“Artist’s uptown residence,” New York City, ca. 1860, via Robert Dennis Collection of Stereoscopic Views, New York Public Library.
Upper Manhattan at this time was rapidly transforming from country to city — as villages and small farms became blocks of middle-class rowhouses. This backyard, with its neat latticed sitting area and then large cabbage garden, seems to encapsulate the change.
Unfortunately, we don’t have the name of the artist or the address. Is he one of the two men in top hats sitting by the door, or was she standing in front of them, balancing a small boy on the fence — or maybe taking the picture?
Five adults and two children at wooden tables beneath the large trees of Pressler’s Beer Garden, Austin, Texas, between 1890 and 1910, by Samuel B. Hill, via Austin Public Library and The Portal to Texas History (University of North Texas Libraries).
Pressler’s (originally a brewery) was located at 1327 West 6th Street for more than 30 years, closing in 1910. Its grounds featured a concert hall and dance pavilion, “ornamental shrubbery, arbors, and a fountain. . . . a boating ramp, a shooting club, and an alligator pond.” Pressler’s also hosted the German-American Austin Garten Association one Sunday every month.
The city had at least five biergartens at the time of the photo above. “Austin’s beer gardens of the 19th century were tightly woven into the fabric of local social life,” according to an interesting article in The Austin Chronicle, “Gardens of Eden.” “They were convivial places, patronized by both men and women, their families, and children.” They were particularly loved for their musical performances.
Today, only Scholz Garten remains — the oldest operating business in Texas.
I love this photo by Russell Lee, * of a May 1942 Turlock, California, backyard. (Unfortunately, it’s not very sharply focused.) The caption, possibly by the photographer, reads:
Housewife waters the lawn. All garden furniture and barbecue pit were made by her husband; about one out of every three houses in this town has such an arrangement in the backyard, and during the summer months people eat and spend many hours in their yards.