Vintage landscape: summer shimmer

Vintage landscape/enclos*ure: woman and child, Arnold Genthe“Woman and child in a field in front of a white house,” an autochrome taken between 1906 and 1942, by Arnold Genthe, via Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.

“If an autochrome was well made and has been well preserved, color values can be very good,” according to the Wikipedia entry on this early color photography technique.

“The dyed starch grains are somewhat coarse, giving a hazy, pointillist effect, with faint stray colors often visible, especially in open light areas such as skies. The smaller the image, the more noticeable these effects are. The resulting “dream-like” impressionist quality may have been one reason behind the enduring popularity of the medium even after more starkly realistic color processes had become available.”

. . . The trees rustle
and whisper, shimmer and hiss.

Amy Gerstler, from “Bon Courage

Vintage landscape: New Orleans

Vintage landscape/enclos*ure: Ursuline Convent, New Orleans, Library of Congress“Doorway and courtyard of the Ursuline Convent, New Orleans,” between 1920 and 1926, by Arnold Genthe, via Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.

The Old Ursuline Convent was completed in 1753 in a French Colonial style.  It may be one of the oldest buildings in the Mississippi Valley. It was a convent only until the 1820s, however, when the nuns turned it over to the Bishop of New Orleans and moved to a larger place in Treme.

At the time of this photo, the building was a rectory for the adjoining church of St. Mary’s, the home parish for the area’s many Italian immigrants.  Today, it is part of the Catholic Cultural Heritage Center of the Archdiocese of New Orleans.

The Sunday porch: iron lace

The Sunday porch/enclos*ure: iron lace in New Orleans“A vista through iron lace, New Orleans,” ca. 1920-26, by Arnold Genthe, via Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.

This is a covered third floor balcony, and it has a wonderful view of the back of St. Louis Cathedral in the French Quarter.

The 1836 house still stands* — wrought iron intact — at 716 Orleans Street. It is now light pink with dark green shutters and is known as the Le Pretre Mansion, for one of its first owners.

It was on the market as recently as this past April — for $2.65 million.  Here’s a 1937 photo of the entire house.

An exotic horror/ghost story goes with the mansion:

In the 19th century, a Turk, supposedly the brother of a sultan, arrived in New Orleans and rented the house. He was conspicuously wealthy, with an entourage of servants and beautiful young girls — all thought to have been stolen from the sultan.

Rumors quickly spread about the situation, even as the home became the scene of lavish high-society parties. One night screams came from inside; the next morning, neighbors entered to find the tenant and the young beauties lying dead in a pool of blood. The mystery remains unsolved. Local ghost experts say you can sometimes hear exotic music and piercing shrieks.

— “Walking Tour in New Orleans,” Frommer’s(.com)

The Sunday porch/enclos*ure: iron lace in New OrleansThe view above, from the same balcony, looking northeast on Orleans Street, was photographed in 1936, by Richard Koch for a Historic American Buildings Survey, via Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.

The Sunday porch/enclos*ure: iron lace in New OrleansThis privacy panel along the second floor balcony of the service wing, overlooking the courtyard, is interesting too. Photo also by Richard Koch for HABS.

Vintage landscape: take water, add children

Before air conditioning, water was the best remedy for hot summer weather.

The children in the photos just above and below were enjoying a public fountain in Washington, D.C., in the summer of 1912.

The fountain is the Peace Monument on the U.S. Capitol grounds.

Below are children in a public pool in Washington, D.C., also in 1912.

All of the above four photos were taken by Harris & Ewing.

The three photos below of bathers in Rock Creek Park were taken by the National Photo Company between 1920 and 1932.

The photo label for the above picture is “Women and children find some relief by wading in the creek on one of the hottest days in the history of the Capital. Snapped in Rock Creek Park today.”

The highest temperature recorded for Washington, D.C., was 106°F, in 1918 and 1930. The city just missed matching the old record yesterday, only reaching 105°F.

Below are children playing in an “old swimming hole” in the Washington, D.C., area. The photo was taken by Theodor Horydczak between 1920 and 1950.

The photo below shows a group of proper young ladies at the free public baths, Harriet Island, St. Paul, Minnesota.  It was taken by the Detroit Publishing Co. around 1905.

How hard to be so dressed up at the lake!

Below are children playing with a rope at a beach, possibly at Atlantic City, New Jersey.  The photo was taken between 1890 and 1910 by the Detroit Publishing Co.

The lure of water in a fountain during hot weather is universal. Below are children in Japan or Korea in 1908. The photo was taken by Arnold Genthe.

All images via Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.  Click on any photo to enlarge it.