Thursday, March 26, 2015


The subject of New Orleans brackets is frequently a hot topic for researchers. Thanks to a grant from the Heritage Preservation Education Foundation, many of the Southeastern Architectural Archive's and the Canadian Centre for Architecture's historic building trade catalogs have been digitized and are available through the Internet Archive's Building Technology Heritage Library.

Notable catalogs published by New Orleans building concerns include the following:

Roberts & Company's Illustrated Catalogue of Mouldings, Architectural and Ornamental Wood Work, Door and Window Frames, Sash, Doors and Blinds, Brackets and Cornices, Porch Columns, Balustrades, Fences, Counters, Shelving and Store Fittings, designed and compiled by William Bell, superintendent, Louisiana Steam Sash, Blind and Door Factory. New Orleans, 1891.

The Southeastern Architectural Archive's current Bungalows exhibit features catalogs with Queen Anne and bungalow brackets.

The Louisiana Research Collection, another of Tulane University's Special Collections units, houses other important postbellum catalogs that include brackets:

Roberts & Company. Illustrated Catalogue of Mouldings, Architectural & Ornamental Wood Work Designed and Compiled by William Bell. New Orleans, 1880. TH1155.R62 1880

Orleans Manufacturing and Lumber Company. Combined Book of Orleans Mfg. & Lumber Co., Limited. New Orleans, Louisiana: manufacturers of cypress sash, doors, blinds, mouldings, stair work, mantels, and all kinds of interior and exterior finish ; glass lists, latest styles, elevations, designs, etc., of embossed, ground, and cut glass ; brackets, scroll and turned work, wood drapery, store fronts, corner blocks and beads, plinth blocks, sawed and turned balustrades, door and window frames, pulpits, pew ends, etc. ; also revised edition New universal moulding book giving full size of mouldings, and their exact measurement in inches on each moulding. Chicago: Rand McNally, 1893. NA2850.O75 1893

The Williams Research Center at the Historic New Orleans Collection houses another early catalog with New Orleans connections:

W.B. Judson. The Standard Moulding Book: a catalogue of mouldings, brackets, architraves, balusters, newel posts, pew ends, stail railing, etc., with new and improved designs for doors, door frames, windows, store fronts, elevations, etc., etc. Chicago: Lumberman Publishing, 1882.

The University of California Santa Barbara's Lawrence B. Romaine Trade Catalog Collection includes publications by the Lhote Lumber Company (Old Basin Canal) and the Louisiana Red Cypress Company.

& the City of New Orleans' Historic District Landmarks Commission maintains helpful guidelines that include photographs and stylistic descriptions of brackets.

For Sears Catalog brackets, click here.

Images above:  Bracket. Ripley Residence. 1420 Harmony Street, New Orleans, LA. Project Number 1052. Circa 1963-64. William T. Nolan Office Records, Southeastern Architectural Archive, Special Collections Division, Tulane University Libraries.

"Bungalow Brackets" from Lafayette Sash and Door Factory. Standard Miniature Millwork Design Book. Lafayette, Louisiana, 1928. Architectural Trade Catalogs, Southeastern Architectural Archive, Special Collections Division, Tulane University Libraries.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Bungalow Men

As the Southeastern Architectural Archive's Bungalows exhibit enters its closing months, we came across a design for a bungalow real estate office.  Represented in entrepreneur Henry L. Wilson's The Bungalow Book: A Short Sketch of the Evolution of the Bungalow from its Primitive Crudeness to its Present State of Artistic Beauty and Cozy Convenience (Chicago, 1910), the real estate office building adhered to a 22x24 footprint. Wilson anticipated that the five-room wooden batten structure would cost $500. Wilson, who touted himself "The Bungalow Man," suggested that such an office would yield financial rewards by banishing "all feelings of distrust and uncertainty from the mind of an investor."(1)

New Orleans had its own "Bungalow Man" in general contractor William R. Gilbert (born c. 1884 Iowa), who acquired considerable property on Audubon, Birch, Broadway, Green, Jeannette, Peniston and Pine Streets.(2) From his office at 15 Audubon Boulevard, Gilbert constructed thirty bungalows in 1914 alone. He built to suit, and sold the frame residences furnished or unfurnished.(3) Chicago's Northwestern Expanded Metal Company used his bungalows to promote its metal lath.

In 1915, Gilbert donated a small bungalow to the Charity Hospital International Fair (CHIF) for its grandiose fundraiser at Heinemann Park, held October 3-10th.(4) He was also responsible for the bungalows on the 1500 block of Audubon Street. In the late 19-teens, he relocated his sales office to the Hennen Building and began advertising in the Spanish-language publication Mercurio.

(1)Henry L. Wilson, The Bungalow Book. p. 114.

(2)"Gilbert Buys More Land." The Times-Picayune 27 May 1914; Flo Field. "Chapter II. First of Everything House." The Times-Picayune 18 May 1915. Before moving to New Orleans, Gilbert built bungalows in Memphis, Tennessee. He returned to Memphis after World War I.

(3)"1512 Audubon Street." Advertisement. The Times-Picayune 10 May 1914.

(4)"Children Rally with Enthusiasm to Cause of Chif." The Times-Picayune 23 September 1915. Conceived as an international fair and based on a world map, architect Allison Owen designed the event. "Chairman Newman Declares Chif Is Certain of Success." The Times-Picayune 16 September 1915.

Images above: Henry L. Wilson. The Bungalow Book: A Short Sketch of the Evolution of the Bungalow from its Primitive Crudeness to its Present State of Artistic Beauty and Cozy Convenience. Chicago: 1910, p. 114. Architectural Trade Catalogs, Southeastern Architectural Archive, Special Collections Division, Tulane University Libraries.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

KUDOS to the Digital Commonwealth. . .

For digitizing the Norman B. Leventhal Center map collection. The Center, part of the Boston Public Library system, is dedicated to the creative educational use of its cartographic holdings. They have created a fantastic GIS-based interface.

The map reproduced above is an inset map titled Plan de la ville de la Nouvelle Orleans telle quélle était en mai 1728, and it includes the names of property owners for  Vieux Carré structures originally documented by the French cartographer Jean-Baptiste Gonichon.

Image above: Francis Barber Ogden, cartographer; Peter Maverick, engraver. Inset map from To General Andrew Jackson and his brave companions in arms on the 8th of Jany. 1815 this plan of the city of New Orleans is respectfully dedicated. 1829.Map reproduction courtesy of the Norman B. Leventhal Map Center at the Boston Public Library.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

WTC: Concrete's Poster Child

As Edward D. Stone's International Trade Center and Curtis & Davis' Exhibition Center (Rivergate) neared completion, the Portland Cement Association featured the structures in its Fortune magazine advertisements. Utilizing an illustration by poster artist Bob Peak (1927-92), Portland's copywriters stressed that concrete made good "business sense."

"Concrete gives a world trade center built-in sales appeal. The buildings of New Orleans' new International Trade Center are designed to serve the buyers and sellers of merchandise from every corner of the world. Here, through the imaginative use of concrete, is expressed the very spirit and pace of modern-day trade. In the Convention-Exhibition building, the New Orleans architects used a concrete barrel shell roof to create striking beauty, as well as an interior clear span of 225 feet, sufficient to seat 17,600 people. Textured exterior concrete walls provide tasteful concrete throughout. The highly compressible qualities of New Orleans' soils were mastered by prestressed concrete piles, providing firm foundations for the light but strong reinforced concrete frame and floors designed by advanced new structural criteria. Gleaming exterior curtain wall panels of precast concrete assure visual interest."

Image above: Bob Peak, illustrator for Portland Cement Association. "Concrete Gives a World Trade..." Promotional flyer. [Published in Fortune July 1965].  Architectural Trade Catalogs, Southeastern Architectural Archive, Special Collections Division, Tulane University Libraries.

Monday, March 2, 2015

WTC: First Thoughts

Edward D. Stone's early proposal for the International Trade Mart, located at the foot of Canal Street/The Mississippi River (1958). The structure is now known as the World Trade Center, and the city is currently reviewing five proposals for its rehabilitation.

From: The Annual Report of the Mayor. New Orleans: 1958/59. Jones Hall Louisiana Research Collection, Special Collections Division, Tulane University Libraries.