Wednesday, September 2, 2015

35/15 Part 5 - Ludwell-Paradise

What is 35/15? Read the Introduction first.

(Note: All 1935 photographs are on the John D. Rockefeller Jr. Library Omeka site. They are viewable by clicking the link provided, scrolling to the bottom of the page, then clicking the image.)

   The Ludwell-Paradise House is one of Colonial Williamsburg's cherished buildings. This original building came on the market in 1926. W.A.R. Goodwin telegramed John D. Rockefeller, Jr. of the opportunity. He agreed to buy the house, becoming the first house bought for the Restoration. It was restored and opened to the public April 1st, 1935, showcasing Abby Aldrich Rockefeller's American folk art collection. Abby, Rockefeller Jr.'s wife, had eclectic art tastes in modern and American folk art. Her love for modern art led her to help create the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA). She formally gave her folk art collection to Colonial Williamsburg in 1939.

   In 1957, the folk art moved to a new building (which is now the The Spa at Colonial Williamsburg). It was officially named the Amy Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Museum in honor of the now late Mrs. Rockefeller. It stayed there until 2004, when it moved into the Public Hospital museum complex alongside the DeWitt Wallace Decorative Arts Museum.

   When the folk art moved out of the Ludwell-Paradise House, the house was converted into a private residence in 1959.

Ludwell Paradise House



Ludwell-Paradise House, July 14, 2015, 3:06pm

   My models were rushed on time, so these pictures with them are a bit rushed (i.e. the lamppost is in the correct location in relation to the house... but the picture is landscape instead of portrait.)

   As you can see, the Red Lion Inn is now reconstructed right next door. In 1935, you can see another building poking through the trees from a bit farther away. This building went by many different names, but in later years it was known as the Colonial Inn or Williamsburg Inn. This was a 19th century hotel in Williamsburg, built where Chowning's Tavern is located today. Once the current Williamsburg Inn opened in 1937, it was called the Williamsburg Inn Annex. In 1940, the building was demolished and Chowning's took its place the next year, the first of the current taverns to open. 

   The hitching rails are all gone, sans one post. Both the fence to the right and the left have changed. The brick fence on the left does not actually touch the house, since it is an original building. There is about a five inch gap. Trees and plants are in close proximity to the building, but the ivy is no longer climbing up the side. The curb is the same here, disappearing halfway through the picture. The tree by the left-hand front door stairs is the same tree, you can tell by the branch patterns.

Ludwell-Paradise House Front Door Detail


Ludwell-Paradise Door, July 14, 2015, 3:05pm

   The horse hitching rails are gone. There is new brick where a bit of grass used to be. The ivy is gone. But the tree on the left is the same tree. The paint color has changed on the windows, railings, and door. Last year, the color was changed from maroon to this. On the door itself, the door knocker has switched doors and a "private residence" sign has been added.

   In the models, you can see the differences in fashions Colonial Williamsburg has used to portray the 18th century. When CW first dressed employees, there were only female "hostesses" in fancy gentry (upper-class) hoop gowns. There were no male hosts. Things have changed. I am going to let the experts explain the changes over the years. Costume Design Center, take it away!

Ludwell-Paradise Kitchen



Ludwell-Paradise Kitchen, July 14, 2015, 3:12pm

   The shot of the kitchen from the correct perspective is no longer possible. One of the reconstructed outbuildings of the Red Lion Inn is standing where F.S. Lincoln stood in 1935

Red Lion Inn Outbuilding in the way, 2015
   The Kitchen was a reconstructed building, and used as an additional space for Abby's folk art collection. It closed in 1955, and is now also a private residence.

   The fence is no longer in line with the building, moving forward a few feet. The flowers and bushes have given way to grass. Another outbuilding has been reconstructed to the left of the Kitchen.

Ludwell-Paradise and Prentis Store



Ludwell-Paradise House and Prentis Store,
August 9, 2015, 11:40am

   Two 1935 trees are still happily growing on the corners of this intersection. New trees nearly obscure the Ludwell-Paradise House from this perspective. The curbs on the corners across the street have now been leveled. One hitching post remains, but it has moved closer to the stone carriage step.

   The carriage pictured in 2015 is the Robert Carter Carriage. It was built for Williamsburg in 2002 by Florian Staudner in Vienna, Austria, and endowed by James and Maureen Gorman of the L.L. Bean Company.

   The Prentis Store on the right is another original buildings. This building serves as the oldest-running store building in town, serving right before it was restored as an automobile service station. It was originally believed to be Mr. Archibald Blair's Store. That turned out to be the unbuilt building to the left of it, but more on that in a bit. It was restored to the best of the Restoration's knowledge in 1929. It was first used as an antique dealer (called the Unicorn's Horn, which is now a name of a shop down the street). In the late 30's, it tried to be an Apothecary, though did not work. From 1940-1948, it was the wigmaker craft site (A "craft" site was the early name for a "trade" site. By the 1970's, they changed the term to the latter). They did not make wigs, only discussed about them and the process. In 1948, the store was changed again, this time to a printing office. That lasted until 1957, when it closed. From then until 1972, it was not open to the public. During that time, archaeological research was conducted, resulting in correcting mistakes that were made during the 1929 restoration. The floor was raised to what it would have been in the 18th century, adding a new front porch and two stairs on either side of it. Windows were moved and removed. During construction, evidence of a cellar entrance was discovered, eliminating one of the stairs from the design for the new cellar door. After Colonial Williamsburg admissions pass system was organized for the start of 1973, craft shops discontinued selling items in their stores. The Prentis and Tarpley's stores were chosen to fill this new void. From late 1972 to the present, Prentis has sold any surplus goods the trade sites make.

   The tent in-between the store and the house is a 2015 structure, built for the "DIG! Kids Dirt, and Discovery" program this summer. I really love working at it, so I'm going to tell you all about it. At one time, the Archibald Blair Storehouse was on this property. It was built around 1717 and was demolished around the turn of the 19th century. The site has been excavated multiple times, last time being 1969. In the early years, Colonial Williamsburg was more concerned with finding important objects or foundations, so anything they deemed unimportant got dumped back in with the dirt. The ground is littered with these "unimportant" artifacts, pieces of brick, broken glass and plates, rusted globs of nails, animal bones, oyster shells, and much more. All of these items are valued by modern archaeologists to help understand what life was like in the 18th century. Since the dirt and the artifacts are all disturbed, there is no reason to document exactly where something is found. Kids have been allowed to go at it, and they have had a blast! It's been really popular this summer, and luckily it will be back next year as well. Definitely catch it when you can! A free ticket reservation can be made the day of at any ticketing location with a valid admissions pass. Ages 8-18 can dig ("Supervision" from their parents can happen as well). The official blog for the dig can be found HERE.

Sifting through dirt at the dig site, July 28, 2015

Thank you to Ms. Sharolyn and Mr. Liam for posing as fast, impromptu models!

Sources Used:
The Restoration of Colonial Williamsburg" Architectural Record, December 1935
"The Williamsburg Restoration and its Reception by the American Public: 1926-1942," dissertation, 1989, Thomas H. Taylor
Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Museum Re-Opens in New, Expanded Quarters with 11 All-New Exhibitions
"Kitchen Closes," CW News, March 1955
"DIG! Kids, Dirt, and Discovery" site mechanics
"DIG! Kids, Dirt, and Discovery" personal experience and observations on site
Dishing the Dirt on our Newest Kid-Friendly Dig Site!
"Williamsburg Before and After" Book by George Humphrey Yetter, 1988
Williamsburg's Four Original Stores: An Architectural Analysis
"New General Admission Policy to Aid all Colonial Williamsburg Programs," CW News, December 22, 1972
Colonial Williamsburg: Then and Now
Interview with Benton Parker

View the whole 35/15 Project:
Part 1 - College of William and Mary 
Part 2 - Merchants Square
Part 3 - Buildings that Move
Part 4 - Market Square
Part 5 - Ludwell-Paradise (You are currently viewing this one)
Part 6 - Queen Street to Botetourt Street
Part 7 - Raleigh Tavern
Part 8 - Paints
Part 9 - Botetourt Street to the Capitol Area
Part 10 - Capitol
Part 11 - No Longer Here
Part 12 - Francis and Nicholson Streets
Part 13 - Garden Edition
Part 14 - The Governor's Palace Gardens
Part 15 - Inside the Governor's Palace

Bonus 35/15 Posts:
35/15: A Dessert Order
35/15: Life in Williamsburg in 1935
35/15: Governor's Palace Wallpaper
35/15: Governor's Palace Wallpaper II

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