Atomic Ranch

From the early 1950s into the ’60s, ranch houses—especially in California—often included ornamental dovecotes. They were a common feature on so-called Rustic- and Storybook-style homes, which were also characterized by windows with diagonal muntins, scalloped bargeboards, and other Disneyesque details.

But the roots of the ranch-house dovecote seem to lie in medieval Europe, where freestanding masonry dovecotes, often in the form of cylindrical towers, were used to attract wild pigeons (which were identical to the feral pigeons that now infest cities worldwide). Once they’d taken up residence in the cote, the birds could be harvested for meat...

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