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Of Houses and Time: Personal Histories of America's National Trust Properties
     

Of Houses and Time: Personal Histories of America's National Trust Properties

by William Seale
 
Of Houses & Time is the illustrated story of seventeen very different houses - mirrors of three centuries of American life - that are united today as properties of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. Their story is the saga of the nation's growth and change, through political revolutions and wars, tragedies and triumphs, and evolving architectural

Overview

Of Houses & Time is the illustrated story of seventeen very different houses - mirrors of three centuries of American life - that are united today as properties of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. Their story is the saga of the nation's growth and change, through political revolutions and wars, tragedies and triumphs, and evolving architectural tastes. But most of all, their stories reveal themselves in the lives of the people who built and occupied these houses over many generations. Author William Seale's novel-like approach to these personal histories makes Of Houses & Time like few other books ever written on a collection of buildings.

The account begins in the 1740s at Drayton Hall, a South Carolina plantation renowned as one of the finest Palladian houses in America, and continues through the construction, and rescue of a small home designed by Frank Lloyd Wright as a model of a modest residence for all Americans. In between, a revolution is won, a new republic embarks on its future, a civil war divides the country, the Victorian era captures America, and the modern age arrives. Around this American story Seale weaves the tale of many houses and many lives.

Among them are two presidential houses: Madison's Montpelier in Virginia and Woodrow Wilson's town house in the capital. George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and the Marquis de Lafayette put in appearances, as does financier Jay Gould, owner of the Gothic castle Lyndhurst on the Hudson. Other houses come to life as well: a quintessential southern mansion on a Louisiana bayou; two early Monterey adobes in California; "the grandest house west of Chicago"; two Frank Lloyd Wright designs, including his home and studio in Oak Park, Illinois; Chesterwood, the Berkshire studio of Minute Man sculptor Daniel Chester French; and Filoli, a California house known today for its spectacular gardens - and a starring role in a television series. In William Seale's deft telling of their tales, the houses take on personalities of their own, divulging the stories of generations of inhabitants. Of Houses & Time recreates their pasts, including how they came to be properties of the National Trust, in an original and engrossing text, surrounded by a tapestry of documentary views and color photographs of the houses as they look now. An illustrated "genealogy" provides information about visiting the houses, all of which are open to the public.

Editorial Reviews

Booknews
Mirrors three centuries of life in America through recounted and illustrated stories of 17 very different houses united today as properties of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. Seale's narratives of the building and occupation of the houses are accompanied by 200 illustrations which blend documentary b&w photographs with new color photographs of the houses as they look now. 9.25x12". Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
Donna Seaman
The National Trust for Historic Preservation owns 17 splendid houses of architectural and cultural significance. Seale, a historian, author, and renowned restorer, chronicles the history of the people who built and lived in these landmark homes. His focus on the aspirations and destinies of generations of inhabitants expands our perception of these buildings beyond their design and structure and into the cycle of family life and the shifting fortunes of politics and business. These histories span more than 250 years, from colonial mansions and the homes of presidents to the dream houses of flambuoyant entrepreneurs. The sites include South Carolina's Drayton Hall; Montpelier and the Woodrow Wilson House; Lyndhurst, a Hudson River castle; and, in California, Casa Amesti and Fioli with its famous 16-acre garden. The architectural photographs (125 in color), both interior and exterior, are crisp and beautifully composed to show these houses to full effect, while portraits and snapshots introduce us to the folks who called them home.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780810936713
Publisher:
Abrams, Harry N., Inc.
Publication date:
10/01/1992
Pages:
237
Product dimensions:
9.41(w) x 12.08(h) x 1.16(d)

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