The old "gone with the wind" type houses question

Last week I was in central Georgia and my friend took me to see the houses with the columns in the style of the movie “Gone With The Wind.”

They are beautiful homes but is there any functionality to the columns and the style or is it just artistic or a bit both?

It is a bit of both. There are a few architectural styles that emphasize columns. Greek Revival and Italianette are two of them. In college, I worked at The Columns Hotel in New Orleans with was famous for its columns which goes without saying. The columns are structural help support huge upstairs and downstairs porches besides just looking pretty. Even her in Massachusetts, there are some Civil War era Greek Revival homes but the porches are narrow and the columns are much less structural.

They are functional in part: the columns support an extended roof (or upstairs rooms) over the porch, which shade the downstairs rooms. Also the porch itself is outdoors, with access to breezes and probably shaded at least part of the day. These things were very functional in the time before air conditioning.

The decorative columns were mostly aesthetic but their functional purpose was the same as using a square post. With a typical house there are outer walls with doors and windows. But the south being what it was (hot) you really didn’t want the sun coming in during the day or the sun hitting the outer walls heating up the house. So the solution was to have deep porches on both floors. Once you have the large overhangs and deep setbacks you aren’t going to hold them up with walls but instead just need posts of some sort. Make them round and pretty just to please the eye.