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Friday, July 18, 2014

VINTAGE MICHIGAN HOUSE PHOTO -- THOUGHTS


Early settlement home in Harrison, Michigan
circa late 1800s

I found the above black and white photo on cardboard many years ago in the state of my birth -- Michigan. Printed on the photo were the words Harrison, Michigan but did not identify the family. Although taken many years before I was born it still resonates with me. I like that it speaks to me of my interests -- vernacular homes, history, Michigan, early photography, family/folks, landscapes and more. 

It was common, when this photo was taken, to have itinerant traveling photographers knock on your door asking if you would like a photo taken. If you agreed, he (not known if women took to this trade), dragged out his big tripod and huge glass plate camera and the household gathered before their home and soon they were frozen in time via a photograph. 

Today, a photo is taken in an instance with film or as digital. The way of life for those many glass plate itinerant photographers disappeared with these advances. 

I have moved recently to Portland Oregon. Can't say how many times I have moved around the country since I was young except to say MANY times. 

Now I am my own itinerant photographer taking my own photos with my own digital camera as I move about.

Below are a few shots of my current "new to me" home.


Mount Hood taken from computer work space window

Apartment complex was built in 1941 by a German immigrant architect -- it still feels like it probably did when it was first built. Not a large complex -- it is surrounded by mature trees and prolific gardens.  Several windows look out toward Mt Hood. 



Apartment gardens



Apartment's wood floors

Would love to find some old photos of this place. Will be doing some snooping around the area to see if there are any to be found. Maybe the Oregon Historical Society might have some?

19 comments:

  1. I like the historical photo and I find it interesting that the man of the house, along with his son (?), are sitting quite a bit apart from the women and young girl. The floors in your apartment speak of quality and craftsmanship. Things meant to last.

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    1. Michelle -- you are very observant. I missed that point and I've looked at this photo a hundred times or more. I wonder why the photo was set up this way. The floors here are beautiful -- I have area rugs to put over them to keep them that way. Let the wood show around the edges. Since its a rental we have to be diligent not to wreck their beauty. thanks for the nice comment -- barbara

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  2. What a treasure. I assume you live here. Did you "just find" it, or did you know of it before you moved: I have no idea how the rounded openings are formed (and maintained!), but the baseboard must be steam bent wood.

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    1. Joanne -- You assume right -- I now live here in this Portland apartment. This year has been the year of moves for me. I'm tired of moving. The apartment was listed on craigs list. I agree about the bentwood baseboard around the the rounded corners. The wall corners are rounded and the height of the ceiling is 12 feet high. Lots of reeded woodwork around the windows. Real plaster walls -- remember those. Fun place to live. At least so far. Really not all moved in -- have some things still in Vancouver that needs to come over here. Will get settled eventually. Lots to learn about this area. thanks -- barbara

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  3. I have an old photo much like the one you posted above of my grandmother and mother in front of a house. It was taken around 1920.
    How interesting that your complex was built in 1941and still has the same feel to it. Love the beautiful floors. Are the rooms smaller than the rooms built today? What a spectacular view! How do you like Portland? My daughter would love to move back there.

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    1. Florence -- So many old photos put house and folks together or folks and barns. I have some photos of pet dogs with the folks and some with horses and folks -- all in front of a house or barn. I am sure other animals have been in some of these old photos. The rooms seem to be roomy especially the living area which is now used as a computer work space largely. I've broken from that old way of dividing up living areas. Did not know your daughter lived in Portland. I am just learning about it. I did live in Oregon years ago and liked it -- around Corvallis. Lots to learn here -- barbara

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  4. I love all the photos you posted above. I have been learning the art of research recently. I am enjoying it immensely. I find all you have to do is express an interest in something and people want to help. I'm confident you will end up with more photos than you can shake a tripod at. I found the simplicity of the rocker and the wood floor to be a calming capture.

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    1. John -- the rocker photo is from the first day of occupancy. Still have not settled in with my "stuff." Moved so many times this year!! Trying to find just the right spot. You are finding lots of info about people from your area. -- barbara

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  5. That looks very nice. I'm glad you've found something like that.

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    1. Hattie -- Houses carry so much meaning. Wonderful to research them. I once owned an 1844 house where one of the occupants ended up in Andersonville prison during the Civil War and lived to eventually have his photo taken with the old 1844 house in the background which I still have. thanks for commenting -- barbara

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  6. What a great new adventure you are on!! What a lovely view from your apartment. How did you find it? I also really love the story that older photo tells. They all got on their Sunday best, the house was new and that little girl standing on the chair is the icing on the cake!

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    1. Tabor -- found this apartment on craigs list. Management had just listed it. Got to be quick for a good apartment in this area. I've collected old photos for many years. Sold many that I wish I still had -- but then -- I get to hunt for more. -- thanks for commenting -- barbara

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  7. My grandparents were born in Michigan just at the turn of the century. When we lived there I got to visit the home where my grandfather was born, so your photo resonates with me too. I wonder why the family arranged themselves in those separate groups like that.

    What a wonderful view you have of Mt. hood!

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    1. Melissa -- Michigan has changed so much from when I lived there. I lived by Detroit then which was a hoping vibrant city. Now it is a sad place. Also the fracking industry is ruining much of Michigan's natural water sources that are located in northern Michigan. But I still have a soft spot in my heart for Michigan. As I sure you do as your grandparents lived there. Love my view of Mount Hood. -- thanks -- barbara

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  8. My sister lives in Lake Oswego. Did I tell you that?
    Let's get some photographs hanging on those walls.

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    1. Birdman -- I now know where Lake Oswego is -- checked it out on the google map. I am not very adventurous on the roads as of yet. I thought Vancouver had heavy traffic until I moved here. Portland is one crazy traffic place -- bridges and more bridges plus lots of non-grid roadways. Takes some getting used to -- but the city is beautiful. thanks -- barbara

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  9. Barbara, what a joy that photo is for you: a connection to so much that is a part of you!
    That is the view from you window???????? I don't think I would ever leave!! (In non-leaf seasons I have a view of the Bay & sometimes I love to just linger & gaze...) The starkness of the interior wood floor & rocker seem to reflect your sensibilities & your attraction to simple, traditional ways of American life...I was just talking with a friend about the renewal that comes with moving...

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    1. Rita--- I can understand lingering and taking in the beauty of a view. Have you posted photos of your Bay? Mt Hood seems mystical to me. Yes, the view is from my apartment. Tonight I watched the sun set on it -- turning it a soft rose color. Each time I look out my window I see a different look to Mt Hood. I have taken quite a few photos of its many phases. I am not completely moved in -- taking my time -- will still keep it simple though. thanks for your very nice comment -- barbara

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  10. Wow, what beautiful floors and a beautiful view ... sounds and looks like a great adventure!

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