Thursday, February 28, 2013

Mid-Century Building Letterheads

By 1950, many companies were modernizing their letterhead designs and doing away with building imagery. Some of those who continued to employ such representations were banks, hotels, funeral parlors, cemetery associations and those engaged in building trades.

Here are a few mid-century letterheads (and one footer design) that prominently feature buildings:

Lamana-Panno-Fallo, Inc.
625 North Rampart Street

Loubat Glassware & Cork Co.
510-520 Bienville Street
233 Decatur Street

Albert Weiblen Marble & Granite Co.
505-525 City Park Avenue

The Hotel Monteleone
214 Royal Street

Metairie Cemetery Association
Metairie Cemetery

The Merchants National Bank of Mobile
56 St. Joseph Street, Mobile, AL

Images above:  Albert Weiblen Marble & Granite Co. Office Records, Southeastern Architectural Archive, Special Collections Division, Tulane University Libraries.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Metairie Cemetery Souvenir Map

An early souvenir map  that shows the locations of the lagoons along the perimeters of Metairie Cemetery. Dug in 1890, these lagoons benefited from proximity to the New Basin Canal, from which gravity pumps diverted fresh water. Congestion problems at the intersection of Metairie and Pontchartrain Boulevards and City Park Avenue were well publicized by 1929, and by the 1950s these roadways were widened and this stretch of the New Basin Canal was filled.(1)

(1)Henri A. Gandolfo. Metairie Cemetery: An Historical Memoir. New Orleans: Stewart Enterprises, 1981 and "Pleasant Scenes on Metairie Trip" The Times-Picayune (3 November 1929): p. 1; 6.

Image above: Souvenir Map Presented to Mr. S.H. Bell by Helmuth Holtz. New Orleans: February 1904. Albert Weiblen Marble & Granite Company Office Records, Southeastern Architectural Archive, Special Collections Division, Tulane University Libraries. The SEAA retains other maps of the cemetery, from 1955; 1965; 1975; 1978.

Monday, February 25, 2013

More Building Letterheads

We located another cache of early twentieth-century letterheads and invoices that features New Orleans building representations. From top to bottom they are:

American Paint Works
424-434 Josephine Street

Dameron-Pierson Building
400-408 Camp Street

A. Baldwin & Co. Building
Corner Camp & Common

Gibbens & Gordon Building
532-534 Canal Street

Hotel De Soto
833 Poydras Street

Interstate Electric Company Building
Magazine & Girod Streets

Roberts & Co. Building
1419 Gravier Street

Steckler Seed Co. Building
512-516 Gravier Street

Sutton's Foundry & Structural Steel Works
St. Andrew & Rousseau Streets

O.K. Storage & Transfer Co. Building
1901-07 St. Charles Avenue

F.H. Lande Furniture and Household Goods
[Local dealer for Grand Rapids, Michigan Furniture]
532-534 Baronne Street

Jacob Schoen & Son, Funeral Directors
519-521 Elysian Fields Avenue

Martin Shepard Office Records, Southeastern Architectural Archive, Special Collections Division, Tulane University Libraries.

Friday, February 22, 2013

NOLA Victory Gardening

In January and February 1944, New Orleanians were thinking about Victory Gardens. US Department of Agriculture Chairman of the Victory Garden committee, H.W. Hochbaum, led a two-day Victory Garden Conference at the St. Charles Hotel that was attended by participants from Louisiana, Texas, Mississippi and Alabama. After the 1943 gardening effort resulted in lower yields than had been hoped, states were encouraged to develop their own programs to suit local needs and conditions.

Participants adopted a resolution sanctioning  the planting of green leafy and yellow vegetables and tomatoes, and the selection of high yield, insect- and disease-resistant seeds. Camilla Bradley, the editor of the New Orleans magazine Home Gardening for the South considered the conference a stimulating one, and encouraged her readers to increase the nationwide gardens from 20 million to 22 million:

"The need for civilians to grow and preserve their own food increases as each new front is opened. For every soldier overseas a 270-day food supply must be in reserve. The total reserve assumes staggering proportions when we realize that one third of our fighting forces are  already out of this country and plans are underway to double the number by the end of this year. We on the home front must not become complacent while the war news is good, but must realize that as new countries are freed our burden of feeding the liberated populations grows heavier."

Feature writer Ninette Carter developed spring planting recommendations, advocating the immediate planting of beets, carrots, spinach, mustard, lettuce, endive and cabbage. She advised readers to make planting lists and plan and space rows accordingly. She gave instructions for butter and snap bush bean rows, and the application of commercial fertilizer.

The magazine's advertisers focused on Victory gardening and the New Orleans Public Service Department provided "Victory Tips for Kitchens on War Schedule" with a menu and the following recipe:

Salmon with Biscuit Topping

2 cups seasoned white sauce (see below)
1 tall can salmon
3/4 cup grated cheese
1 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper

Biscuit Recipe

2 cups sifted flour
4 tsp baking powder
4 tsp fat
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 to 1 cup milk or water

Sift dry ingredients; cut in fat until mealy. Add milk gradually to make a soft dough. Knead lightly for a minute on a floured board. Roll to 1/2-inch thickness.

For white sauce, melt 4 tablespoons butter or fortified margarine in saucepan. Blend 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/8 teaspoon pepper and 4 tablespoons unsifted enriched flour, add melted butter, stirring constantly. Add 2 cups milk gradually, stirring until sauce thickens. Pour off liquid. Remove all skin and bones from salmon. Combine salmon, white sauce, cheese and seasonings. Pour into greased casserole. Cover with biscuit topping and bake in preheated oven at 425 F., 20 mins.

Images and quoted matter above from:  Home Gardening for the South IV:2 (February 1944). Garden Library of the New Orleans Town GardenersSoutheastern Architectural Archive, Special Collections Division, Tulane University Libraries. A full run of the journal is also available in the Louisiana Research Collection.

To read more primary source material about the Victory Garden program,note that Edmore Loomis Davenport Seymour published a special edition of his The New Garden Encyclopedia in which he outlined the history of the federal program, and gave planting, dehydrating and canning guidance. A copy is located in the Garden Library of the New Orleans Town Gardeners at Tulane University.

New Orleans parking entrepreneur Harry J. Ducote planted a Victory Garden on his Iberville-N. Peters Street lot after gasoline rationing adversely affected his business. In just eight months, he had a healthy crop of cabbages, radishes, lettuce and tomatoes that garnered the attention of LIFE Magazine. An Associated Press photograph of Ducote and his garden -- flanked by the Customs House -- was published May 3, 1943.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Modern House Moving 1906

In 1906, New Orleans businessman George J. Abry (caricature above) published an article in the locally produced journal, Architectural Art and Its Allies. In it, he addressed the science of house moving:

"A great part of the work of to-day is remedying defects of all kinds, growing out of many causes, such as building adjoining, undermining foundations, irregular settle and overloading.

In such cases it requires experience to know where to take hold. In many instances it is of financial interest to the owner of a building to have it raised, lowered, moved or shored.

House moving was not so extensively carried on in times past as it is at present; streets were graded to conform with the buildings thereon while now the buildings are made to conform with the grade of the streets; small buildings were demolished to make room for the erection of larger ones, while now the small ones are moved to a new location to make room for the larger ones; buildings can now be raised and additional stories built under them, or roofs can be raised and additional stories built on the old walls; fronts of walls of adjoining buildings can be shored up while the walls of new buildings are sunk, all of which come under the head of House Moving."

Read an earlier post about the Abry business.

George J. Abry. "Modern House Moving and Shoring." Architectural Art and Its Allies II:4 (October 1906): p. 5. Southeastern Architectural Archive, Special Collections Division, Tulane University Libraries.

Image above:  W.K. Patrick & Assoc. Club Men of Louisiana in Caricature. East Aurora, NY: The Roycrofters, 1917, p. 215. As viewed 3 Jan 2012 on the Internet Archive:

Monday, February 18, 2013

From Louisiana to Minnesota

This blog has previously addressed the use of sugar cane bagasse fiberboard, celotex, as a building material. The Southeastern Architectural Archive houses a growing collection of materials associated with the Celotex Company, which had its plant in Marrero on the Ames Farm tract (top image above).

Celotex was one of the first industries to establish a factory at Ames Farm, investing a million dollars in its operations and employing 500 people. The "Ames zone" included the former Estelle and Southside Plantations and was developed by New Orleans real estate entrepreneur Meyer Eiseman during World War I. Its earliest output was devoted to victory gardens.(1)

New Orleans architect Martin Shepard (1875-1962) drafted the first specifications for the use of celotex in construction: as exterior sheathing, as a base for plaster, as insulation, as an interior finish and for acoustical purposes. Chicago engineers such as Robert W. Hunt & Co. and G.F. Gebhardt conducted extensive tests on the new material.(2)

By 1920, celotex was used to finish St. Paul, Minnesota architect H.A. Sullwold's office in the Endicott Building (lower image above) and at Chicago's Navy Pier for "acoustical correction."(2) Sullwold was especially concerned with escalating lumber prices after World War I, and that could have prompted his early adoption of celotex.(3)

Want to know more about Celotex?   Search Tulane Libraries for "Celotex."

(1) "Seeks to Attract Big Industries to Ames Tract." The Times-Picayune 2 April 1922.

(2) Martin Shepard. Celotex Insulating Lumber: Specifications. Chicago: The CeloteX Company, n.d. Architectural Trade Catalogs Collection, Southeastern Architectural Archive, Special Collections Division, Tulane University Libraries.

(3) F.W. Armstrong. "Lumber High? We'll Say So." Western Architect & Engineer LXI:1 (April 1920), p. 93.

Top two images above from Martin Shepard. Celotex Insulating Lumber: Specifications. Chicago: The CeloteX Company, n.d. Architectural Trade Catalogs Collection, Southeastern Architectural Archive, Special Collections Division, Tulane University Libraries.

Lower two images from Meyer Eiseman, Realtor. Ames Deep-Water Industrial Sites: The Industrial Center of New Orleans, recto and verso of undated advertisement. Martin Shepard Office Records, Southeastern Architectural Archive, Special Collections Division, Tulane University Libraries.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Sanborn's FB

For those of you who frequently use Sanborn Fire Insurance Atlases, you know that the map keys changed a lot over the years.

We were recently fact-checking the location of a historic photograph and came across this former Fourth Ward public school building (304-310 N. Robertson) that had become the Hotel New World by 1909. "F.B" refers to the gendered space, Female Boarding or Bordello. When the school building was altered to serve the Red Light District, a cluster of cribs was erected along the Bienville Street side.

Image above: Sanborn Fire Insurance Map of New Orleans. New York: 1909. Vol. 2. Detail, as viewed via Digital Sanborn Maps.

For more information on the Hotel New World, see Alecia P. Long, "Sex and Tourism in New Orleans." Chap. in Richard D. Starnes, Southern Journeys. Tuscaloosa and London, 2003, pp. 26-27.

Friday, February 1, 2013

The Hiker

If you are taking the new Loyola Streetcar or walking near the Energy Center building at the intersection of Poydras Street and Loyola Avenue, you may notice this monument.

It hasn't always occupied its current site, but was first erected on South Claiborne Avenue at Canal Street (image above). Local monument artisans Albert Weiblen Marble & Granite Company created the base and installed the monument. The project was delayed when workers encountered the foundation of an enclosed brick drainage canal under Claiborne Avenue. Opting to avoid damaging the culvert, they drove piles around it and constructed a concrete arch above it in order to support the monument.

Designed by sculptor Theo Alice Ruggles Kitson (1871-1932), The Hiker was a tribute to American soldiers who fought in the Spanish-American War. Veteran and Judge Rufus Edward Foster of the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals headed the committee that selected the sculpture, which was erected with funds appropriated by the Louisiana State Legislature.

The Gorham Company purchased the rights to Kitson's piece, and began casting copies in 1921. The New Orleans Hiker was dedicated on Memorial Day 1939.

Image above: "Spanish-American War Memorial By Pioneer Firm." Undated broadside. Albert Weiblen Marble & Granite Co. Office Records, Southeastern Architectural Archive, Special Collections Division, Tulane University Libraries.