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A Summer Place: 1906

A Summer Place: 1906

Ormond Beach, Florida, circa 1906. "Chaco Chulee, a summer cottage." 8x10 inch dry plate glass negative, Detroit Publishing Company. View full size.


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Ah, the anesthesthetic balm of old age!

Well, I've stayed in meaner digs than these. But a good onshore breeze, while often intolerably humid, cleared out most of the skeeters. Even the ones afraid to carry you home where the 'Big Skeeters' might take you away! Oh, That looks like a 'Honey Bucket', out front. Usually emptied by poor Blacks, these buckets served as an indoor outhouse in most cabins up to the sixties.

Why all the bellyaching

Look at the surroundings: this is semi-arid coastal scrub (sadly, it's almost all gone now), so the mosquito threat is minimal, even in summer. Those leaning pines mean a steady wind off the Atlantic, which would make the heat more than bearable, especially at night. You got your path down to the beach, your baby banana trees, your "shooting positively prohibited" sign - looks like Paradise to me.

Of course, that's also prime rattler habitat.

Pre-Bug Spray

This picture makes me itchy.

Not in summer, thank you very much!

I would not have had the courage to make a summer visit on any of Florida's beach communities in the years before mosquito control.

They still, on islands like Cayo Costa that feature salt marshes and no mosquito management, will eat you alive.

Scorpions and coral snakes, oh my

This looks so unprotected from the local wildlife. My father was in Florida in 1947 and when he opened his box of shirts fresh from the laundry, a scorpion jumped out. I would be unable to rest in this open abode.

What you don't see

The picture makes the scene look quaint, as a lifelong resident of Florida I can tell you what a photograph cannot. The oppressive heat, the swarms of mosquitoes, the pesky feral hogs, rattlesnakes and scorpions. Florida before air conditioning was pure hell, it's not much better since then either.

Just So We're Clear

Shooting is positively prohibited. Got it. Is bludgeoning okay?

Looks remarkably similar

1886 Santa Lucia Plantation Cottage, built of palm logs.

Hugh C. Leighton Company #2293

According to Google, Chaco Chulee is best known for its appearance on a collectible postcard published by the Hugh Leighton Company of Portland, Maine. The caption reads:

"Chaco Chulee"
The House of the Pine Tree.
A Winter Camp on Santa Lucia Plantation.

Apparently there is a good deal of confusion regarding the location; some postcard dealers have taken the notion that this is somewhere in California or the Caribbean, despite the fact that the other cards in the 229x range all have "Ormond, Fla." in the title.

Looks like Florida to me.

Not in the house, Please

Yup, sign at the entrance is quite specific, "No Shooting."

Gotta be summer

I see clothes on the line to the left of the porch.

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