Tag Archives: lilac

The Sunday porch: Ste. Genevieve, Mo.

The Sunday porch:enclos*ure- 1934 J. B. Valle Hse, Mo., HABS, Library of CongressThe Jean Baptiste Valle House from the southeast, Sainte Genevieve,  Missouri, April 10, 1934, by Alexander Piaget, via Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.

The town of Ste. Genevieve is the oldest permanent European settlement in Missouri — established about 1735 by French Canadian colonists. Today, its National Historic Landmark District has a number of surviving late 18th century and early 19th century homes.

The Jean Baptiste Valle house was built between 1785 and 1796 by Valle and his wife, Jeanne Barbeau.

The Sunday porch:enclos*ure- 1934 J. B. Valle Hse, Mo., S.W. view, HABS, Library of CongressA view of the southwest corner (same photographer and date as above).

The house has an “interrupted French colonial gallery” porch on all sides.

The Sunday porch:enclos*ure- cropped 1985 plan of J. B. Valle Hse, Mo., HABS, Library of CongressA plan of the property drawn in 1985 for HABS. The site is about 200′ x 250′.

The Sunday porch:enclos*ure- 1934 J. B. Valle Hse, Mo., N.W. view, HABS, Library of CongressA view of the garden from the interior of the west-side porch (seen on the left side of the second photo above), 1933, photographer not noted.

This section of porch connected a back bedroom and the kitchen.

These pictures from the 1930s were part of photographic surveys of early Missouri sites made by Alexander and Paul Piaget and Charles von Ravenswaay. In 1984, their work was donated to the Historic American Buildings Survey (HABS) collection of the Library of Congress (all photos here via the LoC).

1934-The Sunday porch:enclos*ure-  J. B. Valle Hse, Mo., HABS, Library of CongressA view of the flower garden on the north side of the house, April 10, 1934, by Piaget.

Spring 1934-The Sunday porch:enclos*ure-  J. B. Valle Hse, Mo., HABS, Library of CongressLilac along a pathway.

The photo above and the two below are not dated, but also seem to have been taken in April 1934. The steps went into the kitchen pantry.

probably April 1934-The Sunday porch:enclos*ure-  J. B. Valle Hse, Mo., HABS, Library of CongressThe garden was laid out in 1867.

probably 1934-The Sunday porch:enclos*ure-  J. B. Valle Hse, Mo., HABS, Library of Congress

1985-The Sunday porch:enclos*ure-  J. B. Valle Hse, Mo., HABS, Library of CongressAn undated view of the garden entrance “at side.”

West side, 1985-The Sunday porch:enclos*ure-  J. B. Valle Hse, Mo., HABS, Library of CongressThe west garden and porch in 1986, by Jack Boucher for HABS. Additional images and information were added to this property’s survey in 1985 and 86.

Today, the house is not open to the public. However, in 2013, it was sold to the National Society of the Colonial Dames to ensure its preservation.

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In which I discover a new word           and an old garden

A west window of Thomas Jefferson's Poplar Forest revealing a view of the curtilage. Photo by Jack E. Boucher, via Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.

Curtilage –a piece of ground (as a yard or courtyard) within the fence surrounding a house.  Origin: Middle English, from Anglo-French curtillage, from curtil garden, curtilage, from curt court.  First known use: 14th century. — Merriam-Webster Dictionary

A bit more: a cortil was ‘little yard’ in Old French: cort + il (diminutive suffix).  A ‘cortile’ (in English, in architecture) is an internal courtyard of a palazzo.

As a legal term, curtilage means the land immediately surrounding a residence that “harbors the intimate activity associated with the sanctity of a man’s home and the privacies of life.” In U.S. law, it is important for dealing with cases involving burglary, self defense, and unreasonable searches and seizures under the Fourth Amendment.

I came across the word while reading the website of Poplar Forest, Thomas Jefferson’s second home and getaway (I remembered something about it after Apartment Therapy posted a slideshow of presidential retreats).  Its curtilage originally included an octagonal house (possibly the first in America), orchards, ornamental and vegetable gardens, and slave quarters. It was surrounded by a ‘snake’ or ‘worm’ stacked-rail fence, as well as fields of tobacco and wheat.

Because little visual evidence of Jefferson’s plantings remain, the 61-acre area is being reconstructed through archeology and research of his papers. Letters do indicate that a sunken garden behind the house contained “lilacs, Althaeas, g[u]elder roses, Roses, and clianthus.”

At Poplar Forest, Jefferson was working from a concept of “an ornamental villa retreat within an isolated agricultural setting.” He was thinking of ancient Roman villas, as they were reinterpreted in the 16th century by Andrea Palladio.

The estate is located in Forest, Virginia, near Lynchburg.

The top photo was taken as part of a 1985 Historic American Buildings Survey.

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