Archive for 'Vernacular'

Morikami Japanese Gardens

A great place to visit in Florida is the Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens in Palm Beach County. I have been there several times, most recently on the same trip when I visited Mandarin in Jacksonville. The museum and gardens are in a park on the site of a Japanese agricultural colony that existed in the early twentieth century. The last remaining settler, George Morikami, left his land to Palm Beach county to preserve as a park. The gardens represent several different periods in the historical development of Japanese gardens. › Continue reading…


This post is in honor of Harriet Beecher Stowe’s 200th Birthday (she was born June 14, 1811). Back in 2007, I visited Mandarin, Florida, where Harriet Beecher Stowe had a winter home she visited from 1867 to 1884. Her book, Palmetto Leaves (1873), is based on her experiences in Florida. Today, Mandarin is part of the city of Jacksonville, which has grown to become the largest city by area in the contiguous United States. Her cottage, called “Mandarin Home,” is no longer standing, but some other traces of Stowe’s Mandarin survive. › Continue reading…

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Both on the way and returning from our most recent trip to Pennsylvania, we stopped at Milford, PA. Milford is the county seat of Pike County and is near where Pennsylvania, New York and New Jersey border each other. Below are some images of historic structures in town. I used the map on the historical plaque above to guide me through the Milford Historic District. Click on the links to visit sites that have more info about the individual structures in Milford‘s downtown. And note that we visited on a very overcast day. We also drove up the road from downtown to Grey Towers, the home of Gifford Pinchot. It was too late to take a tour of the house, but it would be a good place to visit in the future. By the way, did you know that Pinchot was born in a house in Simsbury, CT? You can read about that house over at Historic Buildings of Connecticut.

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Some Lighthouses of Eastern Long Island Sound

Orient Point LightOrient Point Lighthouse (1889)

In my last post, I mentioned the buildings of the Southold Historical Society. In addition to those structures, the Society also has a Nautical Museum in Horton Point Lighthouse. Horton Point Light was established in 1857. My Long Island Trip ended with the journey by ferry from Orient Point to New London. On this journey, several lighthouses can be seen. Off of Long Island is the Orient Point Lighthouse, which was built in 1889. Later on, Little Gull Island Lighthouse can be seen in the distance. This tower was built in 1868. The ferry also passes close by Plum Island. The current Plum Island Lighthouse was built in 1870. Three more lighthouses can be seen as the ferry enters New London harbor: New London Harbor, New London Ledge, and Avery Point Lighthouses. These are covered over at Historic Buildings of Connecticut. › Continue reading…

Buildings of the Southold Historical Society

Southold Historical Society

Departing Long Island by heading along the North Fork towards the ferry to New London, we passed the museum buildings of the Southold Historical Society. They were not open at the time, but I took pictures of many of the structures, which make up an impressive museum campus. I also was able to visit the gift shop, which is housed not far away in what was the old Henry W. Prince Dry Goods Store. Southold was originally founded by Puritans from the New Haven Colony and when New Haven was absorbed into Connecticut, Southold remained under Connecticut jurisdiction until 1674. › Continue reading…

Raynham Hall (1740)

Raynham Hall

After visiting Theodore Roosevelt’s house on Long Island, we went into the town of Oyster Bay and I visited the historic house known as Raynham Hall (named after Raynham Hall, a country house in Norfolk, England). Dating to a little before 1740, the older part of the house is a saltbox, originally occupied by the Samuel Townsend family. A Victorian era addition was made in 1851. Unlike the previous sites featured here, I was not given a guided tour of Raynham Hall, but instead visitors walk through on their own and read interpretive signs. This house is distinctive because some of the interior rooms are furnished to reflect the colonial era and others the Victorian era. To aid visitors, it is explained that rooms with carpeting are Victorian and rooms with bare floorboards are Colonial. This is an interesting way to present the house, which does span different time periods and allows visitors to make direct comparisons. › Continue reading…

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Whitman Birthplace

Walt Whitman was born in 1819 in a house in West Hills (in the town of Huntington), Long Island, built around 1810 by his father. It is now a New York State Historic Park and I visited it earlier this year when I went to Long Island to attend a wedding. The house is furnished to reflect the period when the future poet lived there, which was only until he was five years old, so it is not the sort of author-related site where you can see where his works were actually written. However, it serves as a very good monument to Whitman, with a small but informative visitor’s center exhibit which presents the story of his life. The museum is also devoted to featuring current poets, which seems a good way for a museum focusing on a poet of the past to engage the community today. The site forms a little enclosed compound of buildings, but is surrounded by strip malls and major roads. It requires some imagination to recall the time when Whitman lived here and the area was surrounded by farm fields. In the visitor center was a map of Whitman-related sites in the area. I was not able to drive around and visit these, but it would be an interesting excursion and a good way to get more images of historic homes! › Continue reading…

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