Shotgun style homes derive their name from the idea that you could fire a shotgun through the front door and it would exit through the back door without hitting anything. They are single story and narrow with each room leading directly into the next, without hallways. They have gabled roofs and welcoming front porches, ornate with gingerbread brackets. Each room leads directly into the next, without hallways.

At the turn of the century mail order plans and parts could be purchased to build these affordable homes. They represent a unique African American contribution to architecture in the United States, appearing first in the earliest 19th Century and beginning of the 20th century, both in rural areas and in urban areas in the southern United States, especially Louisiana. These homes suited the warm southern climate as the narrow, front-to-back design allowed good air circulation in the summer. Built close together, they give a community feel where neighbors can sit on the porches of these narrow homes and chat with each other.These homes can be found around Kansas City, especially in the Strawberry Hill area.