The Sunday porch: Richmond, Va.

West Clay Street rowhouses, Richmond, Virginia, ca. 1978, by John G. Zehmer, via VCU (Virginia Commonwealth University) Libraries Commons on flickr.

These three late Italianate houses with Eastlake-style ornamental woodwork were built between 1885 and 1890 on the former formal garden of the 1832 Addolph Dill house* —  a corner of which can just be seen on the left side of the picture.

Clay Street is part of the Jackson Ward Historic District. These houses still stand and still have the same beautiful woodwork.  The very little street tree shown above on the right now shades more than all the space shown in the photo.


*Until 2016, it was the Richmond Black History Museum.

The Sunday porch: Houston, Texas

Mexican-American home in Houston, Texas, April 1973, by Danny Lyon for the DOCUMERICA project, via The U.S. National Archives Commons on flickr (all three photos here).

Lyon made a series of 21 black and white photographs in East Texas in 1973. “They document the environments remaining from the 19th century in terms of architecture, commerce and lifestyles,” according to their original captions. “The pictures also compare the contemporary city showing displacement of the unique by the ordinary and noting current urban problems.”

Above: houses in the Fifth Ward, Houston. Click on the images to enlarge them.

DOCUMERICA was an photography program of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). From 1972 to 1977, it hired over 100 photographers to “document subjects of environmental concern.” They created an archive of about 80,000 images.

In addition to recording damage to the nation’s landscapes, the project captured “the era’s trends, fashions, problems, and achievements,” according to the Archives, which held an exhibit of the photos, “Searching for the Seventies,” in 2013.

The Sunday porch: Cherry Spring, Texas

North (back) side of Rode-Kothe House, Cherry Spring, Gillespie County, Texas, May 29, 1936, by Richard MacAllister for an Historic American Buildings Survey (HABS), via Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division (all three photos).

South (front) side of house.

The HABS says the limestone house was at least partly built in 1855 by German immigrant Dietrich Rode. (He completed it in 1879.) Rode was one of the founders of nearby Fredericksburg, as well as Cherry Spring.  He was also a lay Lutheran minister and a teacher, first in his students’ homes at night and then on the second floor of his ranchhouse shown here.

Detail of front porch.

The house may still stand near Christ Lutheran Church, which Rode helped found, but I cannot find a current picture of it.

The HABS says the building was “[s]ited to dominate its surroundings.”

The Sunday porch: Montgomery, Alabama

“Early dwelling, 222 S. Perry St.,” Montgomery, Alabama, 1939, by Frances Benjamin Johnstonvia Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.

The porch woodwork pattern is echoed in the little attic windows. Click to enlarge.

A huge vine is growing beside the steps, but it seems to go up into the tree on the left, rather than onto the porch.

The sidewalk is tiled in a simple geometric pattern. The effect, with the arches of the porch and basement windows, is a little Moroccan/Andalusian.

The house no longer stands.

The Sunday porch: Minden, Louisiana

The home of George and Rosa Lee Woodbridge, Minden, Louisiana, ca. 1907, via Tyrrell Historical Library (Beaumont, Texas) Commons on flickr.

A definite “best in vines” contender. I also like the trio of potted plants in the upper window and the decorative woodwork at the tops of the columns. (You may want to click on the photo for a better look.)

Detail of above.

George Woodbridge was a Presbyterian minister, and Rosa Lee was a former teacher. She died in the house in 1907, age 41.

Johnny and Edgar Winter, blues and rock musicians, are the direct descendants of Rosa Lee’s sister, Sarah.