St. Andrew’s

We made another stop at St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church in Prairieville, Alabama — it’s on the National Register and is very simple and striking. Good to see this Upjohn Gothic.

According to its application to the Register, it:

“is a country church believed to be designed by Richard Upjohn” and “was built in 1853 by slaves belonging to members of the church working under the direction of Peter Lee and Joe Glasgow, Master carpenters, who were slaves of Captain Henry A. Tayloe.” Episcopal services were held in Prairieville in 1834 and the church was consecrated in 1858 by the first Episcopal Bishop of Alabama.

It “served the planters of Perry, Hale, and Marengo counties of the Canebrake area and many baptisms of white families and slaves are recorded in the church annuals. After the War Between the States the number of parishioners steadily decreased because of removals, deaths, and a decline in the population of the community.”

“Around about 1950 the bishop of the diocese and suffragan bishop, in alternate years, began holding a service in St. Andrews’s Church on the fifth Sunday of a month late in the summer or early fall. These services are attended by people from far and near and, weather permitting,the congregation usually fills the church to capacity. As many more people, seated outside the building, hear the services through loudspakers. After worship is concluded, a picnic dinner is enjoyed under the shade of the trees in the church yard.”

“A stain brewed from the stems of tobacco plants was applied to the interior wood walls. No change has been made in the tobacco stain finish and it remains in an excellent state of preservation and has a mellowed appearance. The symbols and figures on the altar rail and elsewhere in the chancel were hand carved.”

“The exterior of the church, painted a red-brown color, is made of long wide boards with battened joints fastened vertically to the framework, and buttresses made of thick wooden boards spaced at appropriate intervals; its lancet windows and high pitched roof are features of the Gothic style of architecture.”

“There is some evidence that the present Gothic entrance replaces a high tower which was removed because of damage caused by decay and woodpeckers. With the exception of the removal of the tower and the construction of a chimney on the south side of the nave, the edifice stands exactly as it was when built.”

The cemetery has some interesting monuments, and this spring, a number of crawfish castles

Table tombs

The Historic American Buildings Survey (HABS AL-291) that photographer Alex Bush did on July 31, 1936 (no copyright restrictions on these images from the LOC), shows the interior.

There are still one or two services each year at the church (including a fall Homecoming). Beautiful.

Pointing Up

This is First Presbyterian Church in Port Gibson, Mississippi — we were there last year and always take pics of this church as it has this extraordinary golden hand pointing up to Heaven atop its steeple

Uncertain as to when in the mid/late 1800s it first made its appearance, but it was originally carved by a local named Daniel Foley. By 1901, it had been destroyed by time and weather, and the congregation commissioned a new hand, this one, to be installed. In 1989, it was taken down to be restored, and was reinstalled in 1990.

Difficult to see in this picture, but there are little pins atop the hand to keep birds from roosting on it. We stayed at a b and b once that had a telescope with which you could focus on the steeple (the inn is now closed). I understand the hand is about 18′ tall.

Inside the church hang chandeliers from the famous Robert E. Lee steamboat, and in the center of each is a representation of REL atop Traveller.
The only other church I know of with this feature is in Mooresville, Alabama. This is the 1839 Mooresville Brick Church

Hand atop steeple, pointing toward the heavens

Finger Pointing Toward Heaven, 1839 Mooresville Brick Church, Mooresville AL//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

1839 Brick Church, Mooresville, Alabama//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

This little town also has the cutest post office ever (with very abbreviated hours), dating back to 1840

Post Office, Mooresville AL//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

Post Office, Mooresville AL//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

Southern Living Idea House 2016

My friend Blair and I visited the Southern Living Idea House 2016 in the Mt Laurel community of the B’ham metro just before it closed this month. We thought it would be great, great fun — and we did have a good time — but while there were interesting touches, overall it was decorated very…mature. Some aspects were somewhat puzzling.

The living room was quite large, and anchored on each short wall by these great built-ins, but rather than being furnished as one large space, it had two opposite seating areas. It seems like something of a waste of all that room if you have fewer than five or six people in one of the areas using just half the room. Otherwise, you literally have your back to the people on the other couch.
Southern Living 2016 Idea House, Mt Laurel AL//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

Other half, literally facing the other direction. It’s not as though this room is huge, but it is a nice area, and pretty.

Lots of rug layering throughout.

Right off the living room, not separated by anything other than a door, is the master bedroom

…which has a really pretty master bath:

The master bath is something of a long space with the bathtub at the end, and a single sink on the left and right. On each side of the sink is a closet, and here, the shower, and on the other side is the spouse’s closet and the toilet room. Thing is, though, there’s very little storage here. Extra toiletries and such go where? Towels? Counterspace for morning routines? Hand towels for the sink are…?
Southern Living 2016 Idea House, Mt Laurel AL//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

The world isn’t done yet with shiplap. It’s all in the entryway, too. The stairway is really pretty, though.

This is a terrible pic, but it was interesting that the moulding was hung from the ceiling with a small gap, rather than crown moulding affixed at the top of the walls to the ceiling. The rooms with wallpaper had little flaps at the top where it was undoubtedly difficult to paper properly.
Southern Living 2016 Idea House, Mt Laurel AL//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

Also interesting was how low all the lighting switches were to the floor — approximately chair-rail height. Outlets were all done horizontally on the baseboards.

Another bedroom
Southern Living 2016 Idea House, Mt Laurel AL//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

lots of slanting walls in the bedrooms
Southern Living 2016 Idea House, Mt Laurel AL//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

Another bedroom, centered under the window with (again) more curtaining to the side to deal with the pitch, making no room for a night table on the left or right.

This room was heavily draped — presumably to work with the slants of the walls.

There are just so many slanting walls upstairs that it’s something to think about. The second floor looks great from the outside, but inside, these rooms have so much square footage consumed with areas in which people can’t stand up straight.

The entrance to each bedroom had its own closet, which was interesting.

Another upstairs bedroom, decorated in an especially mature fashion.

I didn’t take a picture of the ‘pajama room’ (that’s what the volunteer called it) upstairs — what could have been an upstairs office or small bedroom (though no closet, and again, heavy slanting of the walls) had just a *lot* of furniture with giraffe-meets-cheetah wallpaper and the same for the upholstery. I didn’t get a picture of the pajama room because a couple of women were sitting in it talking about how odd it was with one of the home’s volunteers. It likely would have been more successful as an office. On the other hand, this was set up as an ‘idea house’ not a ‘move in tomorrow house’ — so for people with teenagers and an extra room with no other purpose, it would work.

Back downstairs — in the entrance hall

Southern Living 2016 Idea House, Mt Laurel AL//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

Here, the laundry room which was seemingly made for giants, as with the generous width of the tall counter here, we could only barely reach the handles of the cabinets above.
Southern Living 2016 Idea House, Mt Laurel AL//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

The kitchen.
Southern Living 2016 Idea House, Mt Laurel AL//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

I like the idea that Bill Ingram, who is the architect and designer of this room and the next, has about the kitchen looking like another room rather than some showcase of appliances. Still, this kitchen is so completely dark and oppressive
Southern Living 2016 Idea House, Mt Laurel AL//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

The kitchen opens to this seating area which was, again, heavily upholstered

even with circus-tent style ceiling

Here, ’60s/’70s canasta?/bridge? table set next to the ’80s stark-white console with the ceramic animal-footed bowl. Under the circus tent.

When we were leaving, the volunteer at the front door asked what we thought, and we were very kind about how lovely the home was, just mentioning that we would have furnished the room off the kitchen differently. She said that she thought that room was crazy because all the drapery in that room was going to absorb the odors/oils/dust/etc from the kitchen. Didn’t even think of that, but true.

Lastly, the dining room by the front door, which was very traditional but perhaps the most modern with the colorful paintings and mix of patterns.

A foggy, rainy day, but here’s the home — and all that pitch on the second floor.

Wish SL would perhaps give the designers more direction to go modern, little less ‘concept’ and a little more ‘useful/clever’. There were ideas here, though — the light switches were lower than eye level, the outlets were in the baseboards, and it was interesting that the closets were in each bedroom’s entryway so as not to take up space in the room proper for doors.

Here, the official tour, which gives another great idea of how the home flows

Louisiana Old Capitol Museum, Baton Rouge — And Its Glass

Louisiana’s Old State Capitol Museum was a very short walk from the downtown Baton Rouge Hilton

Old Capitol Museum, Baton Rouge LA//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

It was built when the capital was decided to be moved here from New Orleans, from 1847-49. The design, neo-Gothic castle, was both loved and hated. James H. Dakin, the architect, called it “castellated Gothic”.

From the Historic Register paperwork:
Like a cathedral, the Capitol has a cruciform plan. The east-west axis
is comparable to a nave and contains the House chamber on the west end
at the second floor and the Senate chamber in the apse, each with a giant
stained glass window behind the now vanished rostrum. The transepts
continue in use as office space. Each arm of the plan terminates in two
towers; those at the west are octagonal, the others square.

It suffered many destructive phases, including being used as a prison during the war. In the 1880s, the interior was redone, which is when the gorgeous interior rotunda was designed by architect William A. Freret.

It was used until the state government moved to the new capitol building in 1932.

One of the more unexpected aspects is the approximately 12-minute kitschy 4D film that explains its history.

There’s of course plenty about Huey P. Long,

One more intimate room plays ‘In Memoriam’, an original by Castro Carazo, composed for and played at Huey Long’s funeral. The room includes the pistol supposedly used to shoot Long, and this bullet mystery:
Old Capitol Museum, Baton Rouge LA//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

It’s no wonder that the space is often rented out for weddings and other big celebrations

Old Capitol Museum, Baton Rouge LA//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

What serve now as ballrooms were the spaces for the House and Senate
Old Capitol Museum, Baton Rouge LA//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

Crystal Ice House, Pensacola

Crystal Ice House in Pensacola (2024 Davis St), built in 1932 and on the National Register.
Crystal Ice House, Pensacola FL//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js
According to the National Register file, it was designed and built by Steve Fulghum, and is a “very unusual example of “Roadside Commercial” architecture” built of concrete block with stucco. The design was done in such a way so that the building could function as a drive-thru, and there’s a sign (top-middle of the front, can barely be seen now) that shows hand signals people could use to denote how much ice they’d like to purchase.

Blue

We always see this pretty blue church in Houston, near Ninfa’s on Navigation.
Jesucristo todo Poderoso Church, Houston TX//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

If you look at the sign super-closely, in those mailbox sticker letters (the kind you can get at Home Depot or Lowe’s) they list their clergy using three different Hebrew names for the Almighty.

Pretty Pensacola

This is the “Dome of a Home” at Pensacola Beach. The home’s shape helps it deflect a lot of the damage from incoming storms – there’s a lot more about it at their website, here. Oh! And you can rent it for vacations, too!

This is the Spaceship home on the beach, which is a Futuro house – there’s more about Futuros here.