Frozen in vines

C. Highsmith cabin with vines, LoC 2Monroe County, Alabama, May 2010, by Carol M. Highsmith, via The George F. Landegger Collection of Alabama Photographs in Carol M. Highsmith’s America, Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.

The infrared treatment of the late spring scene gives it a wintery appearance.

Highsmith has specialized in photographing America’s architectural heritage. She has donated the rights to her work to the Library of Congress for copyright free access for all.

A little more. . .

"Purple Martin gourd bird nests in rural Alabama," 2010, by Carol Highsmith via Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.
Purple martin gourd nests in Alabama, 2010, by Carol Highsmith, via Library of Congress.

About purple martins (see Tuesday’s post, “gourds and cans”): they have become entirely dependent on humans for nests in which to breed along the North American east coast.

Susie at pbmGarden sent me the link to a short (about 8 mins.) NPR documentary about the songbirds and the threats they face in the modern world (the fault is partly in Shakespeare).

Check it out here: “The Mystery of the Missing Martins” by Adam Cole

The Sunday porch: Petworth rowhouses

. . . . . Houses in rows
Patient as cows.

— Robert Pinsky, from “City Elegies — III. House Hour

Petworth rowhousesRows of houses in the Petworth neighborhood, Washington, D.C., ca. 1920-1950, by Theodor Horydczak, via Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.

Petworth was farm and forest until the 1880s when the land was purchased for development.  In the 1920s and 30s, thousands of rowhouses were built, many of them in a style popularized by developer Harry Wardman (from 1907) — with its distinctive elevated front porch and tiny front yard.

Wardman-style rowhousesAbove:  Petworth rowhouses on Shepherd St., 2010, by Carol Highsmith, via Library of Congress.

“The porches [were] a big part of growing up in Petworth.  On my block there had to be 15 or 20 kids, and you’d come home from school, get on the porch, and look down the block, and you could see this long row of porches, and you’d see everybody coming out of their house. The porches made you get to know your neighbors, they made it a neighborhood.”

— A Petworth resident in the 1940s, quoted in the Washington City Paper

Wardman built his front porch rowhouses in large parts of northwest Washington, and several other developers copied them all over D.C.

Petworth was named a “Best Old House Neighborhood of 2013” by the magazine This Old House.

back yards and laundryAbove: backyards of rowhouses, neighborhood not noted, Washington, D.C., July 1939, by David Myers, via Library of Congress.

At the backs of Wardman-style rowhouses were screened sleeping porches (top) and kitchen porches (bottom).

Petworth resident Annette L. Olson decided to install a green roof on the top of her rowhouse front porch.  She wrote about the process for the “Where We Live” column of The Washington Post here.

Necropolis de Colon, Havana

Necropolis de Colon, Havana, by C. Highsmith, 2010

“Necropolis de Colon, Havana, Cuba,” 2010, by Carol Highsmith, via the Highsmith Archive, Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.

Necropolis de Colon, Havana, by C. Highsmith, 2010.

The Cementerio de Cristóbal Colón [Christopher Columbus] was founded in 1876. The 140-acre cemetery is located in the Vedado neighbourhood of Havana, Cuba, and holds more than 500 family vaults, mausoleums, and chapels.

Carol M. Highsmith is a contemporary photographer who has specialized in documenting architecture and landscape — high and low — in all 50 American states.  Her influences are Frances Benjamin Johnston and Dorothea Lange. You can read more about her life here.

Highsmith is donating her life’s work — more than 100,000 images — copyright-free to the Library of Congress. Many of her images are printed in the distinctive black and white style shown here.

A garden should make you feel you’ve entered privileged space – a place not just set apart but reverberant – and it seems to me that, to achieve this, the gardener must put some kind of twist on the existing landscape, turn its prose into something nearer poetry.

Michael Pollan