Brev. Brig. Gen'l
- Feb 14, 2012
- Central Pennsylvania
Officer's wives and a child, a tiny house in Petersburg. Sure it's cute. It's also an incredibly small space in which to live.
One of my favorite ' Wife in Camp ' images, LoC. Why? It's what, maybe 6' by 12'. Tiny house? I'll say. Check out the lace doily runner along her shelf. She made it a home. It wasn't permanent no but a couple and who knows, a child may have lived there. It's Aquia Creek landing.
While things have changed and are changing more through 2019, women traditionally have been responsible for ' making ' the family home. We did it everywhere, from log home to soddy to shed to tent, where there's a girl she was creating a home. Anywhere she walked through a door doilies appeared, dirt floors were swept and the nest took shape. You know the famous image ( which I won't post yet again, it's here around 400 times already ), camp of the 31st Pennsylvania? Wife, kids, soldier husband and puppy? Her family treasures inclusive of a Blue Willow sugar pot are on display. It was home. A really, really small home. Yes a tent but was this woman's home in Harrisburg or Chambersburg or whereever much larger?
Children who must be Elizabeth and Peter Thorn's son on the porch, Gettysburg's Evergreen Cemetery gate house summer of 1863. We know she lived there- ever think how small that place is? There's not much wall either side of those windows. Husband, wife and three children lived there.
You look at this and hope that isn't her teenyteenyteenytiny house. But it may have been. @Belle Montgomery , @Equestriangirl93 , have you seen her? It may be City Point again- wish I could remember.
Here's what's so amazing. One solution to the current housing crisis ( no politics here, it's just what is ) has been the ' tiny house ' craze. Not so crazy. In an era when ' kids ' are supposed to move out on their own, accepting the full load of adult responsibility by creating a single family dwelling there's a. less and less dwellings to be had and b. less and less likelihood those kids can afford one while paying student loans, finding their feet in a career and starting families. Tiny houses solve a lot, heck, I've seen ' pods ' created- little spaces the size of half a tractor trailer.
Snugged between and beneath sprawling structures, war time Washington DC features quite a few of these barely-room-for-a-door facades. Think about it. How wide is a door, 3'? Houses may be as wide as my living room.
But. Are we maybe coming full circle? Yes, tours of historic homes include mansions where the 12 foot ceilings are fitting in all 25 rooms stuffed with wonderful furniture, fixtures, rugs and bric-a-brac. There was a flip side to these opulent living spaces. A LOT of us lived another way. Look at some famous houses just in Gettysburg alone. Both Mary Thompson's and Georgianna McClellan's ( the Jenny Wade ) homes, small by our standards were duplexes. Two families not one stuffed themselves into unthinkably teeny spaces.
From a Hathitrust book, public access. This one's McClellan's, where Mary Virginia Wade died.
32', encompassing both sides of the duplex. Take away a couple feet for walls, negative space for fireplace and stairway- how many feet of living space would there be?
Rawlins and his little family in the doorway of their little home at City Point. She's also wearing hoops!
Sure, there are more spacious homes of the era not always belonging to some person of wealth. The thing is, while we've come to believe it's normal for the proverbial nuclear family to be the single occupant the nearer truth most housed several generations. You really hoped your son brought home a wife you could like. You got cozy with her. She was equally worried about you.
It's thought provoking. You know those ' McMansions '? A good friend lives in one and it's a lovely home. The foyer alone is spacious enough to swallow Georgianna's half of her duplex. Do we need it? They seem to have slightly ruined the whole ' tiny house ' thing by 2019- prices can still climb into 6 figures. They don't have to be. Read of one young couple who graduated college, maxed out small credit cards and built their own for around 5K. They said they'll live there until college is paid off.
Again, think how wide is a door. That's a tiny house. Washington DC, 1865 ( snipped from an LoC tif ).
What's so funny looking at these is how swiftly you get used to them- this little ( little ) cottage seems almost spacious. It may be ten feet of frontage. There are a lot more photographs bearing testimony to how little we were prepared to go but you get the idea. I'm not sure I could do it but bet if it were the only option I'd get used to it in a big hurry. Have to shrink the dogs.