Porches were originally designed to provide space for folks to pause before entering or exiting a home or building. As noted in a previous column, porches in England provided cover for worshippers and for liturgical use. Before a baptism, the priest would begin the service on the porch. In medieval times, a room was added above the porch to be used as a school room, storeroom or armory or as a custodian residence for supervision of the church.
I remember our back porch as an area for removal of working clothes, boots and shoes; decreasing dirt from the interior of the house.
Our covered front porch provided protection from sun and rain. The porch was a place of interaction with family, friends and visitors, rarely experience these days.