The Sunday porch: County Armagh

Bridget and Maynard Sinton at their family home of Ballyards, County Armagh, June 17, 1921, by H. Allison & Co. Photographers, via Public Record Office of Northern Ireland Commons on flickr.

That retractable striped awning emerging from the terrace roof looks very sleek and was brand new.  A ca. 1920 photo of the house in this biography of the children’s father shows the terrace with no cover. (You can read a brief history of awnings here.)

Ballyards was built in 1872 and sold to the father, a linen manufacturer, in 1908. He almost doubled its size and called it “Ballyards Castle.”

The children playing in a sandpile. (This photo has been printed in reverse from the others.)

Maynard was killed in WWII, but Bridget (age 7 in these photos) lived until 1975.

The Sunday porch: Estero, Florida


“Tent house on Koreshan property in Estero, Florida,” 1895, via Koreshan Unity Collection, Florida Memory Commons on flickr (State Library and Archives of Florida).

The Koreshan Unity was a late 19th and early 20th century utopian community whose members believed in a god that was both male and female, as well as in reincarnation, celibacy, collectivism, equality of the sexes, and cellular cosmogony.* It was founded by Cyrus Teed in upstate New York in the 1870s, and later there were also followers in Chicago and San Francisco. In 1894, the community began moving to a donated 320-acre property in Estero, Florida. During the next decade, it purchased over 5,000 additional acres and began building a settlement that “included a sawmill, cement works, bakery, machine shop, general store, art gallery, symphony, theater troupe, plant nursery and more,” according to USA Today. Its population peaked at 250 residents between 1903 and 1908; the majority were well-educated, middle-class women, seven of whom managed the day-to-day affairs of the commune.

When Teed died in 1908 — and his body was not resurrected as he had promised — the commune began to decline; there were 10 members left in 1948. The last Koreshans deeded the site of its village to the state of Florida in 1961. It is now a state park.


*”Among the most interesting beliefs of Koreshan Unity was the cellular cosmogony, or the hollow earth,” according to Florida Memory.  “According to the cellular cosmogony, the earth was not a convex sphere but instead a hollow, concave cell containing the entire universe with the sun at its center and Earth’s populace living on the inside surface of the hollow cell.”

Tokyo, Japan

Horikiri Iris Garden, Tokyo, Japan, June 1926, by Roger Dumas, via Archives of the Planet Collection – Albert Kahn Museum /Départment of Hauts-de-Seine (all photos here).

Horikiri Shobuen is one of the oldest iris gardens in Japan. It was probably created by a local flower farmer, Kodaka Izaemo, in the late 17th century. By the early 19th century, it had become a popular destination for sightseers during the Hanashōbu or Iris ensata bloom-time in early June.

In 1900, there were five iris gardens in the swampy land of Tokyo’s Horikiri district — all producing bulbs for export to Europe and the U.S. However, demand was declining by the time these pictures were taken, and the area’s last two iris gardens converted to vegetable plots during World War II.

In 1960, the site of the Kodaka iris garden was replanted and opened to the public. Today, its 6,000 iris plants — from 200 cultivars — are the focus of an Iris Festival held every year from May 30 to June 18.

The autochromes above are four of about seventy-two thousand that were commissioned and then archived by Albert Kahn, a wealthy French banker and pacifist, between 1909 and 1931. Kahn sent thirteen photographers and filmmakers to fifty countries “to fix, once and for all, aspects, practices, and modes of human activity whose fatal disappearance is no longer ‘a matter of time.'”* The resulting collection is called Archives de la Planète and now resides in its own museum at Kahn’s old suburban estate at Boulogne-Billancourt, just west of Paris. Since June 2016, the archive has also been available for viewing online here.


*words of Albert Kahn, 1912. Also, the above photos (A 55 771 S, A 55 776 S, A 55 775, A 55 772 X) are © Collection Archives de la Planète – Musée Albert-Kahn and used under its terms, here.

The Sunday porch: Cherry Spring, Texas

North (back) side of Rode-Kothe House, Cherry Spring, Gillespie County, Texas, May 29, 1936, by Richard MacAllister for an Historic American Buildings Survey (HABS), via Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division (all three photos).

South (front) side of house.

The HABS says the limestone house was at least partly built in 1855 by German immigrant Dietrich Rode. (He completed it in 1879.) Rode was one of the founders of nearby Fredericksburg, as well as Cherry Spring.  He was also a lay Lutheran minister and a teacher, first in his students’ homes at night and then on the second floor of his ranchhouse shown here.

Detail of front porch.

The house may still stand near Christ Lutheran Church, which Rode helped found, but I cannot find a current picture of it.

The HABS says the building was “[s]ited to dominate its surroundings.”

Zion path

It’s National Trails Day.
Trail, Zion Natl Park, Utah, 1980s, Library of CongressDetail of the West Rim Trail, looking southwest, Zion National Park, Washington County, Utah, 1984, by Clayton B. Fraser, via Historic American Engineering Record, Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.

The trail opened in 1926 and was paved in 1929 with oil mixed with sand and rock.  It was later repaved in concrete, most recently in 2007.

“Built of native stone and associated with the “National Park Service-Rustic” architectural style, the West Rim Trail possesses architectural integrity,” says the Record.  “Rock used in the masonry switchback walls was quarried locally and shaped as little as possible to provide a rough appearance, yet stable construction.”  You can read more here.