Tuesday, August 2, 2011
Just for fun
One of the reasons DH and I have stuck together harmoniously for so long is that we have many interests in common, architecture being one of them. My interest in architecture is manifested in the "Doorways to the Past" series and my adaptations of lighthouses to needlepoint. DH is an avid model railroader, who has scratch-built virtually all of the buildings on his extensive HO scale layout. Even before we moved from Texas five years ago, he was designing on the computer his dream layout for the new house on the Cape.
He's recreating a section of the Baltimore & Ohio railroad extending from West Virginia to "The Big City" (aka Baltimore) circa 1950, when steam engines were being phased out for diesel locomotives. When he needs a particular style of building for which a kit is unavailable, he researches, designs and builds one--a case in point being the mill he created a few years ago that was featured in Model Railroader magazine. Just recently, he determined that the buildings he needed to transition from farmland to The Big City--Baltimore row houses--would have to be developed from square one. A photo of the cardboard mock-up he created is at top left. I decided to take advantage of all his research and the design he'd generated on the computer to create a needlepoint version, shown on the right.
Baltimore row houses were constructed in the mid 1800s to fill the need for low-cost working-class housing created by the Industrial Revolution. Their appearance was distinctive: cast-iron trim flanking the top, red brick construction, and window trim and front steps of marble. So proud of the ability to own their own homes were these workers that the sight of them scrubbing those marble steps to keep them gleaming was common.
A century later, many of these structures had fallen into disrepair and were demolished by fire or the wrecking ball. Before the recent economic downturn, however, some developers moved to restore the buildings to once again provide affordable inner-city housing. I'll be stitching this canvas as my next project, returning a small stretch of row houses to their once-pristine condition. And I see a lot of bricks in my future!