This section is from "The Horticulturist, And Journal Of Rural Art And Rural Taste", by P. Barry, A. J. Downing, J. Jay Smith, Peter B. Mead, F. W. Woodward, Henry T. Williams. Also available from Amazon: Horticulturist and Journal of Rural Art and Rural Taste.
A man travelling in Yankee land, or 'fork state, as he works into the suburbs of the cities, and through the villages, finds nothing more common than pretending snuff colored houses - not " rappee," which is a reasonably decent color, by the way - but of the genuine "Maccaboy," or over-burnt coffee color; and ten to one, the same thing bristling with lightning rods, like the bayonets in a stack of militia muskets on a " training day." I once counted no less than twelve of these useless things on one house and its attachments. " If you want to burn your house," said an old experienced builder to me one day, " put a lightning rod on to it, and you will succeed." I believe in a majority of cases, a building is better without than with them, and more particularly if there be high trees in the vicinity.
As to the color of houses and out-buildings, there is no governing the "fashion" that may prevail. Up to within ten years ago, white was the prevailing color of the good houses. Yellow or straw color, was used somewhat; and for farm houses, anything short of a first class establishment, was either a Yenitian Red or a Spanish Brown, if painted at all. But somebody - no matter who, made a dash out of rule; smeared a house or two with the vile pigment called " Victoria Brown," and since then it has been the color, par excellence, for everybody's house, except now and then a man who had an idea of his own, and thought he knew better than to stain his house with the vile compound. I trust some of your readers will heed this article, and try to influence a better taste in his own neighborhood.