Leaving my Mark

In  bygone days, when builders constructed or repaired buildings they would often leave a symbol on the property to indicate who had completed the work.

Today, I intended to spend a few hours repairing the loose stucco on one of our chimneys and then enjoy the rest of the beautiful sunny day. However, on closer inspection of the chimney I really had little choice but to strip off all the stucco and repair the whole stack above the roof line.  

Six hours later I was feeling fairly self-satisfied with a job well done, given this is not my profession, and so I thought I would add my own little symbol to my work.

I had made a few of these during my pottery with spare pieces of clay and really have no use for them, but now one sits fairly discreetly on our chimney.

160703_Mark

Egocentric behavior? Oh yes, but it appears ’twas ever thus, so why not? 🙂

~Richard

Urban(e) Art?

As a biologist I have an affinity for the so-called natural world and the beauty of nature but, having said that, there is also a lot of unseen beauty in many mundane areas of our industrialized world. One aspect that I like to explore photographically when taking a trip to our cities, is that of reflection in our glass superstructures.

This was taken in Manhattan from my hotel window and there is a wonderful mix of  the perfect straight lines and the waviness of the reflections in the not-so-perfect glass windows.

160617_UrbaneArt

~Richard

Lucy the Elephant

Billed variously as “the world’s largest elephant” and optimistically as “the largest zoomorphic architecture in the world” (hmm, if you’ve never heard of the Sphinx, or the Kakadu Crocodile Inn, perhaps?), Lucy the Elephant stands facing the Atlantic Ocean at Margate, New Jersey.

This wonderful old wooden structure, sheathed in tin sheeting, was built in 1881 by James V. Lafferty and used as a tourist novelty and to show the local real estate to prospective buyers for an ever-expanding Atlantic City in the late 19th century.  The six-storey building was originally called the Elephant Bazaar and was topped with a howdah to afford views of the area.  It formed part of a larger complex including Turkish baths as can be seen from this restored PD image, taken in the 1890s:

LucyElephant

The building picked up the name “Lucy the Elephant” in 1902 after it had been sold and was used for many purposes over the following decades.  By 1969 Lucy was in a poor state and was to be demolished, but a group of local enthusiasts banded together and saved the structure, moved her about 100 yards and repaired her  internally as well as providing a new  exterior “skin”.

She was subsequently designated a National Historic Landmark (amazing what difference a few years makes!) and is now maintained by the Save Lucy Committee who look after her every need!

I confess to never having heard of this wonderful piece of eccentric history until a few months ago, and I plan to visit her at some point in the near future and update this post with a few more contemporary images.  Stay tuned!

~Richard

 

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