Tuesday, June 25, 2013

New Orleans Groggery

In the early twentieth century, bankers and businessmen working in New Orleans' Central Business District shared a dining and drinking establishment, the Old 27, located on the first floor at 215 Carondelet Street (building with circular signage in photo above). The Sportsmen's Conservation Club gathered there for its annual banquet in 1912 and the next year the Jones Island Pleasure Club did the same. The latter showed motion pictures of Jones Island (Manchac) and Professor Peter Schaff's orchestra performed "while an army of waiters attended to their wants."(1)

Named for its pre-1895 street number, the Old 27 was a well-known groggery that had changed hands a number of times by 1913, when it was run by Frenchman Francois Sartre (1856-1921). Born in Bordeaux, Sartre moved to Louisiana around 1886, first working as a chef for the Godchaux in Reserve, Louisiana before his reputation prompted the Aliciatore family to hire him in New Orleans. Once he had accumulated sufficient capital, he opened his first restaurant in Biloxi and later his second in the Old 27.

Prohibition doomed the 40-year-old watering hole. The Times-Picayune quoted Sartre:

'Prohibition! Quelle pensee, terrible! Avez un coeur! When you take wine from a Frenchman you might as well kill him. My friends, they say they shall go back to France if this country becomes dry. Me, I have already turned most of my place into a restaurant because I knew it was coming. It is hard. Why, I drink less than a half a gallon of water in a year; what shall I do when they take my wine? And what about my friends? They must suffer also. In France we put out absinthe and kept our wine when the war came on. In the United States they should put out whiskey and keep the wine and beer.'(2)

One year later, Sartre leased and renovated the former Ramos Gin Fizz Saloon at 712-714 Gravier Street and opened a new Francois. There, one could have the Daily Table D'Hote Dinner consisting of American turtle soup, filet of beef pique richelieu, and a lettuce and alligator pear salad for $1.25.(3)

(1)"Jones' Islanders." The Times-Picayune (16 February 1913): p. 15. In 1902, architect William Fitzner maintained offices upstairs.

(2)"Publicans Hit by 'Bone Dry' Edict Still Optimistic."  The Times-Picayune (19 January 1919): p. 27.

(3)"Francois Restaurant." The Times-Picayune (17 October 1920): p. 7.

Image above: "Cotton Exchange /Sun. July 27-1913." Miscellaneous Photographs Collection, Southeastern Architectural Archive, Special Collections Division, Tulane University Libraries.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Lost Marbles

For those who have wondered whatever happened to the figurative sculptures from the old New Orleans Cotton Exchange Building, Albert Weiblen's Marble & Granite Works office records provide the answers.

Louisville, Kentucky architect Henry W. Wolters (flourished 1870s-1890s) designed the ornate structure in 1881 after winning a public competition (first image). Wolters referred to the style as 'French Renaissance,' claiming it to be the 'most popular and appropriate style of street architecture in Paris.'(1) The Carondelet Street facade was especially elaborate, with broken pediments and abundant sculptural embellishment. Caryatids framed the doorway and personifications of Agriculture, Commerce and Industry surmounted the segmental pediment crowning the entrance bay.

In 1918, the sculptures were removed from the building in preparation for the new Cotton Exchange Building.(2) Exchange secretary Colonel H.G. Hester intimated that the new structure would be a replica of the old, and that the sculptures -- either replaced or restored -- would remain.(3)  However, as the building project developed, his assurances were never realized. The Park Commission agreed to place the salvaged marbles in City Park despite criticism from the architectural community.(4)

When the Works Progress Administration began altering City Park, the marbles were moved to the Weiblen Marble and Granite Works. Architect Albert W. Drennan incorporated the caryatids into the Weiblen Showroom building located at 116 City Park Avenue (second image), but the pediment figures proved more difficult to reassign. According to Weiblen architect Ralph G. Phillippi, the 11'10" figure of Commerce (sometimes referred to as Peace; fourth image) -- along with part of the frieze -- was sent to the quarry "to be sawed for slabs and vase stock." Albert Weiblen stored the 7'5" sculptures of Agriculture (third image) and Industry(fifth image)  in the Metairie Cemetery Annex, but both works were vandalized by boys "shooting at them with twenty twos from the railroad track." Weiblen subsequently broke the marbles for use as fill under Bell Avenue/Fairway Drive on the western side of Metairie Cemetery.(5)

This blog has previously addressed Tulane's lost owl sculptures that New Orleans architects Moise Goldstein & Nathaniel C. Curtis, Jr. buried somewhere in Audubon Park.

(1)"The New Cotton Exchange." The Daily Picayune (23 March 1881): p.4. Located on the corner of Carondelet and Gravier Streets, the building was constructed for approximately $370,000. James Freret served as supervising architect for the foundation, and Charles A. Marble of Chicago was supervising architect under Wolters. See: "An Imposing Structure: The New Cotton Exchange in New Orleans." Frank Leslie's Illustrated Newspaper (24 March 1883): p. 76 and "A Palace of Commerce." The Daily Picayune (9 May 1883): p.4. According to the latter article, the sculptures were the work of a stone carver A. Goddard, who also executed works for the Chicago parks.

(2)"'Just What We Deserve' Say Three Granite Sisters." The Times-Picayune (17  November 1918): p.41. S.S. Labouisse was named architect for the project, but passed away in 1918. Favrot & Livaudais ultimately designed the new structure in 1920.

(3)"It Will Be a Gem." The Times-Picayune (12  January 1919): p.31.

(4)'"Stone Ladies' Regarded as 'Grotesque,' Inartistic." The Times-Picayune (9  February 1920): p.7.

(5)Ralph G. Phillippi, notes on undated photographs. Albert Weiblen Marble & Granite Works Office Records, Southeastern Architectural Archive.

Images above: First: H.W. Wolters, architect. Cotton Exchange, Carondelet & Gravier Streets. Frank Leslie's Illustrated Newspaper (30 April 1881), Miscellaneous Photographs Collection; Second: Albert W. Drennan, architect. Weiblen Showroom, 116 City Park Avenue. Undated, Albert Weiblen Marble & Granite Works Office Records; Third-Fifth: Undated photographs, Albert Weiblen Marble & Granite Works Office Records. All Southeastern Architectural Archive, Special Collections Division, Tulane University Libraries.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

900 Block Camp Street

We recently came across a series of Camp Street parade photographs from the early twentieth century. They depict streetcars, horse carts, military groups, spectators, bands, residences and stores along the 900 block of Camp Street, directly across from Confederate Memorial Hall. Since the flags are at half staff, we assume a funerary parade, and the commemorative procession for President McKinley seems possible.

The structures located at 900-918 Camp Street -- occupied by Nicholas Radetich's oyster bar and saloon and Lambert Brothers gas fitters, plumbers and electricians -- were demolished prior to the 1906 construction of the Fairbanks Company building (Stone Brothers, architects).

Images above:  Camp Street, circa 1901. Miscellaneous Photographs Collection, Southeastern Architectural Archive, Special Collections Division, Tulane University Libraries.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Mid-Century Bourbon Street

Tulane Digital Library and the Southeastern Architectural Archive are happy to announce a new Digital Collection of mid-century New Orleans photographs.

Walter Cook Keenan (1881-1970), the first architect of the Vieux Carré Commission (VCC), took the photographs in order to document violations of the Vieux Carré Ordinance (VCO). Beginning in 1944, the VCC increasingly sought to regulate the appearance of building facades, especially by limiting signage and prohibiting the use of neon. As VCC architect, Keenan conducted daily property inspections to document VCO violations.

Entertainment businesses along Bourbon Street were notably affected by the ordinance and Keenan recorded nearly every property along the artery more than once. Bourbon Street's night clubs, jazz musicians, burlesque shows, restaurants and boarding houses became his photographic subjects. The collection includes images of Sloppy Joe's, Lenny Gale's Sugar Bowl, the Old Barn Bar, Zonia's Cocktail Lounge, Ciro's, the Magic Lock, the Famous Door, 418 Bar, Dixie's Bar of Music, and Stormy's Casino Royale. Signs for burlesque dancers Evangeline, Bubbles, Kalantan, Pam Holloway, and Stormy's Mother also feature prominently.

Image above: Walter Cook Keenan. 327 Bourbon Street. 16 September 1949. Walter Cook Keenan New Orleans Architecture Photographs, Southeastern Architectural Archive, Special Collections Division, Tulane University Libraries.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

2517-2519 Columbus Street

In 1938, New Orleans architects Andry & Feitel developed plans for a two-story frame structure for Reverend Alphonse Janssens for the St. Rose of Lima parish. Paul Andry (1868-1946) had already designed a new church (1914) and brick school (1925) for the parish before receiving this commission.

The two-story weatherboard building was intended to function as a school annex, accommodating restrooms, additional classrooms, an auditorium and a cafeteria. Reverend Janssens contributed personal funds towards the building, as he had with earlier parish building projects.(1)

The Southeastern Architectural Archive retains plans for all three St. Rose of Lima structures, as well as block plans for the properties the parish acquired. The Louisiana Research Collection has additional holdings relevant to the church that have been described in the department blog.

(1)Roger Baudier, Sr. Centennial/St. Rose of Lima Parish/New Orleans, LA. New Orleans: 1957, p. 56. Louisiana Research Collection, Special Collections Division, Tulane University Libraries.

Images above: Andry & Feitel, architects. Raised Frame Parochial School Building for St. Rose de Lima Parish. [2517-2519 Columbus Street] 30 June 1938; Revised 7 July 1938. Andry & Feitel Office Records, Southeastern Architectural Archive, Special Collections Division, Tulane University Libraries.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Sully's Penthouse Office

New Orleans architect Thomas Sully (1885-1939) designed his own offices on the eleventh floor of the Hennen Building located at 201-203 Carondelet/800-814 Common Street. A previous post included photographs of the building exterior and his office interior. His suite included a drafting room, individual offices, a vault, blueprinting operations and access to the roof garden. The drafting & blueprinting room skylights provided natural illumination. Two stairways accommodated access to an attic; one of them provided access to a tenth-story bath house and barbershop.

Between 1896 & 1898 Sully, Burton & Stone Company expanded the Hennen Building's top floor to create additional office spaces. The roof garden was lost in the process.

In 1921, Emile Weil altered the Henenn for the Canal-Commercial Trust & Savings Bank by adding two additional bays on the upriver Carondelet Street side and extending the eleventh story. He significantly transformed the lower portion of the street facade by removing the original  fenestration and surface ornamentation.

The Hennen Building -- now called the Maritime -- has been on the National Register since 1986.

Image above:  Thomas Sully & Company, architect. Eleventh Floor alterations, The Hennen Building. Undated. Sam Stone Jr. Office Records, Southeastern Architectural Archive, Special Collections Division, Tulane University Libraries.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Central City 1970

In 1970, New Orleans architect Edward B. Silverstein (1909-1989) received a commission to alter the old Dryades Market building located at the corner of Dryades (now Oretha Castle Haley Boulevard) and Melpomene Streets. He was already very familiar with the historic property, as he had worked on the building twice before, the first time nearly twenty years prior. In 1951, his office was able to secure copies of the original 1911 drawings by City Engineer William Joseph Hardee and his assistant Maurice Woulfe, which had included the design of a large arcade conjoining the downriver vegetable market to the upriver meat market, as well as substantive provisions for reinforcing the Melpomene Street roadbed since it covered a subterranean canal.

The structure had already undergone massive renovations during the 1930s. In 1931, Sam Stone, Jr. (1869-1933) developed plans to widen Melpomene Street for vehicular traffic and remove the lower portion of the arcade. He replaced portions of the foundation and the trussing system, modernized the plumbing, added refrigeration units and significantly altered the interior stalls.

Silverstein's first alterations to the structure were developed in partnership with Leon Weiss (1882-1952). Weiss and Silverstein modernized the Dryades Street facade  by replacing it with multiple storefronts comprised of plate glass windows unified by a porcelain enamel frieze. In the late 1950s, Silverstein further altered some of the stores by adding modern lighting and sound systems.

Economic decline was affecting the structure when Charles L. Franck took this photograph (above/circa 1970). Silverstein hired the photographer to record existing conditions relevant to the former meat market building, as some of the shop owners leasing storefronts desired additional security features. Silverstein made his last alterations by replacing his earlier plate glass windows with a brick veneer and adding roll-up metal security doors.

Image above: Charles L. Franck, photographer. Project Number 874. Circa 1970. Edward B. Silverstein Office Records, Southeastern Architectural Archive, Special Collections Division, Tulane University Libraries. This image is issued by the Southeastern Architectural Archive. Use of the image requires written permission from the staff of the SEAA. It may not be sold or redistributed, copied or distributed as a photograph, electronic file, or any other media. The user is responsible for all issues of copyright.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Reproduction & Preservation

We have mentioned in an earlier post the relationship between architectural reprographic processes and jazz music in New Orleans. Tulane University's Hogan Jazz Archive retains the blueprint-laden manuscript collection of local musician John Hyman, aka Johnny Wiggs.

For those interested in large format duplication processes, catalogs published by the Eugene Dietzgen Company provide considerable information. Product number 4310B (top image) was a sheet washer for developing blueprints and negative prints in running water. A clamping device fixed the drawing into a near-vertical position for the washing process. Wet prints could be dried on the rack attached to the top of the washer.

Dietzgen vacuum print frames were sold individually (bottom image) or with high power arc lamps (central image). The company recommended the individual print frame for both electric and sun printing. The frame's vacuum pump connected to a rubber blanket designed to keep the sensitized paper and the trace material firmly in position against the glass plate.

When the vacuum print frame was coupled with the lamps, Dietzgen recommended its use for processing Vandykes and Edco process prints. The latter was the company's method of reproducing original tracings by making a Vandyke negative of the original tracing and then placing the intermediate directly atop a sensitized cloth (called Edco Process Cloth) and exposing the sheets to light as one would do in the development of a blueprint. After the Edco Process Cloth was exposed, the technician would rinse it with water, apply a developing liquid, rinse it a second time, and hang the print out to dry.

Companies such as Dietzgen encouraged architectural and engineering businesses to make duplicates of original tracings for preservation purposes: "This is the best insurance known, for the duplicate may be filed away in a vault, or elsewhere, safe from loss or damage by fire."(1)

(1)Catalog of Eugene Dietzgen Co., Manufacturers Blue Print Papers/Drafting Room supplies/Survey Instruments/and Accessories/Measuring Tapes. Chicago: Eugene Dietzgen Co., 1931, p. 33.

Images above:  Catalog of Eugene Dietzgen Co., Manufacturers Blue Print Papers/Drafting Room supplies/Survey Instruments/and Accessories/Measuring Tapes. Chicago: Eugene Dietzgen Co., 1931.
Southeastern Architectural Archive, Special Collections Division, Tulane University Libraries.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

DIY French Quarter Walking Tour

If you are visiting New Orleans and plan to walk through the French Quarter, you may want to use this map. Photograph collector Frank Boatner printed it to chart the many historic buildings he researched, including the French Opera House and the Three Sisters. It may come in handy for your own promenade.

Map for a Promenade through the Historic Vieux Carre of New Orleans. Undated map. Frank H. Boatner Collection of Louisiana Architecture Photographs, Southeastern Architectural Archive, Special Collections Division, Tulane University Libraries.