The Sunday porch: North Philadelphia

“Middle class row house [stoops] in Black neighborhood of North Philadelphia,” August 1973, by Dick Swanson (his caption) for DOCUMERICA via U.S. National Archives Commons on flickr.

Swanson took this picture for DOCUMERICA, a 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: Newport, R.I.

Wakehurst, Newport, RI, 1950s, via Library of Congress:The Sunday porch-enclos*urePorch at the residence of Margaret Brugiere, Wakehurst, in Newport, Rhode Island, August 6, 1958, by Gottscho-Schleisner, Inc., via Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.

The house was built in 1887 by James J. Van Alen as an exact replica of 16th century Wakehurst Place in West Sussex, England.

Margaret, or “Daisy,” Brugiere was Van Alen’s daughter-in-law (widowed and remarried), and she kept the place going in a high style until her death in 1969.

At some point, the family must have wanted the comforts of an American porch and created one with awning.  Its interior style seems inspired by Naples — both the city in Italy and the one in Florida.

Wakehurst porch, Newport, RI, 1950s, via Library of Congress:The Sunday porch-enclos*ure

The property exists today as the student center for Salve Regina University.

The Sunday porch: Montana

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

W. C. Child Ranch, near Helena, Montana, ca. 1890,* from an Historic American Building Survey (HABS), via Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.

Mr. Child became rich from prospecting in Montana. He built this octagonal house on his 3,000-acre ranch in the late 1880s.

However, he used it not as a home, but as a party space.  (The whole second floor was a ballroom.) He and his friends — sometimes over 100 — would take the Northern Pacific train from nearby Helena for banquets and dances lasting late into the night.

By 1893, Child was broke and had to assign the ranch to another man.  He was found dead in the house a month later.

Child called the ranch “White Face Farm” for the Hereford cattle he raised there, and he built Montana’s largest barn to protect them during the winters. There are more details here.

The house and barn still exist as a special events center called Kleffner Ranch. *Both HABS pictures here were photocopies of original photographs; the originals are in the collection of the Historical Society of Montana.