Three deckers first began to appear in Boston just before the turn of the 20th century. Based on the construction principles of three decker ships, three deckers are designed to maximize living space on rectangular city lots and were built so that the apartments, stacked one atop another, extended back into the lot, with rooms opening up one on to the other.
The fronts of the houses featured stacked porches between columns, purposely created to encourage the owners of the properties to take advantage of the fresh air. Houses were constructed with windows designed to cross-ventilate the structure during long, humid city summers. Many triple deckers also had back porches as well, giving the families who lived in them even more outside space.