Parc Monceau, Paris


Parc Monceau
Postmarked 1908

Google Street View.

The Hector Berlioz Website (more old views of park)

When France’s royal family want an absurdist Anglo-Chinese garden filled with an architectural pastiche from around the globe, who dares say no? Parc Monceau was built in 1778 at the request of King Louis XVI’s cousin – the Duke of Chartres, Phillippe d’’Orléans – who dreamt of opening a park that would amaze and surprise all who passed through its gates by foregrounding his eclectic taste in landscape design and architecture. What resulted was a monumental act of public folly, albeit one that possessed a tender charm all its own.

Constructed with a distinct lack of care for either the epoch or people from which he was borrowing, Parc Monceau originally contained a Roman colonnade, a miniature Egyptian pyramid, a Tartar tent, a Dutch windmill, a water lily pond, an enchanted grotto, a temple of Mars, an Italian vineyard and numerous antique statues, all within arms’ reach of each other. At the time of its debut, the garden also featured servants in flamboyant dress and exotic animals like camels. Taken as a whole, none of it it made much sense, but that had never really been the Duke’s point; unlike the Jardin d’Agronomie Tropicale which was built to mimic foreign cultures for spectatorship, Parc Monceau was built as pure fantasy.
Atlas Obscura.

Parc Monceau had its beginning in 1769 when Louis Philippe, the duke of Chartres, who was also the cousin of Louis XVI and the father of King Louis-Philippe I and who would later become the Duc d’Orléans and be known as Philippe-Egalité, purchased a hectare of land on Boulevard de Courcelles. At this time he had architect Louis-Marie Colignon build a pavillion in the middle of a French-styled garden. During 1773-1778, he acquired twelve more surrounding hectares. He built on this property, with the designing help of painter Carmontelle, a windmill, a minaret, a pyramid, a Chinese pagoda, a Roman temple, a waterfall and the “Naumachie” which is a pond half-encircled by broken Corinthian columns. . . In 1793, the now Duc d’Orléans bought more of the surrounding properties and landscape architect Thomas Blaikie transformed the garden with trees and lawns into an English-styled garden. This was one of the first landscaped parks in Paris and it become a place of festivities.
Paris Walking Tours

After the monarchy was restored, the park was returned to the family of the Duke. During the Second Empire, the family sold lots within the park to real estate developers, who built luxurious town houses, reducing the size of the park by half. The remaining part of the park was purchased by the city of Paris in 1860. All that remained of the original folly was the water lily pond, the stream and the fantasy “tombs”, including the Egyptian pyramid.

In 1860, the park was purchased by the city, and in August 1861 Parc Monceau became the first new public park in Paris to be created by Baron Haussmann as part of the grand transformation of Paris begun by Emperor Louis Napoleon. Two main alleys were laid out from east to west and north to south, meeting in the center of the park, and the alleys within the park were widened and paved, so carriages could drive the park. An ornamental gate 8.3 m (27 ft) high was installed along a newly created avenue, boulevard Malesherbes, curving paths were laid out around the park for strolling. The pavillon de Chartres was also modified by the architect, Gabriel Davioud, who had a graceful classical dome added to the structure. He also built a bridge modeled after the Rialto bridge in Venice over the stream to replace the Chinese bridge by Carmontelle that had once been there. He preserved the other follies remaining from the original garden. Haussmann embellished the park with a rich collection of exotic trees and flowers from around the world.

The park is unusual in France due to its “English” style: its informal layout, curved walkways and randomly placed statues distinguish it from the more traditional, French-style garden. It includes a collection of scaled-down architectural features, or follies — including an Egyptian pyramid, a Chinese fort, a Dutch windmill, and Corinthian pillars. A number of these are masonic references, reflecting the fact that Philippe d’Orléans was a leading freemason. Parc Monceau includes statues of famous French figures including Guy de Maupassant, Frédéric Chopin, Charles Gounod, Ambroise Thomas, Alfred de Musset, and Edouard Pailleron.
Wikipedia.

Lake, St Leger Thermal Spa, Pougues-les-Eaux, France


Pougues-les-Eaux (Nièvre) – Le Lac
c.1910
Pubilsher: Thibault

A drive of a few minutes had landed us in the heart of this little Paradise, baths and Casino standing in the midst of park-like grounds. Apparently Pougues, that is to say, the Pougues-les-Eaux of later days, has been cut out of natural woodland, the Casino gardens and its surroundings being rich in forest trees of superb growth and great variety. The wealth of foliage gives this new fashionable little watering-place an enticingly rural appearance, nor is the attraction of water wholly wanting. . . . A pretty little lake, animated with swans, varies the woodland scenery, and tropical birds in an aviary lend brilliant bits of colour. The usual accessories of a health resort are, of course, here—reading room, concert hall, theatre, and other attractions, rapidly turning the place into a lesser Vichy. The number and magnificence of the hotels, the villas and cottages, that have sprung up on every side, bespeak the popularity of Pougues-les-Eaux, as it is now styled, the surname adding more dignity than harmoniousness.
“East of Paris: Sketches in the Gâtinais, Bourbonnais, and Champagne”, Matilda Betham-Edwards (1902), p. 50

Pougues les Eaux is a town in the Center of France with a Spa and Gambling heritage. Although the Health Spa stopped in 1970, it was known for it’s miraculous water and gambling Casino since the renaissance.
Deserted Health Spa and Casino – Pougues les Eaux

Site is now Parc Saint Léger – Contemporary Art Center, which is here.

Niagara Falls, Canada & USA


General View of Falls from Canadian Side, Niagara Falls.
1920s

On back:
Niagara Falls is between Lakes Erie and Ontario, distant about twenty miles from Buffalo. Niagara River has a total fall of three hundred and thirty feet, in the thirty-six miles of its course as follows: The smaller Rapids above the Falls, fifteen feet; the principal waterfall, one hundred and sixty feet; the large Rapids below, fifty-five feet, and from the Falls to Lewiston, through the gorge, one hundred feet. The summer time clothes the margins of the the Falls with beautiful verdure, and it is then that they are visited by the largest number of tourists, drawn to this wonder spot from all countries of the world.


Horseshoe Falls from Goat Island by Illumination, Niagara Falls
c.1925

On back:
This new beauty of Niagara differs from the beauty that the Creator made working through inanimate life. For here He worked through the inventive genius of man, and gave Niagara a new glory that can be turned on and off at the mere pressing of a switch-button, throwing on the billion candle power batter of electric searchlight which floodlights the Falls, the batteries being hidden in the foliage work invisibly and in no way mare the scenery with the imprint of man’s hand. Nor does the conquest end here, for the searchlights of Niagara when sent upward into the sky may be seen for seventy five miles away.

Read moreNiagara Falls, Canada & USA

Niagara Falls, US & Canada


American Falls from Goat Island Niagara Falls
1900s
Souvenir Post card Co., New York & Berlin (1905-1915)

Known in the past as the premiere Honeymoon destination, this geological wonder is not only one of most popular tourist attractions in the state of New York, but also functions as one of the major power providers to the state itself. Comprised of three waterfalls — American Falls, Horseshoe Falls and Bridal Veil Falls — Niagara Falls water stems from the upper Great Lakes and the river is estimated to be 12,000 years old. The wonder of the falls has intrigued many and has prompted daredevils to “conquer” the falls in various contraptions from wooden barrels to rubber balls.

Niagara Falls consists of two waterfalls on the Niagara River, which marks the border between New York and Ontario, Canada: the American Falls, located on the American side of the border, and the Canadian or Horseshoe Falls located on the Canadian side. To the right of the American Falls is a smaller waterfall that has been separated from the American Falls by natural forces, which is usually called Bridal Veil Falls.
History.com


American Falls, view from Canadian Side, Niagara Falls, N.Y
Postmarked 1907
Publisher: Illustrated Post Card (1904-1914)

Read moreNiagara Falls, US & Canada

Criterion Theatre & Esplanade, Durban, South Africa


Esplanade, showing Criterion Theatre, Durban

Google Street View

The Criterion Cinema seen in the picture was on the corner of Field Street, now Joe Slovo Street, and the Embankment. It was built as a music hall, was designed by architects Stucke and Harrison and opened on May 20, 1912. The popular Durban venue was used by a number of South African theatre companies as well as visiting companies such as the Old Vic. The Criterion is also mentioned in the 1938 Lawrie’s Directory of the Cinemas in Durban. At that time the city had a total of 11 cinemas or theatres. And entrance was 7p. It was demolished in 1953 and replaced by Bay Towers, a 12-floor block.
THEN & NOW: When it cost 7p to go to the movies

Mitchell Park Zoo, Durban, South Africa


Mitchell Park Zoo, Durban
c.1910
Publisher: A. Rittenburg, Durban

Named after Sir Charles Bullen Hugh Mitchell, the park was established in the early half of the century as an ostrich farm. That venture did not go as well as planned, so it was transformed into a zoo instead. Back then, a large variety of animals, including lions, leopards, crocodiles and many varieties of bird, occupied a large part of the zoo. The remainder consisted of beautifully landscaped gardens.
Mitchell Park Zoo

Basilica, Pompeii

List of all pages for Pompeii


On the back:
The Basilica 

Google Street View.

AD 79: Destruction and Rediscovery

A Roman basilica was a large public building where business and legal matters were discussed. The basilica of Pompeii was built in 130-120 BC and is one of the oldest examples of such a building. It had three naves and it was situated at the south-western corner of the Forum; its entrance was on its eastern narrow side and its layout resembles that of an early church. A raised loggia at the western end of the building was most likely the site of the tribunal. Archaeologists believe it was preceded by wooden stairs. Two small rooms under the loggia might have been used as the temporary prison. Lawyers without customers, teachers without pupils, artists without commissions and other jobless citizens spent their days at the basilica hoping to find a way to make some money. Some of them, perhaps during a particularly idle day, wrote graffiti on the walls complaining they were not invited to dinner by anyone or that Venus did not help them in courting a woman, notwithstanding the offers they had made to the goddess.
Rome in the Footsteps of an XVIIIth Century Traveller