Ask the Craftsman: What’s With the Pineapples?

By Scott Sidler • August 14, 2014

pineapple fence
Image Copyright: Flicker

This week’s question comes from…my wife. Seriously, she has been wanting me to write about this for awhile now. And yes, I’ll be sending her a free copy of my eBook as a thank you.

Why are there pineapples carved on fences and other parts of old houses?

This topic came up because in our neighborhood we have a house that we affectionately call “The Pineapple House.” It has at least a dozen pineapples carved into its fence and porch decor.

This is not a tropical theme that went wild in Colonial America. The pineapple was first documented by Christopher Columbus on his 2nd journey to the new world.

To the Caribbean people, the pineapple symbolized hospitality, and the Spaniards soon learned they were welcome if a pineapple was placed by the entrance to a village. This symbolism spread to Europe, then to Colonial North America, where it became the custom to carve the shape of a pineapple into the columns at the entrance of a home.

Boat captains, upon their arrival home, used to stick fresh pineapples, a symbol of their travels to distant ports, atop the porch railings of their homes. It was a symbol that the man of the house was home and receiving visitors.

Still today the pineapple is a warm and inviting sign to visitors that their hosts have gone to great lengths to make them welcome.

You’re welcome, honey!


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