Enter if You Dare

7 08 2017

Here is a vintage post card view of the former Scottish Rite Temple in Mobile, Alabama, built in 1922. Very severe and monumental in design.

Mobile AL temple-small


A Mid-Century Modern Office

2 09 2015

This 1950s advertisement from Virginia Metal Products showcases their stylish ‘Mobilwall’ system. The panels were offered in bright enameled colors and translucent glass. This design apparently came about when “Dorr-Oliver, international engineering firm, wanted its new headquarters building in Stamford, Connecticut, to reflect its world-wide activities. The company’s interior designers, Rodgers Associates, conceived the idea of partitions following the horizontal lines of the Japanese shoji screen. Working closely with them, VMP engineers produced these distinctive Mobilwalls to match this concept.” Now, what does all of this have to do with Nefertiti? No idea, but there she is in the ad…

VMP ad 2-small

Remember Me When This Pyramid You See

20 03 2015

Once upon a time there was a man named James Buchanan. He was President of the United States. Then he died, but that’s not The End. His niece donated land for a park to honor his memory, which includes a rustic stone pyramid on the site of Jame’s family home. You can read more about it here. And you can visit and compare this vintage postcard view to what you see there.

Buchanan tomb

Movin’ On Up

22 06 2012

Natural habitats are usually preferable.  However, if you are being mauled by lions or the whole ‘hood is going to pot, it’s hard to beat the safe, calm oasis of the Detroit Zoological Park.  Most especially if your digs include a fabulous ancient Egyptian-themed backdrop.  So you never lived in Egypt – who cares?  It’s about the ‘wow’ factor, not accuracy, silly.  And when you have such an exotic setting, you get publicity!

Éirinn go Brách

24 04 2012

Although my collection focuses on American items, a few foreign bits have slipped in because they are so fabulous.  Today we’re skipping over to fair Ireland with this early 20th century postcard featuring a monumental Egyptian arch.  Thanks to Google, I now know that the structure is a railroad bridge built in 1851.  More history is available here

Lock ‘Em Up and Throw Away the Key

15 10 2011

Egyptianizing design was a popular theme for prisons during the early 1800s.  This c. 1900 postcard shows the New Jersey State Prison in Trenton, completed in 1836 by John Haviland – a preeminent architect of that time.  The building at right blocks the view of the wings stretching out from the central building, with battered walls and cavetto cornice.  (You can see better images here.)  Although classified as Egyptian Revival, the building exhibits a common, and decades old, practice of blending historical accuracy with culturally unrelated design elements.  In any case, the application of this style lends an appropriate sense of cavernous impenetrability to the prison.

The Other Grauman’s

7 08 2011

To most people, the phrase “Grauman’s Theater” refers to the Chinese-themed movie palace on Hollywood Blvd.  And although they are correct, it is unfortunate that this building is the one everyone knows about.  Even a Google search for ‘Grauman’s’  results in a majority of hits that also include the word ‘Chinese’.  As you have probably guessed by the theme of my blog, I am hardly going to write a post about something Asian.  No way.  I, dear reader, am going to write about Grauman’s other, earlier theater – the Egyptian.  Located just down the street from the Chinese Theater, the Egyptian Theater opened in 1922 – before King Tut’s tomb was discovered, but built during the hype of Carter’s search.  As was the case with most Egyptianizing buildings of that and other time periods, ancient themes were loosely interpreted in order to accomodate modern tastes and heighten the dramatic atmosphere required for a moving picture palace.  These postcards from the 1920s show the various details of the courtyard entrance, and the festively costumed ‘usherettes’.

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