Friday, May 1, 2009

Friday Shootout - Architecture

The scanned postcard above was probably taken by my grandfather (the Jo in Helen and Jo) and used as a Christmas Card. This is the house where I grew up, in Wrentham, Massachusetts. I believe it is an illustration of the architectural style known as "Old." It was built in two stages with the smaller back part built by one of my early ancestors, Major Samuel Cowell, whose ghost was believed to walk the halls at night, although in my less believing days I concluded that it was probably the barn rats that used the attic as their winter abode. The old part had been built during the early days when my ancesters were busy taking land from the Wampanoag Indians. I am 1/32 Wampanoag Indian myself which tells me my early ancesters were doing other things besides just taking land. When I was growing up, the town of Wrentham magnanimously named my school, King Philip Regional High School in honor of the early Wampanoag Chief although I suspect he would have rather had his land back. In this house, which had six fireplaces, there was a secret brick-lined closet-sized room accessible by moving a panel that had been built by Major Sam so that he and his family could hide in case King Philip had ever decided to re-assert his ownership. I loved the house because it was huge (7 bedrooms) and I lived there most of the time with only my grandparents so I had free reign of the entire second floor. What a great childhood!

Moving on to South CArolina, the little church above is on Hilton Head Island and represents the architectural style known as "Hey I can turn my house into a church and get a tax break."

The building above is the Athletic Center at the Citadel. I shot it hurriedly from the car yesterday. I wanted to shoot the building around the Citadel Quad but for some reason the County expects me to spend some time actually working. The Citadel is a good military college. I really don't know what they were thinking with this architecture -- the entire college is like this. I think the idea is that if there is a nuclear war and everybody on Earth is wiped out except for some Citadel faculty and students and some bad guys who somehow make it to Charleston, they can defend the last bastion of Democracy with bows and arrows.

Above is the entrance to the City Market. It is now filled with booths that sell all sorts of crafts, souvenirs, t-shirts, pottery, etc., to tourists. Prior to 1865 it was filled with booths that used to sell slaves.

Photos above and below are of a little known piece of history in Charleston. If you didn't know this was here, you would never find it, tucked in behind tall white walls and bank buildings, it fills an area surrounded by four streets and only a small sign on a nondescript gate that reads: "Confederate Widows Home." It is like stepping back in time. In fact, it is currently used as subsidized housing for the elderly which is just a different name for Confederate Widows Home and often there are little old ladies sitting on the benches. One exceedingly eerie day, I took Karen to see it and as we wandered through, a tiny, sweet woman came out and began talking to us. I asked if it had really been a home for confederate widows and she said, "Why, yes, my dear. And if you look up at that screened porch. That was where my grandfather used to teach them English Literature and History." I almost fell over!

Above is the view from my office window. A conglomerate of hospital builidngs. And finally below are two more shots of the painted walls of a building in Columbia, the state capitol.


  1. Great photos, really enjoyed them thank you.

    Your family home is so lovely. How amazing to have grown up in something so grand.

  2. I love the pic of your childhood home too. A whole floor to yourself - now wonder you were allowed to develop such a vivid imagination. Those grandparents of yours must have given you wht you needed. What a huge house it is, and its lovely that you have such happy memories. Now your family tree is an interesting one then. I love them as there is always a skeleton to reveal of some kind.

  3. good morning Mark, I love the story of the Confederate Widows, and the picture of the veranda with the benches taken through the doorway - also the old man sitting on the ledge of the warehouse.... good job. Today is another holiday in Brasil - April seems to be the month of 'no one knows why' holidays, so we take the bus to Rio for a few meals out with friends - have a great weekend.

  4. Great commentary Mark. Lots of smiles hidden away in there. What an exciting home you grew up in, if anything could stir a child's imagination, that home sure could.

  5. Yup, also a fan of the childhood home! I was surprised by the athletic centre. When I saw the image, I assumed it was perhaps a mosque or some other house of worship. Just goes to show...never assume!

  6. Wow Mark.......these a beautiful!! I always love the beautiful architecture and brillant colors of Charleston. That entrance to the City Market is awesome.
    The shot of your childhood home is just priceless.
    Have an extreme weekend (and call me.......seriously dude........)

    Steady On
    Reggie Girl

  7. What a great variety of pics today. You could write a book about your childhood home I bet. It's really beautiful and great for the imagination.

  8. Great photo's and tour of your town.

  9. That postcard was really beautiful. I also loved the shot of the hallway with the benches.

    And I wouldn't want to fight anyone armed with bows and arrows! :)

  10. Very nice. Have a great weekend!

  11. I love the first photo the best. Sounds like you had a great time running around that big old house. I loved the way it was used as Christmas card.

    I have seen that church, I think. How long as it been there.

    And I know I have been to the beautiful market.

    Great shots, Mark. Still, I think Bagman should be given one of those throw-away cameras so he won't feel left out.

    The painted buildings rock.

  12. such diversity, old and new, new and old...thanks for journey.

  13. Wow! I loved your post this week! What a great house to grow up in! It's really nice that you are able to have the picture! This is what I love about photography! You NEVER know who will be looking at a picture you took. I'm sure your grandfather would have never thought his picture would be on a computer screen for people all over the world to see!

  14. Mark,
    As always your humor shines through in the descriptions of the architectural styles shown! Your childhood home sounds like a wonderful place for many adventures!

  15. You're lucky you have lived in that nice huge house, and it's really really nice architectural design. Unlike my childhood days we lived in a 20 x 20ft room :-) that we called a "home." The atlantic center is somewhat similar to a mosque in Saudi Arabia hahaha but I like it.

  16. wonderful pics of your town! love the postcard and the story of the history behind it. great post.

  17. Hey, a fellow New Englander! I grew up in Rhode Island, right down the road from you. And as a kid visiting my grandparents in Leominster, Mass (ever hear of it?), I witnessed lots of architecture described as "old."


  18. Great photos, but I always enjoy your commentary more than any pictures. Good job.

  19. The painting of the man and the dog sitting in the window is just incredible, and I love your nods to hidden history, Sirs...

    I could do without the 'toy fort' architecture - It doesn't even look real to me - How odd! And where is the 'green' around your workspace, Sirs? I always have to try to locate the greens wherever I work, or else I feel strapped down and suffocated... Then that's just silly old me.

    I loved your childhood home, Sirs, and the story you told about being 1/32 Native American Indian - Is it still there, steeped in all its history?

  20. Just getting around to seeing the Friday photos.

    Delighted to see Charleston again. How well we remember. Chalreston has several of those little alleyway walks with neat stores and entrances. What a beautiful city you live in.

    Missed that little chapel on HHI. Must be recent.


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