Acadians - Settlements

In Acadian rural communities long lines of houses stretch along both sides of a main road. Land is divided into parallel strips beginning at the road and continuing beyond the cleared area into the woods. Livestock used to be branded and left to roam free in the woods during grazing season, but now all pastureland is fenced in. The main outbuilding is a barn constructed of vertical wooden boards. The parish church is usually found at the center of the village, with local institutions such as the post office, credit union, and cooperative store nearby. Except in communities with a population of over a thousand, there is rarely a cluster of houses in the center of the village. Rather, the population is evenly spread out along the main road. This is true in both farming and fishing communities, as Acadians in coastal areas Traditionally practiced both activities. Rather than living in a clustered community around a harbor, fishing families lived on farms and often traveled several miles to reach the local harbor during fishing season.

The average rural house is quite small and made of wood. The kitchen, the largest room, is the center of activity for the household. Nineteenth-century houses usually included a small room beside the kitchen and two upstairs bedrooms. Acadians have always had a tendency to modify their houses as needed. Often, small houses were enlarged with the addition of a new wing as the family grew. For exterior wall covering, modern clapboard has now replaced cedar or spruce shingles, and asphalt shingles have replaced the original wooden ones on the roof.

Urban houses show various influences in style. Again, wood is the most important element used in construction. In urban areas occupied by Acadians, the main signs of their presence are the Catholic church, the French school, and the credit union.

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