I have an invisible cookie jar of column ideas (‘column jar’ doesn’t sound as fun). It sits on a laminate counter in my mind and is typically filled with topical flavors of chocolate chip, macadamia and oatmeal raisin. But yesterday, when I reached in for an anecdote, I found only crumbs.

I have an invisible cookie jar of column ideas (‘column jar’ doesn’t sound as fun). It sits on a laminate counter in my mind and is typically filled with topical flavors of chocolate chip, macadamia and oatmeal raisin. But yesterday, when I reached in for an anecdote, I found only crumbs.

This exact dilemma has happened maybe a handful of times in my life. I always keep column cookies in stock. But this week, whether it be because my school schedule was in overload or because I spent too much time watching Dawson’s Creek (yes, I’m a decade behind), my supply was dry.

So, I took to the Internet – a human trap, a world within a world, a black hole of questionable answers and cat videos. Utilizing a search engine, I explored column ideas. I would grocery shop for inspiration!

And, indeed, the first trillion or so search results did offer column ideas… of architectural nature. “How many columns your wrap-around porch must have,” one result forcefully read. It wasn’t what I had sought – or was it?

I love architecture, so why not replenish the sugar stash with design commentary? I know, it sounds like a topic of the Fig Newton variety, but Fig Newtons get a bad rap (Why is that? It’s a best-selling cookie in America. I sense a cookie conspiracy).

Three architectural styles particularly draw my attention.

The first is Neolithic, or more fittingly, “Stone Age.” One version of the designated Seven Wonders of the World includes Stonehenge, a semi-circular Neolithic monument shrouded in mystery. In second grade, a teacher told me nobody was certain how it was built. I told her I would find out (seven-year-old me was pretty confident).

Neolithic architecture isn’t so much beautiful as it is captivating. The beauty, albeit dark, rests with gothic design.

Cathedrals and castles of the medieval period are the poster children of Gothic architecture. The spires, pointed arches and towering heights are haunting… and that’s a judgment based solely on photographs. In person, I’d probably be so intimated I’d turn and run away from fading sounds of the tour group yelling, “Not again!”

I’m joking. Mostly.

Lastly, I appreciate Antebellum architecture. This style is specific to America, particularly the south, and includes homes built in the decades leading to the American Civil War (In Latin, Antebellum translates to “before-war”).

I recently read an argument claiming Antebellum is a time period, not a style, but for the sake of Fig Newtons, it’s a style. The buildings are big, boxy, adorned with pillars and influenced by ancient Greece. Whenever I see one, I half expect a stranger in a wooden rocking chair to invite me in for sweet tea. The other half of my expectations assumes Zeus lives there.

So, how many columns must a porch have kissing the roof? I never read through the article to find out. My guess is, “enough to keep it from collapsing.” And maybe one short, cute column to hold cookie jars.