Greenhills, Ohio

They might want to keep an eye on what’s going on behind them.

Swingset at Greenhills, Ohio, ca. 1938, probably by John Vachon for the U.S. Farm Security Administration, via Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.

Greenhills, Ohio, was one of three “Greenbelt Towns” built between 1935 and 1938 by the U.S. Resettlement Administration. (The other two are Greenbelt, Maryland, and Greendale, Wisconsin.) There are more Library of Congress photos of Greenhills here.

Van Ness Park

A repeat post of 2013. . .
Van Ness Park, 1880, Washington, D.C.“Two people relaxing in Van Ness Park about 1880,” Washington, D.C.,  via D.C. Public Library Commons on flickr.

This park was not located in the present-day neighborhood known as Van Ness.  The photo was taken in an area southwest of the White House near the corner of C and 18th Sts., N.W. — which was then known informally as “Van Ness Park.”

According to the Library’s notation on the photo, the building that can be seen in the middle of the far right side (above the man’s legs) is a “dependency of Van Ness Mansion.”

Van Ness House (Mansion) and its grounds were located on the block bordered by 17th and 18th Sts. and  C St. and Constitution Ave.  Built about 1816, the Greek Revival house was one of the finest in the city until the Civil War.  But afterwards, it served as a “German beer garden, florist’s nursery, headquarters of the city streetcleaners, and in the end, for the Columbia Athletic Club,” according to the blog Lost Washington.

The college that became George Washington University bought the property in 1903 but later decided that its location was too unhealthy for campus facilities.  At that time, the Potomac River and its marshes came up to B St., now Constitution Ave.

The State Department bought it in 1907, tore down the house, and built the Pan American Union (today OAS) Building.

I think the dependency in the photo is the old stable of the estate, which still exists at C and 18th Sts.  If that’s so, the couple may be lounging in what is now Bolivar Park.

According to the blog DC Ghosts, the stables have a connection to a local ghost story in which six white horses “run wildly around the grounds” and then group together to walk to the P St. Bridge crossing to Georgetown and Oak Hill Cemetery.  The full story is here.

It is good to be alone in a garden at dawn or dark so that all its shy presences may haunt you and possess you in a reverie of suspended thought.

— James Douglas, Down Shoe Lane

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.

The Sunday porch: County Armagh

Bridget and Maynard Sinton at their family home of Ballyards, County Armagh, June 17, 1921, by H. Allison & Co. Photographers, via Public Record Office of Northern Ireland Commons on flickr.

That retractable striped awning emerging from the terrace roof looks very sleek and was brand new.  A ca. 1920 photo of the house in this biography of the children’s father shows the terrace with no cover. (You can read a brief history of awnings here.)

Ballyards was built in 1872 and sold to the father, a linen manufacturer, in 1908. He almost doubled its size and called it “Ballyards Castle.”

The children playing in a sandpile. (This photo has been printed in reverse from the others.)

Maynard was killed in WWII, but Bridget (age 7 in these photos) lived until 1975.

Life in gardens: tree swing

Blue Gums, Sydney, Powerhouse MuseumBlue gums,” probably in the Riverina area of New South Wales, Australia, ca. 1900, by Charles Kerry & Co., via Tyrrell Photographic Collection, Powerhouse Museum Commons on flickr.

Despite the original label, the large trees are “probably river red gums (Eucalyptus camaldulensis),” according to a note about the photo by the Museum.

Click on the photo for a larger view.