Sunday, July 25, 2010

Oregon State of Mind

I have been on a break from posting while on vacation, so I guess you could state the state I've been in has been pretty good. Here are some highlights in the form of a slideshow I posted on Vimeo. There's a glitch about a minute and a half into it but the images should continue even after the music stops.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Freedom Ride

I had a half hour free this morning so I snuck out for a quick bike ride to grab some images for a 4th of July blog. My intent was to photograph this patriotic mural on the side of a building on Orange Avenue, as it is as powerful patriotic statement as I can think of in Orlando. Painted after 9/11, this artwork is hard to miss as you head south from downtown.

Next up was Constitution Green, a park off Summerlin Avenue commemorating the 200th anniversary of the U.S. Constitution. The focal point of this urban green space is a wonderful Live Oak whose long limbs stretch to the ground to create a wonderful natural canopy in the middle of the city. While not the largest oaks in the city, it is one of the few that has been allowed to grow unhindered in every direction. Perhaps that is real freedom.

And finally on the way home I happened upon the aftermath of some early celebrating. When I was a kid with fireworks, waiting until the 4th of July was like waiting for Christmas and we would usually have fired off everything well before Independence Day. And by the look of things kids today are just eager to get the festivities underway.

So from Visual Ephemera have a safe and enjoyable holiday and may you experience the day with the same sense of wonder you had as a child!

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Bungalow Bliss at Hovey Court

In most of my early adulthood, I must admit I was pretty oblivious to architecture and the positive impact well-designed spaces can have on communities. But as I've become more exposed to some basic knowledge of architecture through my work and my interest in roadside archeology, I have found fulfillment in taking time to learn about and notice the historic structures around me. And living in a 1924 bungalow has made me a big fan of the Craftsman style of the early twentieth century in particular.

In Orlando, one of the best examples of the Craftsman style of architecture is Hovey Court, a bungalow court built as guest cottages between 1913 and 1919. Located on Lake Lucerne within the City of Orlando's Lake Cherokee Historic District, the complex is currently used as offices. The historic walking trail around Lake Lucerne compiled by Central Florida Historian Steve Rajtar says this of the property: "This cluster of nine Bungalows was built in 1913-19 by C.A. Hovey around a common courtyard. Each is two stories tall and all share a common design approach with a stuccoed first story and a shingled upstairs. Visual attention is focused on the central axis and across Lake Lucerne, while the central courtyard is sheltered from the traffic of the surrounding roads."

On the Saturday morning I photographed the bungalow court, this squirrel was the only living creature in sight. Like so many other historic properties throughout Central Florida, there is space available for rent here.

The shores of Lake Lucerne was premier real estate in the young city of Orlando 100 years ago, and today it is still home to some of its best historic architecture. Today Lake Eola is known for its large population of swans; 100 years ago it was Lake Lucerne that supported a collection swans including the infamous "Billy" the Swan. Gore's History of Orlando states: "The swans have helped very much in advertising Orlando as scores of postcards have been sent out each year withe the picture of swans and cignets thereon." It's fun to imagine a time when Orlando's biggest attractions were birds...

Billy the Swan on display at the Orange County Regional History Center

Note the small island on this vintage image, site of the rookery that was subject of a previous post.

Postcard top, Orange County Regional History Center. All others, State Archives of Florida.