History of the Gazebo

 In Aging Well, Shaded Gazebos

The thought may have never crossed your mind, ‘Where did gazeboes actually originate?’. But, now thinking about that question, wouldn’t you like to know the history behind it? It’s actually quite fascinating.

Let’s get started.

First Recorded Use

Initially, gazeboes were not ground garden structures as we know them today. In fact, they were placed atop a tower or roof for viewing across a village or land. It wasn’t until about 5,000 years ago from today that gazeboes were built by the Egyptians and Persians as a peaceful place to sit and view their gardens.

Garden gazebos were directly constructed near streams to help their plants grow beautiful and lavish gardens for relaxation and diplomacy. Another purpose for gazeboes were to help vines grow as they need a place to grow upwards. Aside from adding to the ambiance, many Egyptians believed that when they would die, their paradise would be their own garden around the same gazebo.

It wasn’t until later that other cultures started adopting gazeboes into every day life.

Difference in Structure

Intrigued by these structures, Greeks, Romans, Chinese, Japanese and even the French and English would build gazeboes in different facets. In the beginning, Persians were known to have multiple styles of gazebos. From cloth like gazebos, almost like a tent, to a sturdy construction of marble over streams or pools.

The Greeks and Romans would later adopt the marble structures of gazeboes and use them in either a private or public setting. Japanese and Chinese utilized wood to develop many of their gazeboes, having them be sturdy enough to withstand natural disasters, like earthquakes.

Many of today’s modern gazeboes are constructed in the same way and used in many of the same facets.

The Usage of Gazeboes

Aside from adding to the ambiance of a garden or private home, the usage of gazeboes differed among cultures. Being more of a private relaxing haven, Romans, Egyptians, and Persians mainly used them for their own use. They’d be owned by royalty to establish a way to escape and reflect within the confines of their garden.

The Persians also used these octagonal structures for diplomatic affairs to sign essential documents or treaties. Greeks developed a more public approach for gazeboes. The construction would be close to a temple or town square for people to converse or take a break. The Chinese and Japanese on the other hand used gazebos for more formal ceremonies and places for meditation among nature.

Today, we’ve adopted all sorts of ways to use gazeboes but mostly for privacy or small parties. The most intriguing part about our adoption of gazeboes, however, is that their popularity fluctuated in America for several decades.

Popularity in America

The word ‘gazebo’ wasn’t used until the mid-1700s when two architects William Halfpenny and John Halfpenny coined the term. There is no exact record of how the word ‘gazebo’ came to be. Some claim that it was a mix of Latin and English. Others suggest that it was heard while both architects were traveling through Asia. Gazeboes didn’t truly have any staple in Western Culture until the 1800s having influence from the French and English design that would inspire much of what our gazeboes are today.

As for the popularity of gazeboes in the United States, it went through periods of demand. The 1800s started the era for gazeboes in America. However, when houses hit the market, the trend would ultimately decline. It wasn’t until the 1930s that the gazebos picked up interest again in American culture. Many homes began building gazeboes as a quiet place to take a break from the chaos of day-to-day life. But, around the 1940s decks and patios were becoming more popular and would slash the famous gazebo.

40 years later, the gazeboes were again an ideal addition to the American home and still are to this day.

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