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.

Life in gardens: sowing

Gardeners at the 1936 White Hse., Library of Congress“Grounds workers at White House, Washington, D.C.,” March 1936, by Harris & Ewing, via Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division. (You can click on the photo to enlarge it.)

The National Park Service has maintained the White House gardens since 1933.

. . . [W]hile lawns are cultural (in the sense that they are meaning-laden), they are not the product of some pre-existing “culture,” and are instead the meaningful expression of political and economic forces. . . . Lawns are propelled into the landscape both by economic imperatives (e.g., real estate growth) and also by intentional and thoughtful efforts to produce certain kinds of subjects. Lawns are a strategy, therefore, both for capital accumulation and making docile and responsible citizens.

— Paul Robbins, from Lawn People: How Grasses, Weeds, and Chemicals Make Us Who We Are (p. 32)

Chatham Manor

I’m still traveling, so most of my next posts will be of vintage photos that have caught my interest in the last month. They are from the Carnegie Survey of the Architecture of the South (at the Library of Congress).

Thanks to all who have commented on posts lately. I’m sorry that I can’t answer everyone individually right now.

In 1927, photographer Frances Benjamin Johnston was commissioned by Helen Devore to photograph her estate, Chatham Manor, which she had restored.

Documenting the house and its gardens led Johnston to undertake the Carnegie Survey of the South during the late 1920s and all of the 1930s.

Chatham was built between 1768 and 1771 and overlooks the Rappahanock River near Fredericksburg, Virginia. It has the distinction of having hosted both George Washington and Abraham Lincoln for overnight stays.

After a nearby civil war battle in 1862, it was used as a hospital, and Walt Whitman and Clara Barton nursed wounded soldiers there.

December 1862 photo via Wikipedia.org and The National Archives.

It is now owned by the National Park Service and is open to the public.


Click on any thumbnail below to scroll through 23 enlarged photos of Chatham. Excepted where otherwise captioned, all are by Frances Benjamin Johnston via the Carnegie Survey of the South collection of the Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.