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About the Photos

Most of the photos on this site were extracted from reference images (high-resolution tiffs, 20 to 200 megabytes in size) from the Library of Congress research archive. (To query the database click here.) Many were digitized by LOC contractors using a Sinar studio back. They are adjusted by your webmaster for contrast and color in Photoshop before being downsized and turned into the jpegs you see here.

 
 
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VINTAGRAPH • WPA • WWII • LAKE GARDA, ITALY

Windsor Shades: 1935

Windsor Shades: 1935

1935. King William County, Virginia. "Waterville, vicinity of Sweet Hall." Built by Tidewater planter James Ruffin in 1794 on the Pamunkey River, this home served as a tavern for Ruffin's Ferry. Currently known as Windsor Shades. 8x10 inch safety negative by Frances Benjamin Johnston for the Carnegie Survey of the Architecture of the South. One of thousands of large-format images of dilapidated mansions, decaying farmhouses and tipsy cabins recorded by this pioneering photographer as she traveled the South during the Depression, documenting a fast-disappearing inventory of Early American architecture. View full size.

 

This Old House

A retired hospital administrator named Carl Fischer bought the place in 1998 and renovated the house.

1. The renovation.
2. A history of the house. (Scroll down)

Cozy!

That little alcove between the chimneys must have been a nice place on a cold night.

I'm Watching

The dog just stands guard as if to say "OK photographer, you're close enough."

I think these old structures are awesome. I like the lines and the massive sise of the building. I imagine many small rooms behind those windows with a large kitchen at the fireplace.

Nice shot. Wanting to see more.

Tidewater Titillation

This is an exhilarating example of Tidewater architecture. The chimneys are amazing! They're also vulnerable to deterioration as evidenced by obvious signs of rebuilding. Note that the chimney stacks begin in Flemish Bond and terminate in Common Bond. Original features include the 9 over 9 first floor front sash and 9 over 6 elsewhere. The horizontal bars in the basement windows are also original. Nineteenth century alterations include a "Greek Revivalization" of the front entry and flanking windows with their corner blocks. Truly a remarkable image. I'd love to poke around inside.

Connected

There's no electric line in sight, but at least there's a phone line so they can call the fire department.

Needs Tuckpointing

But the doghouse entrance on this end is generous.

Still Standing

The website for the King George County Historical Society displays current photos of Waterville and Sweet Hall, among others. Many of these wonderful manses have disappeared, yes, but many are still extant. I love this place. Great photo.

Winter bedroom

Dibs on the bedroom between the chimneys during the winter.

Flemish Bond Chimney Stacks

Windsor Shades is still standing and listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It was recently restored and wings were added to either end of the building (source).

Description of the architecture at http://www.kingwilliamhistory.org:

Windsor Shades, also known as Waterville, is a strikingly handsome, little-altered Tidewater planter's house situated on the Pamunkey River about ten miles above West Point. The house sits in a small open area between the river and a pond and is shielded from the public road by a stand of evergreen trees . The dwelling is a story and a half, five bay, gambrel roofed structure built of frame, covered with beaded weatherboards and set on a low, English-bond brick basement. The feature for which the house is renowned is the massive Flemish bond brick chimney stacks at either end. The east chimneys consist of double stacks with three sets of tiled weatherings on each and with a two-story pent between them. In the basement there is an unusually large cooking fireplace topped by a segmental arch. The fireplace is served by the south flue of the east chimneys.

 
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Shorpy.com | History in HD is a vintage photo blog featuring thousands of high-definition images from the 1850s to 1950s. The site is named after Shorpy Higginbotham, a teenage coal miner who lived 100 years ago.

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