaining a working farm rather than a country estate, it makes much more sense for the house to be close to the road so that goods can easily be brought onto and off of the property while the rest of the land can be used for farming.

Something else to keep in mind is that in the 18th and 19th centuries, the concept of "street noise" as we know it today effectively didn’t exist. "There wasn’t that caustic terrible noise that comes from things like cars—you were dealing with horses and carriages. The annoyances were fewer and further between," says Finkelstein. "I really don’t think it was that bad to be placed close to a road then. If anything, it made life easier.”

To read the full investigation, click below.

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