Growing trees Friday, May 2 2014 

Over the years, the hedgerows have steadily gotten taller.  It is good in some ways, for it blocks the various lights, houses, and noise.  On the other hand, the hills are rather elegant.  You can’t see either the far ridge (about 15 miles away)  or the closer hills at all these days.  This photo was taken in 1962:



Mid-Atlantic Harbor Scene Saturday, Apr 26 2014 

August, 1909

From the archives, just for the fun of it.


Card Games Saturday, Apr 12 2014 

Circa 1920.  Do note the tea cups, with saucers, and sugar bowls! I am not entirely sure of who the people are; it is possibly Bradford Ellsworth and Juliet Inness.  But that is a guess. Note as well that the house still had the narrow wooden clapboards painted green rather than today’s larger, white asbestos. The change to the perceived size and weight of the house was unfortunate, on the other hand the paint bill is a lot smaller.  If one had unlimited cash….


A summer day at Ticonderoga, 1908 Monday, Mar 31 2014 

At the time, Fort Ticonderoga was a total ruin and not yet a park and very far from the meticulously restored set of buildings that it is today; however, it had become a stopping point for interested tourists in the Champlain/Hudson River valley.


The photographer is probably George Creevey. The woman sitting up is Lucy Ellsworth Creevey. I’d have to look in the log for trip to figure out who the other two people are.  They were taking a leisurely trip up the Hudson River, through Lake Champlain, the Richelieu River, and up to the Saguenay River in Quebec on their motor yacht, Mavourneen. Classic tourism of the time period.


East Lawn in 1953 Friday, Mar 28 2014 

I mentioned in a comment that weddings of people who lived at Esperanza sometimes took place on the east lawn, up through the 1930’s.  Here is a photograph of the location.  The Norway Spruce framing the picture on the left is gone, taken down about 15 years ago after one too many lightning strikes.  The one on the right still stands, at nearly 110 feet tall.  The lawn has been shrunk, it now stops at the big Norway rather than at the far spruces.  The grove of spruces has shifted a bit as well, the center and right spruces are both gone so the deliberate symmetry no longer exists.

date uncertain

The Ginkgo Tree Tuesday, Feb 25 2014 

The big one that is, as opposed to the other one, which isn’t small but is smaller.

Here it is in 1905-1910* on the right hand side of the picture, standing out nicely against the dark conifers behind it.  You can see that it already has a very upright growth pattern rather than a spreading one.  I believe that it was planted in 1893-94, when the north end of the house was completed.  WWE and family were, at the time, living in New York City. The ginkgo was a commonly planted tree in Central Park and along the streets; to stretch for meaning a bit, it was a tree that signified a modern and cosmopolitan culture along with an interest in exotic botany.  I wouldn’t be at all surprised if it was the first ginkgo planted in the town, though how I’d go about finding that out…


Here it is in 2013, the size has changed, but the growth pattern has not:



*I have an exact date, but like an idiot I didn’t put it into the computer…


Mystery Man Tuesday, Feb 4 2014 

For family members, I’d love some help with the ID of this distinguished looking chap.  It is not George Creevey.  The girl is Eileen Creevey (Hall), so the date is 1916-1920 ish. (update, almost certainly 1916)  The location is somewhere around here.

For everyone else, any guesses on the car or rifle would be nice!


It is an oddly fascinating photo, I find at least.

50 years apart Thursday, Jan 23 2014 

I couldn’t quite get the same photo angle, what I ought to do is go out and exactly retake some of the early photos. But it is interesting to look at these two photos.  The first is from 1961, the second from 2011:


Moving from L to R: you can see two low branches of the Gingko in the upper left, since pruned out.  Behind that is the white pine which came down in two pieces during the 1990’s; the garden area (mid left) appears to be largely an overgrown thicket, just off left-center midground is a young blue spruce, that never flourished in what was much too wet and shady an area.  Directly behind it is a double trunk black cherry, removed in the mid 1990’s.  The small garden path between the cherry and the hemlock is visible, this remains today.  A particularly interesting tree is the small sapling in front of the hemlock.  This is the leaning oak, it is an important piece of the landscape today, but is still an awkward looking tree because it does lean.  However, it really is gangly in this photo.  To the right of the hemlock is a pine that came down in the 1990’s (we lost several in that decade, self-thinning).  The pillar has no euonymous bush on it.  The fringe tree on the far right still remains.


Not quite the same photo: You can see where those low gingko branches were finally taken off, much later than they should have been (when it became apparent a fire truck would not be able to get in the drive).  The garden and the area beyond the garden has regained a lot of structure.  Those maples are actually in the previous photo, but because of the overgrowth (mostly Norway Maple saplings) you couldn’t see them.  The hemlock on the right has not gotten much wider, though it has gotten taller; the thicket of dark shrubs to the hemlock’s left is where the black cherry was. The oak is the real change: all you can see is its trunk.  In front of that is a young Norway spruce planted about 8 years ago.

USS Macdonough DD-9 Thursday, Jan 16 2014 

pre WWI four stack destroyer

Frustrating mystery.  This ship was photographed off the Mid Atlantic coast (roughly near the Delaware) in August 1909.  Now, I thought it might be one of the three Truxtun class destroyers, the only ships that fit her profile even remotely (at least to my untrained eye).  But two of them were in the Pacific at that time; and the third was supposedly inactive.  And they don’t really quite seem to fit; the length of the stern and the close placement of the stacks is a bit off.

Any guesses anyone?

Ha! I think I found a possibility: the two Lawrence class torpedo boat destroyers.  Though it looks like something got changed on some of the deckwork, the stack placement is right. Furthermore, the USS Macdonough was in the right place at the right time!

Intrepid Photographers Monday, Jan 6 2014 

Somewhere on the St. Lawrence, summer of 1908, on the yacht Mavourneen.  Photographers taking photographs of each other never does get old.  Not sure who the subject is, I could look it up in the ship’s log.  (this is actually simply a scan of the original negative, converted on the computer)


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