Archives For 19th century

round houses of snow

September 13, 2015 — 1 Comment

An Inuit (Eskimo) village, as seen in 1861 –

Inuit village, 1861The illustration is from Charles Francis Hall’s Arctic Researches and Life Among the Esquimaux, published in 1865.

ye olde round house

September 12, 2015 — Leave a comment

The 19th century Theberton Round House –

theburton round house, UK

In Theberton, Leiston, Suffolk, England.

windmill house

April 30, 2015 — 1 Comment

A former windmill, now a private home, is for sale in Leeds, England. Here is how it looked in the early 1900s –

potternewton, leeds

The windmill was built in the mid to late 18th century. A 1789 lease between the Earl of Mexborough, Peter Garforth and William Burrows makes reference to a “windmill lately built, Scott Hall Gate Close, (in possession of Joseph Ingle) and newly erected dwelling place.”

The windmill is thought to have been converted to residential use in the late 19th century. A Leeds directory from 1882 states that the house was occupied by David Lee, market gardener, and called Windmill House. Now known as the Round House, it can be yours for £295,000.

on the market

October 4, 2014 — Leave a comment

An early 19th century Martello tower in Suffolk, England, is now on the market. Built as a rampart against a feared French invasion — one of 11 Martello towers that still line the Suffolk coast — it was converted to a residence in 2010. Architect Stuart Piercy and designer Duncan Jackson collaborated on the project, creating “one of the most original and soul-stirring modern homes in Britain.


The asking price is £995,000 (about $1.58 million). If you can’t afford to buy it, you may be able to rent it for a holiday.

The curving rooms of the Portland Hotel, in Long Beach, Washington, hosted thousands of guests during the hotel’s 30 years of existence –

portland hotel, long beach, WA

Built in the 1880s, the building burned down on December 6, 1914.

A defensive fortress from the Napoleonic era was converted in 2009 to a private residence –

martello tower

Made up of some 750,000 bricks, with immensely thick walls, Martello Tower Y was originally built in 1808 as a coastal outpost against an expected invasion from Napoleon’s France.  The years passed, the French attack never came, and the building fell into disrepair. It was totally derelict when renovations began, 200 years after its construction.

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round vacation

June 22, 2013 — 1 Comment

What better place for a summer vacation than a cool round house overlooking the beach? The Water Tower, just off the Pacific Coast Highway in Sunset Beach, California, supplied water to the surrounding area until 1974. Here it is in 1966, in its original state, with a curvy ’60s VW bug in the foreground –

watertower, sunset beach, 1966

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the omphalos

June 16, 2013 — 2 Comments

Do you pay rent for this tower?

Twelve quid, Buck Mulligan said.

… Rather bleak in wintertime, I should say. Martello you call it?

Billy Pitt had them built, Buck Mulligan said, when the French were on the sea. But ours is the omphalos.

martello tower 2

James Joyce spent six days staying with a couple of friends in a Martello tower in Sandy Cove, Dublin, in 1904, and later set the first chapter of his novel Ulysses there. Built during the Napoleonic era as a defensive position against a feared French invasion, the tower is one of a string of Martello towers in England, Ireland, and Wales.

Now known as the James Joyce Tower, it has been made into a museum, and furnished as it was during Joyce’s time there. For Joyce devotees who make the pilgrimage to visit it, the tower may indeed be an omphalos, a sacred conical object.

Nineteenth century Shakers, a religious minority with colonies in New York and several New England states, were fond of round barns.

In his book An Age of Barns, landscape painter Eric Sloane explains that the Shakers regarded the circle as the perfect form. “Farmers made circular designs on their barns, and their wives sewed circular patterns on quilts. The Shakers used the circle in their ‘inspirational drawings’ … they took delight in round hats, rugs and boxes; and they made round drawer-pulls and hand-rests for their severely angled furniture. There is a saying that the round barn was intended ‘to keep the devil from hiding in corners.’

mckim, mead & white

December 1, 2010 — Leave a comment

This old tower of a house in Jamestown, Rhode Island, said to have been designed in 1888 by the renowned architectural firm of McKim, Mead & White, is known locally as — what else? — the Round House –