Tokyo, Japan

Horikiri Iris Garden, Tokyo, Japan, June 1926, by Roger Dumas, via Archives of the Planet Collection – Albert Kahn Museum /Département des Hauts-de-Seine (all photos here).

Horikiri Shobuen is one of the oldest iris gardens in Japan. It was probably created by a local flower farmer, Kodaka Izaemo, in the late 17th century. By the early 19th century, it had become a popular destination for sightseers during the Hanashōbu or Iris ensata bloom-time in early June.

In 1900, there were five iris gardens in the swampy land of Tokyo’s Horikiri district — all producing bulbs for export to Europe and the U.S. However, demand was declining by the time these pictures were taken, and the area’s last two iris gardens converted to vegetable plots during World War II.

In 1960, the site of the Kodaka iris garden was replanted and opened to the public. Today, its 6,000 iris plants — from 200 cultivars — are the focus of an Iris Festival held every year from May 30 to June 18.

The autochromes above are four of about seventy-two thousand that were commissioned and then archived by Albert Kahn, a wealthy French banker and pacifist, between 1909 and 1931. Kahn sent thirteen photographers and filmmakers to fifty countries “to fix, once and for all, aspects, practices, and modes of human activity whose fatal disappearance is no longer ‘a matter of time.'”* The resulting collection is called Archives de la Planète and now resides in its own museum at Kahn’s old suburban estate at Boulogne-Billancourt, just west of Paris. Since June 2016, the archive has also been available for viewing online here.


*words of Albert Kahn, 1912. Also, the above photos (A 55 771 S, A 55 776 S, A 55 775, A 55 772 X) are © Collection Archives de la Planète – Musée Albert-Kahn and used under its terms, here.

The Sunday porch: Breitenbush

Foot bath, Oregon, OSU Archives“Bruckman’s Breitenbush Springs Foot Bath, Breitenbush, Oregon,” ca. 1937, via OSU Special Collections & Archives Commons on flickr.

Ah, come on folks. . . take off those shoes.

2 Foot bath, Oregon, OSU Archive

Like these guys. (Tie removal optional)

Merle Bruckman bought the property around the Breitenbush hot springs in 1927 and turned it into a wilderness health spa. He sold it in the mid-1950s, and the operation changed hands a few more times before closing in 1972 after two large floods.

In 1981, it re-opened as a retreat and conference center — owned by its workers since 1989.

The Sunday porch: rustic pavilion

Rustic building, Philadelphia, Library Company of PhiladelphiaThis whimsical shelter was located on a ridge in Philadelphia overlooking the Schuylkill River.  It was “one of the thatch-roof rustic pavilions installed at the [Fairmount Water Works] between 1864-1866 as a decorative improvement,” according to the website Philadelphia Architects and Buildings.

The photo, via Library Company of Philadelphia Commons on flickr, is dated ca. 1870.

In the lower left corner of the picture, you can just see one of the water work’s Classical Revival buildings at the river’s edge below. They housed and disguised the pumping equipment of the city’s water supply system from 1815 until 1911.

I love the birdhouses near the top of the pavilion’s roof.

The little buildings seem to have been replaced during the 20th century by white gazebos more closely matching the style of the other water works buildings, which now house a restaurant and interpretive center.