The current trend toward painting buildings black and nearly black calls to mind a passage from Booth Tarkington's book The Magnificent Ambersons.
There was one border section of the city which George never explored in his Sunday morning excursions. This was far out to the north where lay the new Elysian Fields of the millionaires, though he once went as far in that direction as the white house which Lucy had so admired long ago--her "Beautiful House.". . . The house was white no longer, nothing could be white which the town had reached, and the town reached far beyond the beautiful white house now. The owners had given up and painted it a despairing chocolate, suitable to the freight-yard life it was called upon to endure.Tarkington suggests the taste for painting houses dark colors at the turn of the 20th century can be attributed to the industrialization of cities. If a house were painted a dark color, it wouldn't show as much when the soot and grime in the air settled on its clapboards. In this post-industrial era, one wonders what's driving the current trend.
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