The earliest PA German Traditional buildings were of log or stone construction and of distinctly medieval form with steep roofs, thick walls and small, irregularly spaced windows.These small early houses had floor plans which followed traditional layouts - some very simple one-room buildings, but more frequently a 2 or 3 room layout with a central chimney and corner "winder stair" leading up to a loft or second floor.
The Cooke House in York County and the Christian Stauffer House of Lancaster County are good examples of this blend of Germanic form with Georgian proportions.
One of the most interesting and intriguing types of PA German Traditional houses is the Four over Four or Pennsylvania German Two Door Farmhouse.
These houses are easily identified by their two front doors, placed side by side in the center of the house with a window flanking each and four windows on the second floor.
Houses of this type usually date from the mid-1800s and are often built of brick or frame.
The two room format known as the "Hall and Parlor Plan" had only a kitchen (hall) and a parlor with a central chimney wall in between.
In the vernacular tradition some early stone houses were built over a spring to provide running water and a cool area for food storage in the basement.
Another traditional early house form was the combination house and barn where both shared a common roof.
Few examples remain, since it was a more of a short term pioneering practice than a desired housing type.
The Green House in York County is a good example of this form.
One front door opens directly into the family sitting room, and the other into the more formal parlor.
While the German settlement later extended throughout the state, this southeastern area retains the earliest and the highest concentration of the early Pennsylvania German Traditional buildings.