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.

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.

Life in gardens: a capital view

field trip, WashDC, 1899, FB Johnston, Library of CongressThird grade school pupils on field trip, standing on the west terrace of the U.S. Capitol Building, Washington, D.C.,” ca. 1899, by Frances Benjamin Johnston, via Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.

In 1899, Johnston became interested in progressive education and made a photo survey of students at public schools in Washington, D.C.

The Sunday porch: le bricolage

Terrace and canvas cover, France, Bibliotheque de Toulouse, flickr“Famille attablée sur la terrasse, ombragée par une bâche,” (family at a table on a terrace, shaded by a tarp) ca. 1890 – ca. 1910, by Eugène Trutat*, via Bibliothèque de Toulouse (cropped slightly by me).


*I was skeptical about the photographer because Trutat died in 1910, and the women on the left appear to be in the shorter dresses of the 1920s or 30s. However, they could be wearing the bathing suits of around 1900.