Monday, May 18, 2009

1956 Yard Map

In going through "stuff" I found a letter that Bess wrote to her nieces in 1956 that came back to her somehow. The letter includes a lengthy description of her vegetable garden and a hand drawn map, complete with numbers and a list of items in the yard:

Our yard layout, the little red dots are flagstone walks to garden, garage, and shed

1. house
2. garage
3. tool shed
4. pool
5. driveway
6. turn around place
7. garden – mostly vegetables
8. raspberries – currants – goosberries
9. Sweet cherry tree
10. peach trees
11. peach trees
12. green gage plum tree
13. northern spy apple
14. apple tree
15. cherry tree
16. pine tree
17. apple tree
18. cherry tree
19. pear tree
20. apple tree
21. sweet pear tree
22. plum tree
23. plum tree
24. elm tree
25. red bud
26. magnolia
27. red leaf peach
28. golden rain
29. strawberries (150 plants)
30. strawberry pyramid

And how much is left today?

1. house YES
2. garage YES
3. tool shed NO (our garden is here)
4. pool YES
5. driveway YES
6. turn around place YES
7. garden – mostly vegetables NO (Sold in early 1980's)
8. raspberries – currants – goosberries NO (our garden is here)
9. Sweet cherry tree NO (our garden is here)
10. peach tree NO (swingset)
11. peach tree NO
12. green gage plum tree NO (tree house)
13. northern spy apple NO
14. apple tree NO
15. cherry tree NO
16. pine tree NO
17. apple tree NO
18. cherry tree NO (limestone patio)
19. pear tree NO
20. apple tree NO
21. sweet pear tree NO (crabapple)
22. plum tree NO (maple tree)
23. plum tree Sort Of (We cut down the original in 2005 it was growing sideways out of the hill, a sprout from the roots has come back)
24. elm tree NO
25. red bud NO
26. magnolia NO
27. red leaf peach NO
28. golden rain NO
29. strawberries (150 plants)NO
30. strawberry pyramid NO

Items of note:

  • Most of the path stones are around, we've moved them some. The line to the garage is now sidewalk, I know the flagstones are underneath the cement.
  • I'm very curious about what the red letters are.
  • None of the three enormous walnut trees that dominate our yard today are marked. They lie roughly between 13 and 2, between 6 and 23, and at 28. I would trade at least two of them for half the fruit trees listed...
  • None of the lilac bushes along the southwestern edge of the yard are listed.
  • Bess lists the front dimension of the lot as 125 feet. In the letter she says she has all but finalized the purchase of a 25 foot wide strip of land north of the driveway that ran along the northwest side of the lot. That must have never been purchased because last night I stepped off 125 feet from the eastern corner of the lot and ended up all the way down across the neighbor's driveway. The house north of ours was the last one built in the neighborhood in 1968.


Christopher Busta-Peck said...

The first thing that the letters with the arrows remind me of is floorplans in the magazine Fine Homebuilding. The letters indicate the location of the photograher, and the arrow indicates the direction that the photographer was facing. I could believe that there are a corresponding set of photographs.

I'm surprised to see that so many of the trees are gone. Even though you're a full zone colder than I am, I can't imagine that frost and cold weather would kill all the trees.

Mike said...

Brilliant, there were pictures in the box with the letter, but they have a date of 1964 on them and they don't quite match up with the locations. But if I go through the photo albums from the 1950's (there are several) I might find pictures from those points!


Mike said...

Also, I'm not surprised by the trees not surviving, fruit trees don't last all that long, and I'm pretty sure by 1956 some of them were already nearly 30 years old. One advertising piece we have from the developers said in 1927 that they had planted two fruit trees at the back of each lot, since Bess originally had nearly 3 lots that would have made about 6 trees.


Christopher Busta-Peck said...

Oh, 1920s trees. I was thinking that the trees had been planted in the 50s. That makes more sense, then.

Anonymous said...

I think I will create a plan like this of our yard and hide it in a crack.

All those fruit trees must have been nice.

bungalowbliss said...

I just love your blog. Little treasures like this are just fascinating! I'm sure you realize how wonderfully fortunate you are to have such excellent documentation of Foxcroft's history. If only all previous owners had been so good at this!

Mike said...

Such good ideas and kind words, thanks!