Porches were an essential part of social life. I remember quite well most every evening people in towns would go for a walk, while those who were unable or too tired to walk, as well as the most loved members of the community, would sit on their porches.
As they walked by people would greet anyone out on their porch (usually every porch was occupied in good weather--and especially hot weather). If you wished to speak with anyone, you simply walked up and sat on their porch or porch steps and would then gab for as long as you wished.
Porches were the center of social life and a necessity for belonging to the community.
Sadly, it ended abruptly when televisions came into homes.