Thursday, October 20, 2016

Segregation Forms: Redlining


The University of Richmond's Digital Scholarship Lab has developed a fantastic resource that provides access to hundreds of so-called "security maps" created between 1935 and 1940. The product of the Home Owners' Loan Corporation [HOLC], the maps and area descriptions represent the neighborhood risk assessments generated by mortgage lenders, developers and real estate appraisers. HOLC's analyses were the basis for what came to be referred to as redlining, segregationist housing and real estate practices.

Image above: Wichita Mapping & Engineering Company. Wichita, Kansas. 29 May 1937. Robert K. Nelson, LaDale Winling, Richard Marciano, Nathan Connolly, et al. "Mapping Inequality," American Panorama, ed. Robert K. Nelson and Edward L. Ayers, accessed 20 October 2016, https://dsl.richmond.edu/panorama/redlining/#loc=5/36.704/-96.943&opacity=0.8.

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Linoleum

The S.P. Dinsmoor Residence located in Lucas, Kansas contains some fine examples of early twentieth-century sheet linoleum. The parlor features a printed woven pattern (above) and the upstairs area has a floral-foliate motif (below). Varnished by successive property owners, the linoleum has darkened and is highly reflective.
By about 1910, American linoleum was frequently being made with linseed oil (derived from flax) and "lumber flour" (pulverized sawdust).(1) The product was considered sanitary, and thus was also used to line pantry shelves and protect kitchen tables.(2)  Blabon's and Cork's were two period manufacturers. Their products were priced by grade and sold in different patterns. To preserve one's flooring, home economists recommended polishing the surface with skim milk and a flannel cloth, then allowing it to dry completely.(3)

(1)Cork flour was a more expensive (and traditional) element. Lumber flour was also utilized in making a less expensive dynamite. See:  "Make Flour From Lumber." Hutchinson Daily News 7 December 1909.

(2)"Of Feminine Interest." Lawrence Journal World 25 December 1907.

(3)"Clever Ways of Doing Things." Belleville Telescope 17 May 1907.

Images above: Flooring, S.P. Dinsmoor Residence, Lucas, Kansas, as photographed 1.10.2016 by K. Rylance.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Experimental Silos

In 1909, University of Nebraska graduate Claude Harrison Hinman (1879-1967) began teaching classes for Kansas Agricultural College Farmers' Institute. Traveling along the Santa Fe Railroad and communicating from a boxcar, Hinman lectured to regional farmers as part of the institution's "dairy train."(1) He assisted Professor J. Kendall with an experimental silo comprised of staves and a thin cement wall.(2)

E.H. Webster, then director of the Kansas Experiment Station, heralded cylindrical silos over their rectangular predecessors, claiming that the latter resulted in spoilage.(3) The college promoted silo construction in various extension services.  Hinman wrote a substantial bulletin devoted to the topic and the Extension Department mailed it without charge to anyone who was a member of a farmers' institute. In addition, the college offered Hinman's expertise to any farmer willing to cover his railroad ticket and lodging. Thus, Hinman helped to erect silos in Augusta, Herington, Hiattville, Linwood, Mulvane, Tonganoxie and Wellington. These were chiefly comprised of plastered cement or concrete on metal lath, a type that had first been developed by the United States Department of Agriculture (below).(4)

During the 19-teens, Hinman moved to Colorado and established a commercial silo operation. The Hinman Silo Company had its earliest offices on Champa Street in downtown Denver. Catering to wealthier farmers, Hinman sold vitrified hollow tile and salt-glazed tile silos. He also offered barn plans. The business seems to have flourished until the Great Depression, when the Hinmans relocated to Mesa.

One of my favorite experimental silos is the Peavey-Haglin, located in metropolitan Minneapolis, Minnesota and listed on the National Register.

(1)"Now a Dairy Train." Emporia Gazette (15 October 1909).

(2)"Local Notes." The Kansas Industrialist 36:24  (23 April 1910).

(3)"Rectangular Silos Fail." The Kansas Industrialist 37:14 (7 January 1911).

(4)Prof. G.C. Wheeler. "The Concrete-Metal Silo Is Satisfactory to Kansas Farmers." Emporia Gazette (17 March 1911).

Images:  "The Perfect Silo." Western Farm Life XIX:3 (1 February 1917) and C.H. Hinman, photographer. "Plastered Cement on Metal Lath Silo in Process of construction" as it appears in H.E. Dvorachek. "Silos and Silage in Colorado." Colorado Agricultural Experiment Station Bulletin 200 (August 1914).

Monday, September 12, 2016

Missouri-Kansas-Mississippi Architect

Architect Charles Louis Proffer (1925-90) was licensed to practice in Kansas and Mississippi. Born in Sikeston, Missouri, Proffer sought his architectural education at the University of Kansas after serving for three years in the Air Force. He received his B.S. degree in architecture in 1950.

Proffer married another Sikestonian, Margaret Anne Hatfield, whose family had property in Mississippi (Ellisville, Gulfport). By 1953, the young couple relocated to the Gulf Coast. Proffer worked for Dalton B. Shourds and Eugene Mogabgab. Two years later he entered an early partnership with wastewater engineer Roy C. Kuyrkendall, Jr. (U. Miss., 1952). The duo designed a $150,000 commercial outlet in Gulfport, as well as a new marina for Ocean Springs.

For more of Proffer's work, see Preservation in Mississippi.

Image:  "Charles L. Proffer." The Sikeston Daily Standard 21 November 1967.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

The Goose-Egg Architect

Architect Henry Evert Wichers was born in Dispatch (Smith County), Kansas in March 1898. After earning his bachelor's and master's degrees from Kansas State College,* Wichers joined the faculty as a rural architecture specialist. Within a few years, property owners sought his advice regarding utilities, remodeling and building typologies. His suggestions frequently included analyses of prevailing winds and geographic position.

The State College of Washington (now Washington State) enticed Wichers to depart his full professorship in 1947. Assigned to the college's extension services, Wichers collaborated with Helen Noyes on a guide to making one's farmhouse functional. The publication presented a recontextualized and pared down version of Wichers' earlier "Better Homes for Kansas Farms" (1942).

Over his decades-long career, Wichers contributed many DIY farm and home publications:

Planning a Home in the Country (1961)
Planning Corrals (1956)
Planning Your Dairy Buildings, with Don Lockridge (1953)
Planning Your Farmstead (1952)
Planning Your Poultry Houses (1952)
An Easy Way of Planning a Farm House (1951)
Homes for Washington Farms (1951)--a series with various plans
Minimum Standards for Good Farm Houses Located in the State of Washington (1950)
Choose a Farm House to Fit Your Farm (1949)
Farmhouse Planning Is Easy (1948)
Floors and Pavements for House and Garden (1948)
Successful Farming Building Book (1947)
Your Farmhouse: Make It Work, with Helen Noyes (1947)
House Framing (1946)
Better Homes for Kansas Farms (1942)
Low Cost Homes (1939)
"The Farm House" in Rural Life 16 (March 1938)
How to Modernize Your Farm House, with Ellen L. Pennell (1935)
Modernizing the Kansas Home (1934)
"The Building Site Dictates the Architectural Style" and "Considerations in Farmhouse Planning," chapters in The Better Homes Manual, ed. by Blanche Halbert (1931)
"Designs for Kansas Farm Houses," M.A. Thesis, 1930
Designs for Kansas Farm Houses (1929)
"Fitting A House to Its Site." American Architect 5 May 1928: pp. 573-580.
The Design of the Kansas Home (1927)

During the Cold War period, he advised regarding inappropriate shelters:

CELLARS NOT BOMBPROOF

     "A rural architecture specialist advises that when a bomb comes your way, 'stay out of the basement.' Too often, H.E. Wichers said, one hears advice from 'so-called experts' that [it] is the place to hide from bombs. 'It is just not so,' he contended. 'Even in small houses with concrete block basement walls, an A-bomb explosion will prove about as comfortable as the wrong end of a bowling alley.'"

The Times Record (Troy, New York) 15 March 1951

Wichers became known as the "Goose-Egg Architect" because of his use of quickly articulated ovoids to help property owners determine their architectural needs. He stressed that the automatic drawing technique was an effective means to sort out patterns prior to hiring a professional architect.


Image above: H.E. Wichers, O.S. Ekdahl, & N.F. Resch. "Plan 6519, For the Southwest." In Wallace Ashby. Farmhouse Plans, U.S. Department of Agriculture Farmer's Bulletin No. 1738. Washington, D.C., 1934.

*1924

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Wiedorn in Kansas III

In 1924, landscape architect William S. Wiedorn published an article intended for Kansas property owners desirous of improving their yards. "Beautifying the Home Grounds of Kansas" included general advice and a comprehensive planting list. For those struggling to design their gardens, Wiedorn offered the advice of K-State Agricultural College's horticultural department provided inquiring parties supplied a plat.

A LIST OF TREES, SHRUBS AND PLANTS FOR KANSAS HOME GROUNDS

TREES FOR STREET PLANTING

White elm
Pin Oak
Silver maple
Hackberry
Sycamore
Honey locust

TREES FOR YARD PLANTING

Basswood
Tulip tree
Green ash
Osage orange
Russian mulberry

SHRUBS

Japanese barberry
Van Houtes spires
Common privet
Armur river privet
Buckthorn
Bush hydrangea
Butterfly bush
Tamarisk
Fragrant sumac
Staghorn sumac
Indian currant
Japanese quince
Golden bell
Morrow's honeysuckle
Red-twigged dogwood
Common lilac
Rose of Sharon
Mock orange

VINES

Bittersweet
Japanese clematis
Jackman's clematis
Five-leaved ivy
Climbing roses: Dorothy Perkins, Crimson rambler, Climbing American Beauty, Tausenschon

EVERGREENS

Trees

Scotch pine
Austrian pine
Jack pine
Bull pine
Red cedar (best evergreen for Kansas)
Douglas spruce

Shrubs

Fragrant honeysuckle
Low juniper

Vines

Memorial rose
Hall's honeysuckle

ROSES

Prairie Rose

FLOWERS

Bulbs (Spring)

Crocus
Narcisssus
Tulip
Hyacinth

Bulbs (Summer)

Tiger lilies
Dahlias
Gladiolus
Cannas

PERENNIALS

English daisy
Periwinkle
Columbine
Bleeding heart
Iris
Goat's beard
Sweet William
Foxglove
Oriental poppy
Garden pinks
Oriental larkspur
Hollyhocks
Carpathian harebells
Hardy phlox
Peonies
Asters
Evening primroses
Gaillardia
Coreposis
Shasta daisies
Yucca filamentosa

From:  W.S. Wiedorn. "Beautifying the Home Grounds of Kansas." The Biennial Report of the Kansas State Horticultural Society. Topeka: Kansas State Printing Plant, 1924, pp. 150-156.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Wiedorn in Kansas II

A previous post introduced William S. Wiedorn's work while employed as an assistant professor of landscape gardening at the Kansas State Agricultural College. During this period, he published "A Brief History of Gardening" and "Beautifying the Home Grounds of Kansas" for the state's horticultural society.

He began his historical essay with Sir Francis Bacon's On Gardens:

"Men come to build stately sooner than to garden finely; as if gardening were the greater perfection."

His survey introduced ancient gardens and exalted the urban ones that had been discovered at Pompeii (Plate I, above). He equally favored the Islamic gardens of southern Spain and those of Louis XIV (Plate II, below).
For early American architecture, his essay highlighted "Spanish" gardens in the South, "High English" gardens in Virginia, "Catholic" ones in Maryland, "Quaker" and "German" in Pennsylvania, "Swedish" in New Jersey, "Dutch" in New York, "Puritan" in New England and "French" in Canada. He included his 1922 sketch of the Patio Royal in New Orleans (Plate III, below) to illustrate the southern garden, which he equated with violets, heliotropes, carnations, lobelia, iris, lilies, tulips, hyacinths, roses, oleanders, rose bay, myrtle and jasmine.
Reflecting on the modern American garden of his day, Wiedorn emphasized an increased formality in design and a growing attention to urban parks:

"The American is becoming more and more a city man, and his civic pride runs high. Evidences of this are seen in our new parks, cemeteries and garden cities. The American thinks and works in larger areas than flower gardens; he is more interested in open lawns, lakes, trees and shrubs. Flower gardening, unlike the European practice, is the last phase to be developed. The American excels in developing parks and is laying the foundations for the finest natural park scenery in the world. Our cemeteries are being treated as natural parks. Garden cities or land subdivisions, in which every house and garden is part of a large unit, are being built everywhere. Such divisions as Forest Hills (Queens), New York; the Country Club District, Kansas City; and Roland Park, Baltimore, have set standards which others are adopting."

Johns Hopkins doctoral candidate Paige Glotzer has been documenting Kansas City financial connections to Roland Park and the subdivision's influence on other real estate developments and federal housing policies. 

More on Wiedorn's Kansas planting recommendations later.

Images and quoted matter (unless otherwise indicated) from:  W.S. Wiedorn. “A Brief History of Gardening.” The Biennial Report of the Kansas State Horticultural Society XXXVII. Topeka: Kansas State Printing Plant, 1924, pp. 127-137. University Archives, Kansas State University Libraries.