Friday, July 29, 2011

Awesomest Image du Jour CXXV

Thanks to the great (and inquisitive) people at The Scout Project, I spent a few lovely minutes clicking through some wonderful, late 19th-century photographs (along with a handful of drawings) of Old Boston.  Here's one representative example (as always, click image to enlarge):

This is the Paul Revere House at 19-21 North Square in the North End, circa 1898 -- by then already almost 220 years old.  (Click here to see what it looks like today after it was completely restored to Revere's era.)

The Reveres owned this house from 1770 to 1800.  By the time the above photograph was taken, the structure had been greatly modified to serve as a tenement with a ground-floor commercial space.  Apart from its obvious historical importance, I love this image because it shows how what's old is new again.  We're finally re-learning operable windows (even upper sashes!) and shutters actually serve an important, very functional purpose; that Jane Jacobs was right when she reminded us that mixed-use makes for stronger, more cohesive neighborhoods; that even a slight overhang can provide useful shading.

Before the days of central heat and air, people had to be smart and practical; and now, in our era of expensive, dwindling and polluting fossil fuels, we must be again.

The helpful lessons aside, I really just wanted to share the pictures because they're click here to see the other 112 of them.  Enjoy!

[Source:  Boston Public Library via The Scout Project.]