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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 • STAY ONE JUMP AHEAD OF TROUBLE, 1945

Home Place: 1938

Home Place: 1938

St. Charles Parish, Louisiana, circa 1938. "Home Place. Hahnville vicinity." 8x10 inch acetate negative by Frances Benjamin Johnston. View full size.

 

Johnston's amazing gift

Did Frances Johnston ever write about how she selected the perspectives and views for her photographs? Was it just her natural "eye" for the shot? She picks the most illuminating views. For instance, the standard photo of this fine 18th Century Creole plantation house is the head-on, symmetrical one which we see in the portrait shots from the Anonymous Tipsters.

But Johnston has chosen a rear-yard shot that reveals the inner working of the plantation, along with the wear-and-tear of life itself. The detached kitchen, the chickens pecking under the porch, the pillars losing stucco, the brick path that vanishes, the graceful yet now unpainted columns original to the house ... all give us a more vivid image of domestic life in that home more than any book could have ever done.

[She shot many views of each house. Lots of them including a finger in front of the lens. - Dave]

Still standing

This looks like one of those casually wonderful plantations, nestled among the chemical plants, that make the drive along the river from New Orleans to Baton Rouge a beautiful but occasionally startling experience.

[Birthplace of Howard Johnson! - Dave]

Columns and kitchens

Anonymous Arkie is right; love the columns, but I have some questions about the brick ones holding up the house. Again we have a semi-detached kitchen.

Southern Decay

"Home-Place is a near perfect example of a raised Creole plantation house." More here.

Woodstove owner's opinion

The two chunks of firewood lying on the ground in the foreground -- someone was splitting firewood there and decided they had enough wood for the moment. The rest of the firewood is stowed where it will stay dry, under the veranda and under the attached building at right (summer kitchen?)

Beautiful Home Place

Home Place, built in the 1790s, is one of the oldest plantation houses in Louisiana. It hasn't been inhabited in many years, and is in a state of advanced decay. Here's the house from a distance (via Google Images):

http://www.asergeev.com/pictures/archives/compress/2006/559/06.htm

Four years ago, I was working on a film shoot down the road, and our trucks were were parked on the plantation grounds. The owner of Home Place, a genteel 85-year-old who'd grown up in the house, offered to take us inside to see the ground floor wine cellar. But our schedule was tight, and we didn't have time — something I've regretted ever since.

Scale

Those columns on the porch are superb; very fine proportions, hard to duplicate today.

 
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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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