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A Colonial Style Summer

A walk through the small historic district of Holden, MA allows time to view many details of colonial architecture and landscaping.

This home in the historic district of Holden, MA, displays the simple beauty of early American design and decoration. Lilies, phlox and daisies, traditional New England perennials, become the “front lawn”. No mowing needed.
The rest of the “lawn” is dominated by common ferns. Look closely to the left of the door. A golden colored “guard” is on duty there.
Door guards such as this one have been popular in China for centuries. This might be a representation of a lion, dragon or dog. Although I was unable to find direct links from this style of ceramics to early America, The Boston Tea Party Ship and Museum notes that: In 1741, ships belonging to the British, Danish, French, and Swedish brought a total of 1,200,000 pieces of Chinese porcelain into the European ports. A good portion of those pieces ended up in the fine homes of Boston, New York, Philadelphia, and Charleston. I welcome comments if you have expertise in this area!
A recent trend in primitive decorating is the use of gourds. Here, eye-catching Italian gourds (or possibly small snake gourds) hang on the side door underneath panes of traditional bull’s eye glass. The five-pointed star atop the door was a symbol of good luck in colonial America. A side lantern in colonial style utilizes faux candles.
The smaller golden guard of the side door sits next to a pot of basil. Basil was brought to the New World in the 1620s. Along with flavoring food, it was used as a strewing herb. Additionally, the leaves were dried for use in snuff to relieve headaches and colds.
Whitewashed picket fences were popular in colonial days. These fences were expensive and harder to maintain than plain wooden fences, so they became a symbol of prosperity.
This rooster weather vane, with its tail perfectly shaped to catch the wind, stands proudly atop the house. Weather vanes were popular in colonial times, but were first used centuries before this era.

About the author jmankowsky

This photo blog features the seasonal changes in nature observed in my own backyard and a variety of local environments. The Wachusett Meadow Audubon Sanctuary in Princeton, MA is often highlighted as a model for the positive effects a small nature preserve can have on the larger environment and the local community. Local sites of historical, cultural and recreational interest are spotlighted as well. All photographs were taken by me. Thank you so much for visiting.

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7 Comments

  1. Having troubles commenting. Sorry! Beautiful, beautiful place.

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    1. In my town, we have just a very small historic area. There are only a half dozen houses in it, and I think this one is the most “oldy-fashioned”. 😉

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      1. Love it! I think the creature guarding the home might be a temple dog. But I am not sure.

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      2. That’s where I was leaning, as well, but I didn’t want to commit myself! 😉

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  2. I was wondering if this might be your home, Julie, but the other comments contradict this idea. The house and garden are lovely and very tastefully decorated. The meaning behind some of the ornaments only enhance the appeal.

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    1. Thanks, Tanja. I live down the road apiece from this house, but back in the day, I lived in an old colonial built in 1796. I have a fascination for New England history, and visit many Native American/ Colonial sites around here.

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