Tuesday, August 29

residence #13 by the pool


Much of my time this weekend was spent in Stockbridge, MA where I was lucky enough to stay in a cozy cabin built by Miss Gertrude Robinson Smith and Miss Miriam K. Oliver of New York City.

The story of the cabin is fascinating. Challenging the hegemonic model of vacationing, Miss Smith and Miss Oliver -- two unmarried working women -- decided to build the house themselves in the spring of 1919. (April 13th, to be precise.) The challenge, met months later on July 13th, has survived as a testament to the futility of superstition. (Though the address has since been changed from 13 to 8 as other buildings were built on the road.)

Were the women feminists? lovers? architects? The imagination leaves room for all three. A newspaper article from the day encourages hypotheses...

"'Do you never allow and male creatures in your elysian dwelling?' I asked them. 'Certainly,' they replied at once, 'we have a man around all the time. His name is George Washington. You may have heard of him.' They introduced me to that worthy gentleman, clad in his Colonial uniform, standing stiffly as only an iron general can stand. For George is the door-stop!"

Inquiring of the construction, the reporter asks:

"'Weren't your skirts in the way?' 'We didn't wear skirts,' came the revelation, 'We wore blue jean trousers.'"

In any case, the little house is charming. I don't know what became of Miss Smith and Miss Oliver, but I'm glad they got together for at least a little while.



trash_flavored_productions said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
trash_flavored_productions said...

what newspaper is this article from? who is the reporter? is it murrel caswall? it's hard to make out.