The Sunday porch: Washington, D.C.

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Rowhouses,  Southwest Washington, D.C., between 1941 and 1942, by Louise Rosskam, via Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.

The photos show cast iron stoops and steps, which were typical in many D.C. neighborhoods after the city’s building boom of the 1870s.

“Iron was strong, inexpensive to produce, manufactured quickly, and easily assembled with little on-site labor,” according to an interesting pamphlet by the Capitol Hill Restoration Society on the history and care of old cast iron and wrought iron.

“Washington had five foundries in 1870 and fifteen most years from 1895 to 1905,” according to the pamphlet.  Because of the industry’s dependence on water (or rail) connections to obtain raw materials, they “were usually in Georgetown, near the canal terminus, or along Maine Avenue on the Potomac River Waterfront.”

At first, I thought that both of the photographs above were of the same two houses.  Then I realized that the screen doors are different and that the brickwork over the windows is painted white in only one of the pictures.

The narrow open passageway between both sets of houses is interesting.

You can see what the corner of N and Union (now 6th) Streets, S.W., looks like today here.

In the windows of the houses with the children on the steps, you can just see the families’ Blue Star service flags (put your cursor on the slideshow to pause it). They reveal that the family on the left had one son in the war and the family on the right had two. (A gold star on a window flag would indicate that a son had been killed.)

 

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Life in gardens: happy

Smiling woman and baby, 1900, Powerhouse Museum“Portrait of woman with infant,” ca. 1900, probably near Sydney, Australia, via Phillips Glass Plate Negative Collection, Powerhouse Museum Commons on  flickr.

You don’t usually see such smiles in Victorian photos.

In the picture below, you can see a little more of the garden and admire the woman’s beautiful sleeves and collar.

Woman in garden, Sydney Aus., 1900, Powerhouse Museum

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Vintage landscape: Gore Park

Gore Park Fountain, 1920, Hamilton Public LibraryGore Park fountain, 1920, Hamilton, Ontario.  Both photos via Hamilton Public Library Commons on flickr, used by permission.

Gore Park Fountain, 1960s, Hamilton Public LibraryGore Park fountain, 1960s.

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Life in gardens: animal court

Jane Addams Housing fountain, via LoC“Sculpture and children in fountains – Jane Addams Houses,” between 1938 and 1940, Chicago, Illinois, by Peter Sekaer for the U.S. Housing Authority, via Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.

The Jane Addams Homes public housing project was built in 1938 under the New Deal Public Works Administration Act. The “Animal Court” figures were carved from limestone by Edgar Miller.

The sculptures still exist, although the buildings around them were razed in the early 2000s.  As of September 2013, they were in storage awaiting restoration and a new home.  They may eventually return to a place near their old location, as part of a National Public Housing Museum.

There are more photos here, at the blog Playscapes.

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Vintage landscape: lucky ducks

pavilion for ducks, ca. 1900, via Powerhouse Museum“Garden pavilion over a duck [and geese] pond,” ca. 1900, probably New South Wales, Australia, via Phillips Glass Plate Negative Collection, Powerhouse Museum Commons on flickr.

I would love to see the rest of the property.

. . . it is more important for the gardener to be enchanted than for critics to be pleased.

– Henry Mitchell, from The Essential Earthman

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