Tag: Victorian

Harriet Beecher Stowe in Scotland, Part Two: Glasgow

002Glasgow Cathedral. Image Source: Wikimedia Commons, Licence:, resized, Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0). Also compare the image of the Cathedral from Sunny Memories with a recent photo).

Having arrived in Glasgow the night before, Harriet Beecher Stowe awoke in Scotland for the first time on April 14, 1853. In Sunny Memories of Foreign Lands, Vol. I (1854), she describes her breakfast:

The next morning I awoke worn and weary, and scarce could the charms of the social Scotch breakfast restore me. I say Scotch, for we had many viands peculiarly national. The smoking porridge, or parritch, of oatmeal, which is the great staple dish throughout Scotland. Then there was the bannock, a thin, wafer-like cake of the same material. My friend laughingly said when he passed it, “You are in the ‘land o’ cakes,’ remember.” There was also some herring, as nice a Scottish fish as ever wore scales, besides dainties innumerable which were not national.

Later that day, she and her entourage visited Glasgow Cathedral. › Continue reading…

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Harriet Beecher Stowe in Scotland, Part One: Entering Scotland

Sunny Memores of Foreign Lands

Harriet Beecher Stowe, the author of Uncle Tom’s Cabin, first visited Scotland during her European trip of 1853. She wrote about her visit in the First volume of Sunny Memories of Foreign Lands (published in 1854).

She and her party entered Scotland by train on April 13, 1853, passing by Gretna Green. In Sunny Memories, Stowe comments on the famous Gretna Green marriages. As the first town across the Scottish border, it became a popular place in the eighteenth century for English minors to get married under the more liberal Scottish marriage laws. It remains a popular wedding destination today. › Continue reading…

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Olana (1872)

Last Friday, I visited Olana for the first time. The orientalizing “Persian”-style home of Hudson River School landscape painter Frederic Edwin Church, Olana is located on a hill (surrounded by an extensive property) in Hudson, New York. Church, aided by architect Calvert Vaux, constructed Olana between 1870 and 1872. He added a studio wing to the house over the period 1888–1891. The house has been a New York State Historic Site since 1966. › Continue reading…

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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.

› Continue reading…

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Wheatland (1828)


On our second day in Lancaster County PA, I visited Wheatland, the estate of President James Buchanan, which is in the city of Lancaster itself. Buchanan is usually considered one of the worst presidents, but he is the only president from Pennsylvania and his restored house is definitely worth a visit. It’s a Federal style house, built in 1828, which is furnished in the Victorian style to reflect the era when Buchanan lived there, from 1848 to 1868. I didn’t watch the introductory video, which had some info about Buchanan’s political career. Visitors are told to walk from the visitor’s center down to the house, where a guide wearing a hoop skirt period dress gave the tour, which focused on domestic issues rather than politics. Even if one is not thrilled by Buchanan himself, there is also the interesting story of the unmarried president’s First Lady, his niece Harriet Lane, who later inherited the house. The house is adjacent to the Lancaster County Historical Society, which has an exhibit gallery and a book store.

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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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