Pasadena, California

The garden terrace of the Myron Hunt house, 200 North Grand Avenue, Pasadena, California, 1917, a hand-colored glass lantern slide by Frances Benjamin Johnston, via Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.

This looks like such a tranquil and comfortable garden space — while at the same time, just a little mysterious. If you look closely, you can see that there is a simple rope and board swing hanging from a tree limb in the center, and at least one of the chairs is a rocking chair.

Hunt was a successful architect in Southern California in the first half of the 20th century. He designed this house and garden for himself in 1905. Today, the house survives, but the garden is gone.

There is another Johnston image of the garden here, looking across an open garden room to the steps and elevated bust shown above.

Front steps, Finland

Front garden and steps, probably Finland, ca. 1900, by Hugo Simbergvia Finnish National Gallery on flickr (under CC license).

So much activity and anticipation in this shadowy old photo: the three women on the top left are waiting for the appearance of someone at the door.  Below them, a toddler has been left to perch a little precariously on the steps. On the right, a woman with a very large hat and a little girl pose for the camera. Vines everywhere.

(There’s a larger view here.)

Ferntree Gully

A forester’s cottage, Ferntree GullyDandenong Ranges, Victoria, Australia, ca. 1900, a glass lantern slide by Archibald James Campbell, via Museums Victoria Collections.

I like the two log pillars at the bottom of the steps, each topped by a potted plant.

During the 19th century, the forests of the Dandenong mountains were a major source of timber for Melbourne.

Natchez, Mississippi

Myrtle Bank terrace, Natchez, Mississippi, ca. 1900, from the Stewart Photograph Collection,* via Mississippi Department of Archives and History Commons on flickr (both photos).

The two houses shown here are about two blocks from each other, both on N. Pearl Street.

Major Benbrook residence, corner with B Street, ca. 1895, also from the Stewart Collection.

The neighborhood evidently had good water pressure. Both houses still stand.

In ancient Greece, the first hoses (for fire fighting) were made from ox intestines. In the late 17th century, Jan van der Heiden and his son sewed leather into long tubes for Amsterdam’s fire department. Then, in 1821 Boston, James Boyd invented a rubber-lined, cotton-webbed hose. By the 1870s, the first rubber and cotton fiber hoses for gardeners appeared on the market.

In 1895, a garden hose was the subject of what is believed to be the first comedy film, L’Arroseur Arroséby Louis Lumière. You can see it here.


*By brothers Robert Livingston Stewart and William Percy Stewart of Natchez, Mississippi, from ca. 1890 to ca. 1905.

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.