Arlington House – kitchen garden – house – north slave quarters – Arlington National Cemtery – 2012

By | February 17, 2018

Some cool cool home interior images:

Arlington House – kitchen garden – house – north slave quarters – Arlington National Cemtery – 2012
cool home interior
Image by Tim Evanson
Standing along the north-west edge of the kitchen garden, looking southeast at Arlington House (the Robert E. Lee Memorial) at Arlington National Cemetery near Washington, D.C., in the United States. The North Slave Quarters are to the right. The open field is the former kitchen garden.

Arlington House was the first temple-form home built in the United States. Arlington House was built by George Washington Parke Custis, adopted son of George Washington, in 1803. George Hadfield, who also partially designed the United States Capitol, designed the mansion. The north wing was constructed first, and shortly thereafter the south wing began to be built. Hadfield’s design for the center portion of the house meant that the facade of the north wing was rebuilt to match that of the rest of the house. The north and south wings were completed between 1802 and 1804, but the large center section and portico were not finished until 1817. There are eight Doric pillars each in the front, each pillar five feet in diameter. Each pillar is covered in plaster, and the plaster painted to look like marble.

As the house was built beginning in 1802, so were two slave quarters. The two-story brick structures were set perpendicular to the main house and formally aligned with it. They are Neoclassical in design, with pebble-dash stucco exteriors. The facades facing inward toward the yard (not visible in this image) were plain, but the facades facing outward toward the gardens (which you can see here) were formally decorated in a Neoclassical style and highly ornamented.

The two-story Northern Slave Quarters was built on the edge of a ravine to the west of the house, and "banked" so that much more of the northern foundation was visible. The north face of this building originally featured nine windows, a curving arch recessed into the wall about a foot, and four Doric pilasters under the arch. Three doors on the south side provided access to the two interior rooms of this building. Each door had a panel above it on which were painted hunting scenes. The eastern half of the first floor was a summer kitchen — a kitchen with little insulation and good ventilation which would be used in hot summer months (rather than the indoor or "winter" kitchen) so that the main house would stay cool. The western half of the building was used as living quarters for the African slave who served as coachman and storage space for gardening tools, and also contained a steep narrow ladder-stairs providing access to the second floor. The windowless upper story contained three rooms which were used as slave housing. Fireplaces in the east and west ends of the structure provided heat.

George Washington Parke Custis died in 1857, leaving the Arlington estate and house to his eldest daughter, Mary Custis Lee — wife of General Robert E. Lee.

The land on which the kitchen garden sits was originally a steep ridge, but was regraded during the construction of the house into a flat surface. G.W.P. Custis added the kitchen garden in 1840. Extending north of Arlington House for about 200 feet, the kitchen garden grew fruits and vegetables for consumption by the family and its slaves. The kitchen garden was roughly 90 feet wide, and a central path (aligned with the central path in the flower garden to the south) lined with fruit trees ran along its north-south long axis. No other trees grew in the kitchen garden, although a line of tall, mature trees (part of the native forest north of the house) screened it to the northwest and north. The kitchen garden was surrounded by a post-and-rail fence, and a gate faced with pickets and guarded on either side by barberry bushes was centered in the south side. The kitchen garden was planted primarily with vegetables, and may have included herbs (although no archeological evidence for this had been found as of 2001).

In the 1880s, a potting shed and a greenhouse were built in the eastern half of the kitchen garden. The 110 foot-by-30 foot greenhouse had a brick foundation and glass walls. The two-story potting building was made of brick and wood, had a hipped roof decorated with dentils along the underside and ventilation cupolas on each of the hip roof’s four sides. A road was built along the western and northern sides of the kitchen garden to provide access to these facilities. With the new greenhouse and potting building, the old greenhouse in the flower garden south of Arlington House was removed — allowing for the restoration of the flower garden.

The greenhouse was removed in 1930.

A public restroom was constructed adjacent to the north side of the North Slave Quarters about 1890, and a second one added in 1921. The 1890/1921 comfort station was renovated several times. It was demolished in 2010, and a new comfort station built north of the kitchen garden (behind a screen of hedges and plantings). The North Slave Quarters were extensively restored in 2010-2011 to be more historically accurate.

The potting shed was converted to a museum and museum shop in the 1950s.

Vintage garden book — “Better Homes and Gardens House Plants”
cool home interior
Image by sassycrafter
I got this fab book at the recent Alachua County Friends of the Library book sale. I just loved some of the interior shots. It was also cool to see that some gardening trends that I thought were new had actually been around for years!

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