Starting as nothing but vast frontier land, and followed shortly later when the United States developed into a nation, the U.S. was heavily influenced by the styles of art and architecture of European societies.
Colonial Architecture reflects that of European nation, those that had to adapt to the dangers and harsh weather conditions of the vast wildernesses. If the weather conditions were dominantly rain then the homes would be equipped to disperse large amounts of water. If the conditions in the land called for wind protection because of windstorms or just large gusting periods during the day then the shelters would be built with strong materials so the shelters would not be blown over. In the western part of the colonies Spanish influences prevailed more heavily and were shown in the structures that the early Spanish colonists built, while English styles, and some French predominated in the east. When the colonists came to the U.S. they only brought knowledge of their countries building styles so in order to invent newer styles they had to start out with basic homes until they could design their own newer upscale homes to display their talents.
This early period they called "Saltbox" architecture. A typical home during thefirst few years in the colonies was a log home or a cape cod, which was about one room deep, or if the house called for and the owners had enough money the home had a chimney. With the "Saltbox" era coming to an end the architects looked to styles from their homelands. Many of the architects coming from Europe adopted their styles into American society and started to build homes that resembled some back in Europe. The late 1700's and early 1800's the Spanish colonists of the southwest encountered a native building tradition in adobe, which used readily available materials suited to their climate and would be reflected in the building structure. Adobe building structures were show.