Category Archives: design

The Sunday porch: grandstand

India House, 1880s, Nantucket Historical Association“India House. A yard filled with diversions, ca. 1880s,” Nantucket, Massachusetts, via Nantucket Historical Association Commons on flickr.

India House, detail, 1880s, Nantucket Historical Association

Detail. These two families were very well equipped to enjoy their summer vacation.

You can click on either photo to enlarge it. I particularly like the striped skirts on the two older girls.

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Vintage landscape: dahlias

Dahlias at Agricultural Show, 1911, Library of Congress“Agriculture Department Dahlia Show,” probably Washington, D.C., 1911, by Harris & Ewing, via Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.

The Dahlia’s first duty in life is to flaunt and swagger and to carry gorgeous blooms well above its leaves, and on no account to hang its head.

— Gertrude Jekyll

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Life in gardens: tea stop

Tea and bicycle, ca. 1900, Univ. of Washington Libraries“Two women with bicycle,” Hoquiam, Washington, photographer unknown, via University of Washington Libraries Commons on flickr.

Modern and stylish, ca. 1900.   That’s an interesting device for keeping the kettle warm.

Young women of that time must have been pretty desperate to get out on their own — to bicycle in corsets, puffy high-necked blouses, and large hats.

Beautiful, thick vines on the porch behind them. (You can click on the photo to enlarge it.)

. . .Tell, tell your griefs ; attentive will I stay,
Tho’ time is precious, and I want some tea.

— Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, from “Thursday; the Bassette- Table

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Vintage landscape: cabbage

Cabbage portrait, Mississippi Dept. of History and ArchivesCrystal Springs, Mississippi, between 1900 and 1950, via Luther Hamilton Photograph Collection, Mississippi Department of Archives and History Commons on flickr.

The almost 1,000 photos in this collection were taken or collected by the Luther Myles Hamiltons — Sr. and Jr. — during the first half of the 20th century.  They document life in and around the farm town of Crystal Springs.  

Luther Sr. was a portraitist, and his pictures of the babies, children, and women on this page are lovely.

Many of the farm fields in the suburbs of Stuttgart are blue with rows of cabbages right now.  I will try to get a photo before the harvest.

The stump of the newborn
dries in the crook of my arm.
I am the witch, cradling
the pale green head,
murmuring, “Little one,
you look good enough to eat.”

Lisel Mueller, from “Found in the Cabbage Patch

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The Birkenkopf, Stuttgart

This mountain, piled up after World War II from the rubble of the city, stands as a memorial to the victims and a warning to the living.
— plaque at Birkenkopf

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Allied bombing raids on Stuttgart during World War II  destroyed at least 45% of the city, including nearly all the city center.*

In the mid-1950s, 1.5 million cubic meters of the resulting rubble were moved to a hill in the southwest of the city — raising it by about 40 meters and making it the highest point in central Stuttgart.

This is the Birkenkopf or Rubble Hill, which we visited two weekends ago.  It is sometimes also called Monte Scherbelino or Mount Shards.

A wide spiraling asphalt path leads walkers, runners, and cyclists up through the woods that have grown over the debris. At the summit, a semi-circular berm of broken concrete and ornamental stonework forms a terrace or shallow amphitheater facing a spectacular view of the city.

There are many post-WWII rubble hills (aka Schuttberge or Trümmerberge) in Germany.  London has some as well, and there’s an interesting essay about this kind of ‘made ground’ (“a sort of spatial redistribution of violence”) here.

I have not been able to find the name of the company or person who directed the design of the Stuttgart hilltop area.

You can watch a beautiful short video of the Birkenkopf from the air hereIf you visit Stuttgart, you can reach the site via the no. 92 bus from the Rotebühlplatz U-bahn stop.

To scroll through larger versions of the slides above, click on ‘Continue reading’ below and then on any thumbnail in the gallery.

Roofless walls
Rooks overlook
I told you so
Babbles the brook

Samuel Menashe, from “Ruins

*Over 4,500 people on the ground and 2,400 Allied aircrew (300 planes) are estimated to have died during the Stuttgart attacks, according to Wikipedia. The city had important industrial resources and several military bases and was a railway hub for the southwest.

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