The Sunday porch: luncheon

The Sunday porch:enclos*ure- cozy porch interior, ca. 1900, via Library of Congress“Man and woman eating at table on front porch of row house,” Washington, D.C., 1924, by National Photo Company, via Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.

I’m sure that this photo was taken to illustrate an advertisement for the maker of that tub of cottage cheese on the table.  (I can’t make out the name of the dairy company.)

You can click on the picture to enlarge it — then you can see that the couple are drinking their milk from wine glasses.

The location could have been in any one of several northwest D.C. neighborhoods — so popular in the city was the Wardman-style of rowhouse by the 1920s.

ADDENDUM:  I found another photo of the same couple, here, having a picnic lunch in Rock Creek Park — again with plenty of cottage cheese.

The Sunday porch: behind Randolph Street

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Looking through a “slat screen” from the back porch of a house on Randolph Street (probably N.W.), Washington, D.C., May 1942, by John Ferrell, via Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.

OK, it’s possible that I’m easily amused.

Also, I have holiday shopping to do. . . and it’s Bloom Day.  (So more later.)

John Ferrell was a photographer for the Farm Security Administration when he took these photos.

Randolph Street, N.W., runs east-west through the Petworth neighborhood of Washington, D.C.

I’ve stayed in the front yard all my life.
I want a peek at the back.  .  .

— Gwendolyn Brooks, from “a song in the front yard



The Sunday porch: Petworth rowhouses

. . . . . Houses in rows
Patient as cows.

— Robert Pinsky, from “City Elegies — III. House Hour

Petworth rowhousesRows of houses in the Petworth neighborhood, Washington, D.C., ca. 1920-1950, by Theodor Horydczak, via Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.

Petworth was farm and forest until the 1880s when the land was purchased for development.  In the 1920s and 30s, thousands of rowhouses were built, many of them in a style popularized by developer Harry Wardman (from 1907) — with its distinctive elevated front porch and tiny front yard.

Wardman-style rowhousesAbove:  Petworth rowhouses on Shepherd St., 2010, by Carol Highsmith, via Library of Congress.

“The porches [were] a big part of growing up in Petworth.  On my block there had to be 15 or 20 kids, and you’d come home from school, get on the porch, and look down the block, and you could see this long row of porches, and you’d see everybody coming out of their house. The porches made you get to know your neighbors, they made it a neighborhood.”

— A Petworth resident in the 1940s, quoted in the Washington City Paper

Wardman built his front porch rowhouses in large parts of northwest Washington, and several other developers copied them all over D.C.

Petworth was named a “Best Old House Neighborhood of 2013” by the magazine This Old House.

back yards and laundryAbove: backyards of rowhouses, neighborhood not noted, Washington, D.C., July 1939, by David Myers, via Library of Congress.

At the backs of Wardman-style rowhouses were screened sleeping porches (top) and kitchen porches (bottom).

Petworth resident Annette L. Olson decided to install a green roof on the top of her rowhouse front porch.  She wrote about the process for the “Where We Live” column of The Washington Post here.