Tuesday, April 26, 2011

The Victorian "Summer House."

If you lived in Cincinnati in the  1860-70's your 'summer house" might well have been up in Knox Hill.. many of the "well monied" built cottages, some small, some grand as a weekend getaway or summer place to escape the soot and grime of the city or you might travel to the Schuetzenverin on top of the hill and partake of the beer garden.

Summer houses, like this one in England were elegant structures
The 'tradition' of the summer cottage started in Europe and England and these summer houses were often palatial in size and design. As the middle class grew many would travel to resorts. for many however the 'summer house' was out in the yard. Today we refer to these as Gazebos . In fact some of the larger estate homes in Knox Hill had small 'summer houses" perched on their hillsides to sit in the evening and overlook the valley. Sadly those delightful structures are long gone. I can tell you from my hikes of the hillside there are some lovely sites to put one.

Plan books and publications offered a variety of designs to build
Gazebos, like Victorian houses of the era were highly detailed confections and  there was no shortage of designs by architects like Geo Woodward whose work was widely published. The gazebo was in reality a practical structure. It was shaded by its roof and often vented so the heat would not collect in it. In fact gazebos even could be enclosed with glass for use as  a place to get away to on a cool fall day. In England "summer houses' were often expanded and eventually became what we now call a guest house.

Some were even two stories to elevate one to take in the cool breezes
So while you are thinking about all those summer projects, maybe you should consider building a gazebo, preferably with a hammock! It's on my eventual "To Do' list!

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