I agree with Wayne. It very well may not be the original posts but replacements (just too short). What I was once told by an old, experienced Master carpenter and builder was. Posts like those are not to hold the roof up but rather “down”. To prevent lift as most of the homes today have trusses that hold the roof up, that and as Wayne said…decoration and looks. All that from just one photo. I wasn’t there on site. Was the porch roof sagging?
An inspection tip: Check for a line where the top of the concrete porch pour was. It may be very faint, but it’ll be there. And it’ll indicate that the concrete porch settled, and took the decorative post with it.
Here’s a typical series of pics I take of a porch. Far away pics, with a few close-ups. Digital pictures are free. And so, the more the better.
The slab supporting the posts has settled due to poor compaction at the time of original construction. Probably happened in the first few years after it was built. Settling is finished. Those posts are very common. They’re hollow, laminated columns not designed to be structural. What Ben said about the wrapped structural beam.
There was not other visible signs of settlment anywhere. You would think if the front porch slab settled it would show up at the edges or where it was poured against the brick veneer. But nothing else showed any signs or symptoms. I know its not load bearing but it sure is strange.
Had similar posts on a home only the base was loose. They would flop around and bang against like a metal rod on the interior, but they were hollow. No sagging of the porch roof or structure. Two of the three were loose and floppy at the base. These were the only ones I have ever seen like it!! they looked like standard 4X posts, but were hollow!! Seen other decorative posts like it though!