The Sunday porch: Washington, Kentucky

4-collins-davis-hse-kentucky-1982-library-of-congressCollins-Davis House, Main Street, Old Washington, Kentucky, 1982, by Jack Boucher for an Historic American Buildings Survey (HABS), via Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division (all photos here).


This clapboard structure, built in 1875, is the most exuberant interpretation of Gothic Revival architecture in Washington. . . . A mid-western interpretation of Gothic Revival cottage architecture, . . . with three steep gables emphasizing verticality and the porch with stylized Tudor arches drawing attention from the Greek Revival doorway. Notably absent is any vestige of . . . the “gingerbread” often associated with post-Civil War architecture.

HABS, written ca. late 1970s or early 1980s

Looking at Google Maps street view for Old Washington, it appears that the house still exists in good condition.

The Sunday porch: Kalaupapa, Hawaii

1 St. Francis Catholic Church, Kalaupapa, HI, HABS, Library of CongressThe west front of St. Francis Catholic Church, Moloka’i Island, Kalaupapa, Hawaii, July 1991, by Jack E. Boucher for an Historic American Buildings Survey (HABS), via Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division (all photos here).

2 St. Francis Catholic Church, Kalaupapa, HI, HABS, Library of Congress

The church was built in 1908 to serve the Kalaupapa Leprosy Settlement, now part of Kalaupapa National Historical Park.

3 St. Francis Catholic Church, Kalaupapa, HI, HABS, Library of Congress

4 St. Francis Catholic Church, Kalaupapa, HI, HABS, Library of Congress

The word porch — “1250-1300; Middle English porche < Old French < Latin porticus porch, portico” — was originally used to indicate the covered entrance to a church, usually on the south side.

The Sunday porch: view finder

094498pvAbove: View from the porch of the Flanders Callaway House, Warren County, Missouri, 1938, by Charles or Alexander Piaget, working with Charles van Ravenswaay (later incorporated into a 1985 HABS).*

All photos here via Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.

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Above: “View from White House porch [looking north to Lafayette Park],” Washington, D.C., 1920, from National Photo Company Collection. President and Mrs. Wilson introduced sheep to the White House lawn. The wool went to the Red Cross.

The Sunday porch: views, via Library of CongressAbove: View from porch at Shady Rest Sanatorium, White Heath, Illinois, ca. 1920 – 1950, by Theodor Horydczak.

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Above: Looking north from the porch of the Kolb-Pou-Newton House [or Boxwood], Madison, Georgia, June 1936, by L. D. Andrew for HABS.

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Above: View of garden from the porch – Oakland Plantation, Natchitoches Parish, Louisiana, ca. 1988, by HABS.

095350pvAbove: Mr. and Mrs. J. H. Dickbrader and Mr. Arcularius on the porch of the Dickbrader House, Franklin County, Missouri, by  HABS.

150293pvAbove: John Calvin Owings House, Laurens, South Carolina, by HABS.

The Sunday porch: views, via Library of CongressAbove: View from the veranda of the Billings Farm and Museum to Blake Hill, Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historical Park, Woodstock, Vermont, 2001, by David W. Haas for HABS.

014310pvAbove: Porch of Smithcliffs House, North Coast Highway, Laguna Beach, California, by HABS.

207863pvAbove: “View from north porch, looking northeast toward Fort George River – Kingsley Plantation House,” Jacksonville, Florida, 1005, by Jack Boucher for HABS.

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Above: “View from north porch looking south into Back Hall, with Reception Hall south door open [and closed] – Homewood (cropped slightly by me),” Baltimore, Maryland, 2005, by James W. Rosenthal for HABS.

*Historic American Building Survey


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.