August 1, 2011

guard my bed
while the rain turns the ditches to mirrors

Rasha Kahil, Caledonian Road, N7, London, 2011

* Interesting article on Mary Foote Henderson, the castle she built in the late 1800s on 16th Street NW and her influence on the construction of Meridian Hill Park. excerpt:

In May 1906, Mary famously decided to dispose of the plentiful and expensive stocks of fine wine that Mr. Henderson had accumulated over the years in the cellar of Boundary Castle. Her butler was a member of the Independent Order of Rechabites, a Christian temperance society, and he had asked for the use of the castle grounds for an assembly of his group. With Mrs. Henderson's acquiescence, members of the butler's "tent" brought armfuls of wine bottles up from the castle's cellars and smashed them on a large rock in the front lawn. There was so much wine that it ran down into the gutters of 16th Street. The newspapers loved the story. With racial insensitivity typical of the day, The New York Times reported:
Along the gutter down the hill Negroes gathered, and with tomato cans and other utensils scooped up what they could of the liquor and drank it. As they enjoyed themselves they sang old-time plantation melodies, while the Rechabites within the courtyard sang stirring temperance hymns....

Soon, however, there would be many fewer African-Americans in the neighborhood to benefit from Mary Henderson's accidental largesse. After many years of persistent lobbying, Mary succeeded in 1910 in getting Congress to authorize the purchase of land for construction of Meridian Hill Park across 16th Street from Boundary Castle where she had previously hoped a new Executive Mansion would be built. She argued that the stunning views from this site as well as the opportunity for elegant terracing and cascades made the spot ideal for a formal park. As Congress and city officials were won over, no one seemed to care that the site was already densely occupied by African-Americans living in mostly single-story frame houses. Since Civil War times, African-Americans had settled in this area, which had been just outside the city limits. The future park site had been subdivided in 1867, and many of its residents owned their own homes. They were all forced to leave. Later Mary Henderson would boast to a reporter that "we bought out the owners of the shacks on our hill and pulled them down." Once the land was cleared, it took many years to construct the park, one of the most beautiful in the city.

* Yo La Tengo performs The Fugs' Frenzy at the 2011 Calgary Folk Festival.

* "Love? What is it? Most natural painkiller what there is." -- William S. Burroughs


Anonymous Anonymous said...

i go where i'm lead...

sherwood anderson

11:07 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

that's actually led: i go where i'm led...

sherwood anderson

11:08 AM  

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