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NEW ENGLAND

WINTER/SPRING 2009

CELEBRATING KITCHENS


FROM THE CHAIR

Historic NEW ENGLAND Winter/Spring 2009 Vol. 9, No.3

David Carmack

The year 2009 is the Year of the Kitchen at Historic New England. We invite you to view this room as a lens through which to examine family life, women’s roles, domestic service, and architecture, and how they are impacted by developments in technology, industry, and the media. All over the region, we are offering scores of programs on kitchen-related topics, along with a traveling exhibition, lectures, and displays at some of the historic properties that depict baking day or preparations for a dinner party. I encourage you to take part in the celebration and to share your own kitchen stories on our website, www.AmericasKitchens.org Also in this issue is a feature story on the creative process of a team of architects who developed plans for Boston’s City Hall in the 1960s. The internationally renowned architects Gerhard Kallman and Michael McKinnell recently donated their architectural records to the Library and Archives. This gift is a significant addition to our holdings of drawings by at least four hundred architects and firms, including works by Asher Benjamin, Alexander Parris, Gridley J. F. Bryant, Luther Briggs, Ogden Codman, Jr., and McKim, Mead, and White. Comprising more than one million photographs and other visual documents, the Library and Archives’ collection is one of the country’s most important records of the built environment.

Inventing a City Hall 1

Housing the Horseless Carriage 9

M A K I N G F U N O F H I S TO RY 13

Johnny Cakes S P OT L I G H T 16

Year of the Kitchen L A N D S C A P E 18

Reclaiming Eden

—Bill Hicks

HANDS ON 20

Faux Food Chef MUSEUM SHOP 22 Historic New England 141 Cambridge Street Boston MA 02114-2702 (617) 227-3956 HISTORIC NEW ENGLAND magazine is a benefit of membership. To join Historic New England, please visit our website, HistoricNew England.org or call (617) 227-3957, ext.273. Comments? Please call Nancy Curtis, editor, at (617) 227-3957, ext.235. Historic New England is presented by the Society for the Preservation of New England Antiquities. It is funded in part by the Institute of Museum and Library Services and the Massachusetts Cultural Council. Executive Editor Diane Viera

Editor Nancy Curtis

Appetizers C O N S E RVAT I O N 2 4

Caring for a Castle AC Q U I S I T I O N

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Modern at the Beach Except where noted, all historic photographs and ephemera are from Historic New England’s Library and Archives.

Design DeFrancis Carbone

COVER In 1921, the purchase of this kitchen cabinet, called a Hoosier, made kitchen work easier for Mollie Tucker of Castle Tucker, Wiscasset, Maine. Photo by Peter Harholdt

V I S I T U S O N L I N E AT

w w w. H i s t o r i c N ew E n g l a n d . o r g


S P O T L I G H T

Inventing a

City Hall

Drawings of Boston’s City Hall, selected from the recent gift by Gerhard Kallmann and Michael McKinnell of their firm’s architectural records, are remarkable documents revealing the genesis of this innovative building. Perspective drawing from the competition’s first stage reveals the bold structure proposed, and the concept for the City Council Chamber to project beyond the forms of the administrative offices above.The brick base—representing the original sloping hillside of the site—holds the most heavily visited spaces. McKinnell. 35 / " x 35 / " ABOVE

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Perspective drawing from the design development phase illustrates the design’s evolution, with concrete frames now bracketing the Council Offices to the left of the Council Chamber, and paired pre-cast brackets now separating the upper level windows.

ABOVE

McKinnell and Gary Larsen. 30" x 45 1/4"

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n 1961, Boston embarked on a mission to create a modern city hall at the heart of the 330-year-old city. In place of the customary architect-selection process, Mayor John F. Collins announced a nationwide design competition, the first for an American city hall since that of San Francisco in 1906. The idea found inspiration in several recent competitions that were drawing international attention: the Gateway Arch in St. Louis, Sydney’s Opera House, and the Toronto City Hall. A Boston City Hall competition and its resulting building would serve, planners hoped, as a catalyst for the city’s rebirth. The sketches and drawings published here reveal the evolution of the dramatic design, demonstrated in two stages of competition materials and in design development studies. The design responded to the competition’s exacting requirements: the building’s location was fixed within a given footprint, and the height was limited so as not to overshadow its historic neighbor below, Faneuil Hall. The proposal had to accommodate a detailed architectural


Reverse-reading photostat of Kallmann and McKinnell’s original “First Sketch” for the new city hall reveals in cross section their concept for a building with “trays” of enclosed space arranged around a courtyard, above a plaza running from Cambridge Street and the JFK federal tower through the building and down to Faneuil Hall. 16 / " x 23 / " RIGHT

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program: 346,410 square feet of specific functions including, for instance, spaces of “Symbolic Importance,” such as the City Council Chamber, Council Offices, and the Mayor’s Office (with eleven offices ranging in size from 108 to 270 square feet). In the “Heavy Public Traffic” category, designers were to provide thirty-six linear feet of public counter, with six cashier stations for the Collections Division. Two hundred and fifty-six teams of architects from around the country entered the landmark competition. From this enormous field, a distinguished jury culled eight finalists, each of whom was awarded $5,000 and given three months to develop the designs. Among the eight anonymous

ABOVE

groups was a young team led by Gerhard M. Kallmann and Noel M. (Michael) McKinnell, along with their colleague Edward F. Knowles. Kallmann and McKinnell’s drawings for the preliminary stage present a new concept for a municipal government building. It departs not only from the symmetrical layouts and traditional symbolism of historic governmental structures, but also from the pure forms and sleek surfaces that characterized the era’s contemporary architecture. Instead, this design envisions a courtyard structure that expands at its top and that brings the ceremonial and administrative spaces to the exterior façade and beyond, where they can be seen and from which their occupants can view the city around them. The cross sections illustrate these functions floating above the plaza level, where the “Heavy Public Traffic” spaces are located for easy access. In fact, the plans and sections demonstrate the architects’ fundamentally democratic idea of extending the enormous public plaza (a requirement of the competition) right through the proposed building, to create lively interactions and also to reveal open views and a topographic connection between Cambridge and Tremont streets above and Faneuil Hall and Quincy Market below. These brilliant examples of the nowvanishing art of architectural drawing convincingly adumbrate this structure before our eyes, as they did for the jurors.

Michael McKinnell and Gerhard Kallmann. 1964. Winter/Spring 2009 Historic New England

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Page of early concept sketches includes an alternative sectional idea, in which the irregular forms housing the proposed city hall’s occupied spaces are supported by mast-like structures that provide circulation. McKinnell. 21"x 18" RIGHT

Studies—among several on the same sheet— carefully reveal the form of the Mayor’s stair in the main lobby. McKinnell. 28 / " x 30" BELOW LEFT

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BELOW RIGHT Tracing paper sketches explore the scale and configuration of elements that break up the large windows of the original municipal library bays (now City Council Offices). McKinnell. 18" x 42"

Kallmann’s informative section perspectives provide a sense of realism for the building structure and its systems, while McKinnell’s elevation studies and exterior perspectives clearly articulate its external form. For the May 1962 final competition round, the jury included four prominent architects along with three business leaders, from New England Mutual Life, Filene’s, and Stop and Shop. Looking back today, one agrees with the jurors’ decision: most of the submittals that they rejected were simplified, unarticulated abstract forms that might just as easily have been designs for suburban corporate office buildings. By contrast, the winning design, which received the jurors’

BOTTOM First-stage competition site plan depicts the new city hall among both existing and proposed buildings from I.M. Pei and Partners’ master plan. (The long, thin structures behind City Hall and adjacent to Faneuil Hall were not built.) Detail, 22" x 24"

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Kallmann’s complex sectional perspective study develops the interior volume of the Council Chamber at the same time that it suggests the pre-cast structure housing the building systems and also proposes the chamber as a stepped, amphitheater-like form seen from the level below. 24 / " x 36 / "

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McKinnell’s presentation cross section from the first stage of the competition looks north through the proposed building’s courtyard, with its large sculpture, and identifies the program spaces arranged around and below it. 28 / " x 36"

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Design development south elevation depicts the prominent forms of the Mayor’s Office suite, looking toward Washington Street and the Old State House, and the stair cascading down to Congress Street and Faneuil Hall. McKinnell. 29" x 53 / "

BELOW

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RIGHT Kallmann’s interior section perspective shows the proposed grand public spaces of the building’s north entry hall and the structural system of its coffered, skylit ceiling. The monumental size of this image typifies the presentation drawings illustrated here, notable for handdrawn pen and ink renderings. 24" x 45 / " 1

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unanimous support, inventively responded to both its civic program and its urban site. It was quickly proclaimed to be “as fine a building for its time and place as Boston has ever produced” by Boston historian Walter Muir Whitehill. Horizon Magazine not only praised the winning entry, but lauded the competition process itself: “Boston’s jury…has turned in a decisive verdict that will stand for some time as a model of responsible civic conduct.” In 1969, City Hall opened to acclaim as a building and as a civic achievement. It immediately became the symbol of “the New Boston,” a Boston that successfully

Three key floor plans depict the proposed building’s volumetric concept. The upper administrative floor forms an open rectangle, defining the building’s outline; the ceremonial spaces of the middle level are pushed to the edges of the building, around the south hall; and the main entrance level shows the open floor plan and the connections to the plaza. 20 / " x 18 / "

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Final-stage presentation drawing of the east elevation, showing how light and shadow articulate the special civic spaces more boldly than the administrative spaces above.The dark horizontal band represents the platform that was to span Congress Street (not built), which the competition required. This broad platform provided a major entrance into City Hall from the east, in addition to the entrances from the other three directions. McKinnell. 27 / " x 52 / "

ABOVE

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© 1976 Steve Rosenthal

Shortly after City Hall’s completion, Faneuil Hall marketplace—which previously had been considered for possible demolition—was dramatically and successfully transformed for new uses. The new City Hall design and its deliberate alignment with the ori-

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reinvented itself after decades of decline. Already in 1991, the Massachusetts Historical Commission determined that the building was eligible for the National Register of Historic Places. The new firm of Kallmann, McKinnell and Wood went on to become one of Boston’s, and the nation’s, preeminent architectural practices. It won Boston’s Harleston Parker Award more times than any other architect since the award was created in 1923, and designed notable structures around the world, from the University of Massachusetts/ Boston Campus Center and the Newton, Massachusetts, Public Library to Becton Dickinson’s corporate headquarters in New Jersey and the U.S Embassy in Bangkok. Paradoxically, these fragile original drawings reveal the genesis of the powerful structure that we know today. It is one that critic Walter McQuaid identified as belonging to a long-standing tradition of architecture in Boston, that of 8

Historic New England Winter/Spring 2009

entation of both Faneuil Hall and Quincy Market, contribute to this memorable urban ensemble, which spans more than two centuries, from Georgian brick to Greek Revival granite to modern-day brick and concrete.

“emphatic, forceful” masonry buildings dating back to Solomon Willard’s Bunker Hill Monument, Alexander Parris’ Quincy Market, Gridley Bryant’s rugged commercial palaces, and H. H. Richardson’s robust granite edifices. Preserved in Historic New England’s Library and Archives, this collection records Kallmann and McKinnell’s developing vision, and documents a time when a design competition and a new building for government placed Boston on the international stage. —Gary Wolf, AIA Gary Wolf, principal of Gary Wolf Architects in Boston, organized and wrote the text for the exhibition of Kallmann, McKinnell and Knowles’ City Hall drawings at Boston’s Wentworth Institute of Technology in 2008.


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Housing the Horseless Carriage

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nventors in both Europe and the United States had been tinkering with self-propelled vehicles since the late eighteenth century, but it wasn’t until the early twentieth century that the manufacture of functioning automobiles began in earnest. Once begun, the fledgling industry developed rapidly, and cars started to replace horse and carriage transportation. By 1906, New England had several automobile manufacturers, including the Electric Vehicle Company and Pope Manufacturing Company in Hartford, Connecticut, and in Massachusetts, the J. Stevens Arms and Tool Company in Chicopee Falls, the Knox Automobile Company in Springfield, and the Waltham Manufacturing Company in Waltham. Of all the changes to the landscape wrought by the automobile, one of the first resulted from its need for housing. Early automobiles represented a significant investment of money (ranging in price from $500 to $1,500) and frequently lacked roofs, thus compelling owners to seek sheltered storage sites. Automobile makers advised that vehicles be protected from inclement weather and cold temperatures to ensure good engine performance and keep the parts in good condition. A 1911 instruction booklet printed by PierceArrow Motor Car Company specifically recommended stor-

ing cars during winter months in a room heated to at least forty degrees Fahrenheit. Owners kept their cars in barns, stables, and carriage houses, adapting them by removing the

This early-twentieth century watercolor rendering by Boston architect E. J. Lewis depicts a typical one-bay garage designed to complement the residence and its landscape. ABOVE This image from a 1936 Cadillac owner’s manual reminded car owners to open garage doors prior to starting the engine to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning.

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A 1923 advertisement for Presto-Up Garages depicts typical pre-fabricated do-it-yourself garage construction kits popular in the 1920s and ‘30s. ABOVE A combination garage and carriage

FACING PAGE

vants. BELOW LEFT This model home from a 1947 builder's catalogue features a modest-sized attached garage. BELOW RIGHT A typical 1920s concrete garage with a stepped parapet over its doors.

house, typical of large estates, usually included living space for ser-

stalls or adding a shed. Those lacking handy outbuildings erected structures at the rear or side of their properties, often with decorative touches like faux hayloft doors and cupolas to make them look like carriage houses. Alternatively, they built small, one-bay, wood-framed, free-standing sheds; these were called garages, from the French garer, to store or dock. Pre-fabricated garages, available from companies like Sears, Roebuck, could be put up easily and were often treated as garden structures and covered by lattice work and vines. The doors of these early garages were made of wood with window lights and swung outward on hinges or slid to the side on tracks. Wealthier homes tended to have more elaborate garages, sometimes with two or more bays and living quarters for a chauffeur. As garage construction increased during the second decade of the century, more attention was paid to design

details, so that the structures complemented the style of the house, whether Arts and Crafts, Colonial Revival, or Tudor and Spanish Revival. At this time, new types of wooden doors appeared: multi-paneled ones that rolled inside on tracks or folded accordion-style. A few garages featured overhead doors that slid up against the ceiling in one or more panels, but these did not become the standard until after World War II. In the 1920s, the size of cars increased, necessitating larger garages. As automobile ownership became widespread, garage design grew more functional. Plain buildings built of fireproof brick or concrete block, with flat or low-pitched roofs, sometimes with a decorative parapet over the doors, became ubiquitous. In suburban areas with limited lot sizes, garages were set into hillsides or placed directly below the house. In urban areas, new apartment complexes included

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garages with rows of multiple bays, while large warehouse-style commercial garages with rental spaces were constructed to serve city dwellers and commuters. Attached garages did not become common until the 1930s, but by the 1950s they were standard in new construction. Integrated into the façade of the house, these garages in suburban neighborhoods, with their sequences of blind doors, had a dramatic impact on the streetscape. Today the garage is almost as important as the kitchen and bathrooms among the amenities sought by homeowners. The quaint buildings of the early twentieth century are quickly being replaced by larger, multicar garages that in many cases dominate the designs of new homes. —Joseph Cornish Senior Stewardship Manager

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This mid-1960s house in Waltham, Massachusetts, incorporates a garage at its cellar level into its design. BELOW In this recent development of condominium townhouses in Belmont, Massachusetts, closed garage doors projecting forward toward the street are the façades’ most prominent feature. ABOVE


M A K I N G

F U N

O F

H I S T O R Y

Johnny Cakes When European settlers came to North America, they learned about corn from the native people they met here. Soon, cornmeal became an important part of their diet. A johnny cake is a simple quick bread made from cornmeal that can be cooked over an open hearth. Variations on johnny cakes appeared in many regions of the country; in New England, they are associated with Rhode Island, where johnny cake festivals are held in Usquepaugh and Jamestown.

Ingredients 1 cup cornmeal 1 /2 tsp salt 1 tsp sugar 1 cup boiling water Butter or shortening

Other materials Iron skillet Bowl Spoon

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Directions 1. Mix together cornmeal, salt, and sugar. 2. Slowly pour boiling water over dry ingredients. Mix together well. 3. Over medium heat, melt butter or shortening in the skillet, then add large spoonfuls of the batter. Cook until the bottoms of the cakes are golden brown, about 5 minutes, then flip them over to cook the other side. 4. Serve johnny cakes with butter and maple syrup or jam. —Amy Peters Clark Education Program Manager

What’s in a name? The origin of the name johnny cakes has been lost over the centuries. Here are a few theories about its source: “Shawnee cakes,” after the Native American group. “Journey cakes,” because the cakes are easy to take on a trip. “Joniken,” a Native American word for cornmeal. “Jannockin,” an English word for a simple oatmeal cake. Sometimes johnny cakes were called hoe cakes because they were cooked on the greased blade of a hoe placed in front of a fire.

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M A K I N G

F U N

O F

H I S T O R Y

A aron U sh er

Human beings have been cooking their food since prehistoric times. For centuries, most cooking was done over an open fire, but technology has introduced a wide variety of ways to cook.

Let’s explore the history of cooking in America—

What’s Cooking? 1400s

1600s

Native Americans cook over outdoor fires in clay pots.

Early Colonists cook over open fires built in large cooking hearths.

Seventeenth to nineteenth centuries Some families have outdoor bake ovens (at left) made of bricks.

1796–98 Benjamin Thompson invents the efficient Rumford fireplace and roaster.

what is it? guess what this was us ed for? Can you This is a tin kitchen or roaster oven, used to roast meat before an open fire. The meat was skewered on a spit, which could be turned to ensure even cooking, while the tin trapped the heat and sped up the cooking process. A small door at the back allowed the cook to baste the roast easily.



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puzzle

d these words related to cooking over the centuries? n i f u o y Can Words appear forwards and backwards.

Bake oven

Peel

Crane

Pot

Hearth

Pot lifter

Hook

Stove

Kettle

Tin kitchen

Microwave

Toaster

R Y T O P J K I M N N C

See page 21 for the answers

D E D B E H T E E Q E X

D S T N J O D H T H O Q

Q B A F A D C E C T T U

U R H S I T J V C F L K

C T T A I L D A U Y R E

X E R K Y H T W D N I U

R I N M N E V O E K A B

K I F W L A O R P C L O

1840s

1930s

1946

1963

Cast-iron cookstoves become common in the United States.

Easy-to-clean enamel stoves are popular in modern kitchens.

Dr. Percy Spencer invents the microwave oven.

Hasbro introduces the Easy-Bake Oven.

did you know? • In some wealthy homes, dogs were used to turn meat roasting over an open hearth. Called turnspit dogs, they ran inside a large wheel (like a hamster wheel), which turned the spit. • Some cast-iron pots, called spiders, had legs. The legs made it easy to place the pot over hot coals in the hearth. • Brick bake ovens did not have the temperature controls we are used to today. Women became

T O X N E R M C P J E L

S T O V E T X I O S H N

Q P P H P H C M S W Z K

Here are some fun facts— experts at regulating and judging the heat. Some of the methods they used included throwing flour into the oven to see if it turned brown or black and waving a wet broom above the flames to see how long it took to dry.

• In the nineteenth century, some families moved their cast-iron stoves to outbuildings in the spring and brought them back into the house in the fall. This kept the house from getting too hot in the summer. Winter/Spring 2009 Historic New England

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S P O T L I G H T

Celebrating Kitchens

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e invite you to join us, wherever you are, as Historic New England celebrates the Year of the Kitchen. At our properties (and at other museums as well), on our website, in New England and beyond, we present a whole year of programs that explore the role of the kitchen in times past and present. You can read our latest publication, America’s Kitchens (see pages 22–23), visit our traveling exhibition, and take part in activities relating to foodways, servants’ lives, chimney construction, and cooking on an open hearth or iron cookstove. You’ll have fun looking at old things in new ways, recall childhood memories, and ponder the meaning of the kitchen in your own life. The exhibition, titled, like the book, America’s Kitchens (see box on page 17), traces kitchens from the Colonial period to the present and illustrates the room’s history through six recreated kitchen vignettes. The eighteenth-century kitchen at Historic New England’s Coffin House in Newbury, Massachusetts, shows what baking day was like for the Coffin women in 1759. Another baking day, this one 16

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at a New Mexican ranch in 1850, depicts the courtyard of El Rancho de Las Golondrinas, outside Santa Fe, where an enslaved Navajo cook prepares feast-day foods in an outdoor adobe bake oven. The Davis kitchen in Bloomington, Illinois, with its large cookstove, captures a day in 1874, when Mrs. Davis is making preserves with her Irish cook, Bridget Kelley. The final vignette, a 1957 Westinghouse kitchen from Andover, Massachusetts, illustrates preparations for a holiday meal by a GreekAmerican family. In addition, we are offering many kitchen- and food-related programs throughout the region. Please visit our website, www.AmericasKitchens.org, to stay up-to-date on forthcoming events. For example, tours of the WentworthCoolidge Mansion and the Rundlet-May House in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, will examine innovations in kitchen design in the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. At Castle Tucker in Wiscasset, Maine, food historian Sandy Oliver will lecture on historic cooking. At Roseland Cottage in Woodstock, Connecticut, Museum Historian Jennifer Pustz will present her research into the


lives of the Bowen family’s servants. At the Lyman Estate Greenhouses in Waltham, Massachusetts, Horticulturist Lynn Ackerman will lead a workshop on planting and caring for a kitchen garden. Meanwhile, in four of our historic house museums, staff is animating the kitchens with special props and effects. At the Coffin House, faux food, faux fire, newly arranged furnishings, and an ambient sound track will portray the bustling activity of the women in the family as they cook and clean together. At Castle Tucker, we will use the cookbook compiled by Jane A. Tucker and published in 1924 to recreate the cooking and presentation of a summertime meal. At Beauport, Sleeper-McCann House, in Gloucester, Massachusetts, the kitchen will illustrate the moment captured in a historic photograph, when the staff proudly showed off the roast before taking it into the dining room for a party. At the Gropius House, in Lincoln, Massachusetts, faux foods based on Ise Gropius’s recipes will depict the kind of meal she used to cook in the 1940s and ‘50s. Focusing on the space long considered the symbolic center of the home has led us to investigate family dynamics, women’s roles, technology, class, and the culture of the world at large. Poring through letters and personal histories, we have heard vivid accounts of the kitchen as the room where relationships are nurtured and traditions handed down, but also as a place where women toil in drudgery and isolation. We invite you to join us as we explore the kitchen’s many themes and gain a richer understanding of the currents of history and the cultural underpinnings of our own lives. •

Illustrations by Gerald L. Foster

FACING PAGE A moment of pride and merriment in the kitchen at Beauport, Gloucester, Massachusetts. RIGHT Artist’s renderings of three of the kitchens featured in the exhibition: the hearth kitchen in the Coffin House, Newbury, Massachusetts, as it might have appeared in the 1760s; an 1850s kitchen in New Mexico with outdoor bake ovens, or hornos; and an 1870s kitchen in Bloomington, Illinois, with a built-in range and copper hot water heater.

The exhibition America’s Kitchens opens June 11 at the New Hampshire Historical Society in Concord, New Hampshire, and will travel to the Long Island Museum of American Art, History and Carriages in Stony Brook, New York, the Heritage Museums and Gardens in Sandwich, Massachusetts, and other locations to be announced.

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David Carmack

L A N D S C A P E

Reclaiming Eden

O

Arborists Association, the project transformed the property and kicked off a multi-year plan by Historic New England to restore and revitalize the estate’s historic landscape. The Codman Estate was established in the late 1730s. Originally, it comprised hundreds of acres of farmland; today it consists of sixteen acres surrounding the main house, which is situated on a series of terraces overlooking a pasture known as the Octagon. Trees have always been important

Barton Sprague

n Arbor Day 2008, in Lincoln, Massachusetts, nearly two hundred certified arborists descended upon the Codman Estate to donate their services—pruning, removing dead and dangerous trees, and planting new ones. Sponsored by the Massachusetts

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ABOVE The Octagon pond after the Arbor Day activities removed thirty-five dead trees. LEFT This 1872 view shows two Codman children on their ponies, with elm trees and the Octagon pond beyond.

features in the estate’s landscape, which was laid out in the English manner as a gentleman’s country seat. The grounds near the house were formal, and trees were strategically planted to frame and emphasize the views. Picturesque, tree-shaded drives circumnavigate the Octagon and lead to the main house. Records in the Codman family papers document the purchase of thirty-nine elm trees in the eighteenth century and of ornamental trees in the nineteenth century. In the 1860s, Ogden Codman, Sr., took over the estate, renaming it The Grange, and made numerous improvements to the farms and grounds. The early twentieth-century appearance of the estate was influenced by noted architect and designer Ogden Codman, Jr., his sister Dorothy, and their mother, Sarah, with the addition of a formal garden in the


Italian style and a cottage garden next to the carriage house. In 1938, the great hurricane blew down ninety-six trees at the Codman Estate. Afterwards the family allowed volunteer trees to grow and renew the shade cover, but without any planning or real grooming. Historic New England recently inventoried the trees on the property, which totaled more than four hundred and fifty, and was faced with a backlog of tree maintenance before it could begin to restore the landscape. Fortunately, the Massachusetts Arborists Association came to the rescue with an offer to make the Codman Estate the focus of their annual volunteer work day. Bringing heavy equipment, cherry pickers, chippers, chain saws, ladders, and lots of energy and muscle, teams of arborists performed a Herculean task, removing over one hundred dead and dangerous trees and recapturing long lost views and spaces. At the end of the day, they

had donated approximately $300,000 worth of labor. Now that the landscape has been opened up, Historic New England’s Landscape Committee, a group of landscape historians and professionals, will analyze the site and the historic record to determine which trees are historically appropriate to use for replanting and where they should go. In addition, extensive drainage work carried out over the past two years has stabilized the pond and improved the appearance of the Octagon; the next phase will focus on restoring the ha-ha wall and renewing the plantings around the pond. Meanwhile, in the formal Italian Garden, the historic terracotta pots are being reproduced and will be on display this spring, and we are seeking funding to reproduce the statue of Flora and restore the dolphin fountain. In Dorothy’s Garden, the planting beds were recently restored to their original

configuration, and the plant palette continues to explore Dorothy’s practice of experimenting with perennials. We urge you to visit the Codman Estate this year and savor this historic landscape— truly one of New England’s choicest treasures—as it returns to its early twentieth-century appearance. —Ben Haavik Team Leader, Property Care

The pond before the removal of the dead trees. BOTTOM The work crews had to haul the tree trunks out by hand in order to prevent damage by heavy vehicles to the marshy ground. BOTTOM LEFT

The grounds of the Codman Estate are open year round from dawn to dusk. The house is open from June 13 to October 10 on the second and fourth Saturday of the month, 11 am to 5 pm, tours on the hour, last tour begins at 4 pm.

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H A N D S

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faux

food Chef

David Carmack

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itchens and dining rooms in historic houses can be dressed like stage sets to depict a particular moment in time, and few things are more popular with visitors than a glimpse of cooking underway or an abundance of food ready to be eaten. But adding real food to a museum installation can be problematic because of deterioration, contamination, and pests. Conservators and curators have had to be creative and become faux food chefs. You might think it would be easy to fill a house museum with faux cakes, meats, and breads, but it isn’t as straightforward as one would like. Commercially made faux foods, produced for restaurant and store displays, are often not period appropriate and can be too large, the wrong style, color, or shape. Further, they can contain materials, like some plastics,

that are harmful to museum objects; polyvinyl chloride (PVC) plastics, for example, will corrode metals. To make faux food for a historic house or museum setting, you need to use conservation-friendly materials— foams made out of polyethylene, plastic films made out of clean polyester, acid-free papers and cardboard, acrylic or watercolor paints, and acrylic spackles and varnishes. These can be purchased at art supply or craft stores or from archival catalogues and suppliers. To successfully replicate a historic food, it is important to understand its true proportions, including color and texture. If you are trying to replicate the appearance of a particular recipe, the best place to begin is by preparing it yourself so you can accurately reproduce what it looks like. If no authentic recipe is available, look for a good visual source like a still life painting


change over time and appear from different angles and in varying light. The faux melon was made by the same method as the tea cakes, except on a larger scale and with a lot more spackle. I will admit that I thoroughly enjoy being challenged to create stable, faux food to enliven our historic house installations, but would never have guessed, when I was a student of conservation, that I’d become a skilled faker of delicious-looking, but inedible, food. — Julie Solz Team Leader, Collections Services

How to make faux tea cakes: 1. Trace the shape of the tea cake on a 1/2 inch thick piece of polyethylene foam and cut with sharp scissors or a serrated knife. 2. Coat top and sides of cake with a medium weight acrylic spackle using a micro spatula (multiple applications are needed to cover foam and dome top); smooth dried surface with fine sandpaper and water. 3. Paint cake with light washes of yellow ochre, burnt sienna, and raw umber acrylic or watercolor paints to achieve golden color. 4. Thin spackle with water to imitate icing and apply to top of cake with micro spatula; while icing is damp dust surface with finely ground pastels to imitate sugar decoration; set pigments when dry with an acrylic spray fixative. To make the faux Madeira on the facing page, color a stable, non-yellowing epoxy with a transparent dye. Carefully mix to avoid bubbles and cast in reproduction glasses. Some beverages, like tea, can be replicated by inserting a disk of polyester film, tinted with dye washes, into a porcelain cup.

Sources for conservation products include: Gaylord Brothers, www.gaylord.com Talas, Inc., www.talasonline.com University Products, www.universityproducts.com

Answers to puzzle on page 15.

R D D Q U C X R K T S Q Y E

S

B R T

E

I

T O P J K I M N N C

T N J O D H T H O Q

A F A D C E C T T U

R K Y H T W D N I U

N M N E V O E K A B

D B E H T E E Q E X

1

2

3

4

H S I T J V C F L K

T A I L D A U Y R E

I O T P F W L A O R P C L O

X N E R M C P J E L

O V E T X I O S H N

P H P H C M S W Z K

David Carmack

from the appropriate period. The faux tea cakes shown on the facing page, part of the dessert course in the Otis House dining room in Boston, are copied from a still life painting by Raphael Peale. For these cakes I carved small flat-bottomed ovals out of polyethylene foam, coated them with several layers of water-based acrylic spackle, sanded and smoothed the surfaces with fine abrasives and solvents, painted them with washes of acrylic paint, and stenciled the tops with crushed colored chalks to imitate the sugar decoration. For the faux cantaloupe, shown in the kitchen at Beauport, SleeperMcCann House in Gloucester, Massachusetts, I began with a real melon and carved small balls out of the flesh to understand their texture and shape and to see how the color and sheen of the melon’s interior would

Winter/Spring 2009 Historic New England

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M U S E U M

S H O P

.Appetizers, Selections from historic New England’s latest publication, America’s Kitchens

T

o whet your appetite for Historic New England’s Year of the Kitchen, here are a few excerpts from this wonderful book. Crammed with colorful images, the book surveys the social, architectural, and technological history of kitchens across the country. It will enrich your understanding of how kitchens developed to the designs we see in our own homes today and enhance your enjoyment of the many kitchen-themed programs all over the region this year. Buy a copy for yourself for entertaining reading, give it to your friends, and be sure to participate in our year-long celebration. — Carl R. Nold, President and CEO

Kitchen Memories

The Cookstove The initial impetus behind the development of the cookstove was not to improve the cooking process but to achieve greater fuel efficiency…The cookstove served notice that the technological advances of the Industrial Revolution were now entering the home. This was a labor-saving device; it allowed better regulation of the heat and raised the work surface to a more comfortable height. Because stoves consumed less fuel than hearths, less time would be spent cutting and hauling wood. [However] its care resulted in new chores. Good housekeepers cleaned and blacked their stoves at least once a week; if they did not, the dust from the ashes quickly competed with emerging rust on the surface. With some regularity stoves would suddenly begin to smoke badly, which meant the stovepipe needed cleaning.

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Historic New England Winter/Spring 2009

Some women did not take readily to their role in the kitchen. In 1878 Hetty Morrison of Indianapolis wrote: “Not of my own free will did I enter upon a career of broiling, roasting, and baking.” She complained, “I wish to say that I think two-thirds of cook book makers should be hanged without benefit of clergy.” Morrison blamed men for demanding elaborate meals, commenting that left to their own devices, most women would be perfectly happy “with a few chocolate caramels and an occasional cup of tea.”


e ge V ill ag sy o f O ld St ur br id

“The complaints made of Irish girls are numerous and loud…yet, in arrest of judgment…let us imagine our own daughters between the ages of sixteen and twenty-four, untaught and inexperienced in domestic affairs, shipped to a foreign shore to seek service in families. It may be questioned whether, as a whole, they would do much better. [These Irish] girls…are often the age of our own daughters, standing for themselves without mothers to guide them, in a foreign country, not only bravely supporting themselves, but sending home in every ship remittances to impoverished friends left behind. If our daughters did as much for us, would we not be proud of their energy and heroism?” – Catharine Beecher and Harriet Beecher Stowe, The American Woman’s Home, 1869

Order copies of America’s Kitchen online at www.HistoricNewEngland.org or call (617) 227-3956. Member price $31.45; nonmember price $34.95 (plus applicable tax, shipping, and handling).

The Hearth

C o ur te

Servants

Housewives generally rose early to rekindle the fire on the kitchen hearth, using bellows to coax a flame from embers hidden under banked ashes the night before. Building and managing fires was second nature. A fire that was not well supplied with air or fuel was in danger of going out, in which case someone would have to ignite some tinder with a spark from a flint and steel or go to a neighbor’s house to borrow live coals. Most women had a comfort and familiarity with fire that allowed them to work safely around the hearth. Clothes in this period were usually made of wool and linen rather than more flammable cotton, so if women’s clothing did catch a spark, it smoldered rather than flared.

Designing Kitchens for Efficiency The Hoosier cabinet appeared at the turn of the twentieth century and soon became an emblem of the mass-marketed efficient kitchen. In a competitive field, the Hoosier was the most recognized brand; two million cabinets were in use by 1920. At a time when few households could afford servants, the Hoosier was advertised as, “the kitchen cabinet that saves miles of steps.” [It] was a bridge between the old kitchen, with separate pantries, closets, and tables, and the modern kitchen, with integrated cabinets, counters, sink, stove, and refrigerator.

“The fireplace was deep, and there was a ‘settle’ in the chimney corner, where three of us youngest girls could sit together and toast our toes on the andirons…while we looked up the chimney into a square of blue sky, and sometimes caught a snowflake on our foreheads.” –Lucy Larcom, A New England Girlhood, 1889

Winter/Spring 2009 Historic New England

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David Bohl

C O N S E R V A T I O N

Caring for a Castle

T

he imposing 1807 mansion Castle Tucker in Wiscasset, Maine, occupies a commanding position on a bluff overlooking a tidal inlet far below. Its fashionable Victorian interiors constitute a rare survival of nineteenth-century furnishings without additions or restorations. The property’s exposed site and dramatic two-story glassed-in “piazza,” however, have made it vulnerable to winter winds and dampness, which have taken their toll over the years on the furnishings and interior surfaces. Following a condition survey carried out by a team of staff and outside conservators, the Institute of Museum and Library Services awarded Historic New England a two-year grant to correct environmental problems in the building and to treat many of the objects.

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Historic New England Winter/Spring 2009

For the past several years, Historic New England has made extensive improvements to the environment inside the house and carefully conserved the collections and interior finishes. The Property Care staff installed UV light filters on windows, repaired areas where moisture was penetrating, and installed new heaters and dehumidifiers in the basement, which help to control the temperature and humidity throughout the house. Meanwhile, staff and contract conservators focused on the collections and interiors. The suite of parlor furniture, which still has its original upholstery from the 1850s, was treated to protect the fabric and reduce some of the appearance of wear. The plaster busts of notables such as Daniel Webster, John C. Calhoun, and Henry Clay were

conserved to treat flaking paint. All in all, more than one hundred different objects from the house were conserved. After the environmental issues at the house had been addressed and the objects treated, a team of conservators arrived to work on the interior woodwork and wallpaper. One area that demanded their attention was the oak grain painting on the staircase and door frames in the central hall, which had begun to crack and flake off. The conservators re-adhered loose and flaking paint with a synthetic water-soluble resin, then inpainted the voids with dry pigments and acrylic emulsion paints. The team also treated the hall’s handsome diamond-patterned mahogany and maple parquet floor. Age and wear have muted the woods’ contrasting colors. Dirt, as well as layers of wax and finish, had long ago obscured even these muted colors. Using an environmentally friendly solvent, the team removed the old wax and degraded finish and then cleaned the wood with a biodegradable, neutral pH cleaner. Finally, they applied a water-based polyurethane varnish to preserve the muted original colors and protect the floor. The conservation team also worked on the parlor wallpaper, which had been hung in the 1880s. The paste had failed, and the paper was coming off


the walls. Using long polyethylene spatulas, the conservators separated the paper from the walls in continuous sheets. They then placed the sheets on work tables and lined them with tinted Japanese tissue paper, using wheat starch paste. This part of the treatment required the utmost delicacy to keep the front of the paper from getting wet, because the wallpaper pigments were water soluble; if moisture penetrated to the front, the design could easily smear. Next, the conservators lined the plaster walls with a layer of Japanese tissue. When both wallpaper and walls were completely dry, the team applied paste to the walls, misted the back of the wallpaper with water, and using transparent polyester sheets to handle the paper without touching its surface, positioned it on the wall and secured it by pressing it against the wall with long wallpaper brushes. Lastly, the conservators used acrylic emulsion paints to tone down the liner in places where the wallpaper was missing, making the losses virtually disappear. This summer, conservators will treat two more walls in the parlor; in the meantime, they have stabilized loose sections with stainless steel push pins (as illustrated in the winter 2008 issue of Historic New England magazine).

The work of the conservation team has helped Castle Tucker look once more the way it did when Molly and Captain Richard Tucker still lived there. Watch for another article on Castle Tucker in the next issue of the magazine, and plan your visit to see its transformation and learn the interesting story of the Tucker family. —John Childs Conservator

Castle Tucker, Wiscasset, Maine. BOTTOM Plaster bust of John C. Calhoun, before and after consolidation of flaking paint. THIS PAGE, CLOCKWISE FROM TOP Faux oak grain painting from the central staircase, before and after consolidation and inpainting. Associate Conservator Michaela Neiro and Preservation Maintenance Coordinator Josh Wright line original wallpaper with Japanese tissue to consolidate and strengthen it. Conservator John Childs removes original wallpaper from the parlor walls. Parlor chair with original 1850s upholstery, before and after conservation.

FACING PAGE, TOP

Winter/Spring 2009 Historic New England

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A C Q U I S I T I O N S

Modern at the Beach

M

y grandfather, Jacob Schultz, purchased this Eames LCW (Lounge Chair Wood) chair as part of the furnishings for the modern beach house he designed and built for his family in 1955. He was a prac-

tical and creative man, who had trained as an architect and owned a construction company. Dapper, handsome, mischievous, and brimming with style, he intended his summer house to be a departure from the formality of city life. The primary family home, which he also designed and built, had modern elements in its exterior and stylish innovations inside, like curved cove ceilings with recessed lighting in the living room, but was largely furnished with traditional, formal “brown furniture.” I imagine that for the family’s summer getaway, he was drawn to the then radical innovations which the LCW chair represented. Adapted from technology developed by Charles Eames

during the Second World War to make molded plywood splints for wounded soldiers, the LCW chair rejected historical revival style in favor of practicality, comfort, and organic beauty. With its bentwood seat and flexible back, the chair responded to the movements of the sitter. It was mass produced, affordable, stylish, and sculptural—a suitable perch on which my grandfather relaxed and enjoyed the pleasures of summer life while savoring the last word in modern design. —Andrew Spindler-Roesle Andrew Spindler-Roesle, who recently donated the chair to Historic New England, is the owner of Andrew Spindler Antiques in Essex, Massachusetts.

LCW chair, designed in 1945–46 by the husband and wife design team Charles and Ray Eames.

LEFT

141 Cambridge Street Boston MA 02114-2702

Non-Profit Organization U.S. Postage PAID Boston, Massachusetts Permit No. 58621

Historic New England Winter-Spring 2009  

Celebrating kitchens and exploring the Brutalist architecture of Boston's City Hall. Subscribe to the print edition by becoming a member at...

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