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Evening star. [volume] (Washington, D.C.) 1854-1972, January 10, 1932, Image 81

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Persistent link: https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn83045462/1932-01-10/ed-1/seq-81/

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Reveals Priceless Treasures and Relics
One view of the dining room, showing the comb-bach Windsor chairs and drop
leaf tabic used in the Virginia homes of the simpler type in Colonial days. 7 he
dishes shown are pewter, the hangings at the window being of genuine toile de
Jouy in red and white dyes.
The actual fireplace in which the cocking for the Mary W ashington household
was done. At the right are the waffle and tea wafer irons used by the cooks
of those days. The spinning wheel is said to be the kind used for wool which
was more widely spun in Virginia than flax.
$5,000 on the inventory supplied the owners
of the house. A wing chair of great allure and
unusual lines, but lacking the upholstery in
keeping with its fine neighbors, stands near the
fireplace, right in line with that very charm
ing print, “Mr. West and Family.” This is
one of the loveliest things in the house—a fam
ily group showing the mother in a picturesque
costume of white with a large headdress also
of white, as the central figure of interest. The
engraving might have been the work of Mr.
West himself, who is described as historical
painter to his majesty and who dedicated the
picture to her imperial majesty of all the
Russias. It was published in July, 1779, by
John Boydell of Cheapside, London. Another
fine print opposite this one is a view of the
battle at sea between John Paul Jones in “Bon
Homme Richard" and Capt. Pearson of
“Scrapis.” Two other fine prints in this room
are portraits of Ben Franklin of Philadelphia.
In the bed room used by Mary Washington,
the furniture continues to be chests in the
main and the housewife of today is usually
puzzled as to the means used by Colonial dames
to put the laundry away in drawers so high
from the floor. The bed in this room is a
four-poster one of medium height from the
floor and temporarily covered with a glorious
hand-quilted coverlet to catch the crocus color
in the curtains at the windows. An innocent
looking chest of drawers that resembles a
bureau turns out to be a blanket storage box,
with the lid lifting up and disclosing a hollow
space the depth of two drawers’ measure with
the third drawer left intact at the bottom. The
heavy lock on this blanket chest tells the story
of valuables stored there for many years. Above
it hangs an interesting old mirror, hand sawn
at the edges with the little scrolls showing up
nails and the glass proclaiming its age by
clouding any image presented to its reflection.
Another piece of furniture that excites much
curiosity in this room is the day-bed. It is to
be fitted with a cushion as it likely had in
those days and appears to be a cross between
a low table and an elongated straight chair.
Highly polished mahogany is the wood used
and it has a back that can be raised or low
ered with chains. The long narrow seat is of
woven fiber. One of the very handsome pieces
in the house is a chest on a chest in this bed
room and this imposing array reaches almost
to the ceiling. Beside the mantelpiece and its
cozy chair is a rounaaoout, a miuu* tutuwi
table that turns on a swivel. Used perhaps for
fireside breakfast or sewing, this roundabout is
reminiscent of the turning piano stools used in
Victorian homes for diligent piano players.
Three of the prints hanging on the walls of this
room actually belonged to Mary Washington
and were procured from the surrounding coun
tryside. One of them is "Nymphs Bathing,”
done in 1773 by Picot, engraver and print
feller of St. Martin’s Lane, Londcn.
Adjoining Mrs. Washington’s bed room, but
of a lower elevation reached by two short steps
is a place of quaint atmosphere, a room of long,
easy proportions, the dining room. It was open
to sunlight and air on three sides until the
back porch was added by Gen. Washington for
his mother’s comfort. The red and white
linen toiles at the windows set off perfectly
the Windsor table and chairs centering the
room A long Colonial settee, black with age,
stands along the house wall at an angle where
one can best obtain a view over the old box
hedges left standing in Mary’s garden. This
marks the end of the pathway that used to
lead between the cottage and the mansion of
Betty Washington Lewis, whose home was
known as Kenmore. The two houses are now
separated by city blocks of modern homes,
occupying the grounds through which Mary
Washington used to walk to visit her daughter.
Clear glass bottles of matching design, white
in color and two in number, are on the dining
room mantelpiece. Other glassware stands on
the long table placed in a corner as a service
or buffet piece. A pewter tankard also there
gives a bit of substantiality to the Windsor
OING into the main hall by way of the
back piazza, which must have been a joy
to Mrs. Washington on the long Summer days,
visitors climb to the guest rooms above on the
original treads now moved slightly back but
still in service. The stairs are inclosed with
green painted boarding and at the top the
At the right of this group in the bed room of the cottage is the day bed of that
period with its boldly turned legs and chains at the headpiece to permit a low
ering of the curved back. The small table by the wing chair turns on a su'ivel
like the piano stools of the Victorian era. The print over the mantelpiece be
longed to Mrs. Waslungton and was done by Picot.
banisters are set in a diamond-shaped turning
instead of the straight up-and-down fashion
of the usual guard rail. Furniture in the only
equipped room upstairs consists of an unusual
bed. a comfortable armchair for the fireside
and a Windsor rocker with solid rockers. Straw
colored hempen rope interwoven from the four
sides of the poster bedstead were used as
springs for the feather bed mattress. This
room, as well as the parlor right below it, con
nects with the little house adjoining which was
purchased some years ago by George Ball of
Indiana as a residence for the custodian of
the Mary Washington cottage.
It is in the kitchen of this house, detached
as it is from the main house with a brick walk
separating the two, that so much difference can
be seen between today and yesterday in Ameri
can living conditions. In that low, cheery look
ing building is the greatest of all possible con
trasts to even the simplest bungalow kitchen of
the present. It offers as much contrast to the
domestic science work room of 1931 as does tire
old-time herb doctor’s array of stews and brews
to the white tiled laboratory of the modem
chemist. This was the culinary department of
a home among the country’s best people, yet
it was exceedingly primitive as viewed by the
present-day housewife who has come to spend
as much thought and energy and sometimes
more money on her kitchen as on any part
of her house.
When restoring this kitchen a few years ago,
the owners removed some boards placed across
the end of the room by an earlier resident and
came across the original fireplace used for
cooking the food for Mrs. Washington’s house
hold. In it are hanging the original cranes
used for swinging the pots over the blaze. The
room seems now as it must have been when
Gen. Lafayette stopped by to pay his respects
to the mother of his adored Gen. Washington
and had one of old Bet’s spiced wafers with his
claret wine in the garden. The round iron
paddle-looking utensils on which these tea
time necessities were made are lying on the
hearthstone now—not the originals, but of that
period—beside the long-handled waffle irons
that cooked only one of these delicacies at the
time. It is told that some of these Virginia
cooks became so proficient in handling these
single irons they could supply the family break
fast table with waffles as rapidly as they could
be eaten.
A stretcher table holds the "Turk’s Cap,” a
brown pudding bowl with deep swirls cut into
its rounded sides. The floor is made of genuine
hand-made bricks found by Mr. Garvan and
Porto Rico's Outlook Brighter
THE unhappy lot of the Porto Bican farmer
is rapidly being remedied to the point that
a highly prosperous agriculture is being devel
oped in the island through the efforts of the
Department of Agriculture’s experimental sta
The work of years often being wiped out by
a single hurricane, such crops as did grow
being subjected to all sorts of plant enemies
and the live stock being beset with various
types of internal and external parasites, the
agriculturist in the island had a dark and
gloomy career, with disaster ever hovering over
his home.
This situation is now changed and the bright
rays of hope have penetrated the clouds with
a promise of a bright future ahead for the
island. One of the principal crops of the island
has been coffee, but the coffee plant formerly
used was an easy prey to the ravaging hurri
canes. A new type of coffee known as Excelsa
was introduced into the island prior to the 1928
hurricane and quickly demonstrated its quali
ties, being far less damaged than the other
types, and such damage as was done yielded
rapidly to the recuperative powers of the plant.
Another important crop, and one which was
particularly subject to outbreaks of the
devastating mosaic disease, was the sugar cane.
The experimental station introduced and dis
tributed a type of cane which was immune to
this disease and bred immunity into other
types. The result was the saving of this indus
try, which seemed doomed. ,
Various types of vegetables and fruits were
Introduced by the station and these have not
only brought additional revenue to the agri*
culturist but have provided almost year-round
employment for farm labor.
Naturally, the prosperity of the farm owners
has been reflected in the prosperity of ether
industries in the island.
placed there to keep to the spirit of the place.
Great spinning wheels stand between the win
dows with the cards, which are small wire and
wood implements for carding the wool, lying on
them as easily as though some one had just
finished a morning chore. A cabinet of shal
low, well spaced shelves is filled with pewter
pieces of various shapes. On a shelf in the
chimney comer is a real mortar and pestle,
which were so handy for grinding pepper, spices
and roots into powder before one could get
these ingredients in a paper carton at the chain
grocery. There is also an abundance of iron
teakettles, a footed skillet and other iron fur
nishings for cooking.
This completes the restoration as to date,
a homely touch to the simple beauty of the
main house but tenderly cherished as a very
necessary phase of America's stirring history.
Cattle-Test Foes Converted
THE farmer has been notoriously hard to con
' vince, but once convinced he is usually en
thusiastic in the cause at stake. The tuber
culin test fight in Iowa is a case in point.
A short time ago the news columns of the
papers were full of stories concerning the dis
turbances that accompanied the enforced in
spection and slaughtering among the dairy
herds of Iowa. Apparently healthy animals
which reacted to the tests were killed and the
farmer eonpeneated, but the natural antago
nism a* jused seeing something apparently in
good condition destroyed caused much ill feeling
and in some cases rioting.
The inspectors and veterinarians decided that
a-seeing-is-believing campaign was the best
solution and various objectors were permitted
to examine the cattle after they were slaugh
tered. The lesions caused by the tuberculosis
were plainly evident after the po6t morteatts
and many a bitter opponent became an ardent
proponent of the tests once the convincing
argument of visual proof was impressed upon
Remarkable strides have been made in bet
tering the dairy industry wherever the test work
has been carried on to the point where clean
bills of health have been given to countie*.
Fungus Cuts Cotton Crop
COTTON root rot, a fungus disease of the
cotton, harmful as it is to the cotton
grower in particular localities, at least has a
beneficial effect in years such as this when
over-production has knocked the bottom out of
the price.
Federal experts estimate that the fungus
lowers the annual yield between 250,000 and
600,000 bales and at the same time damages
other crops to the extent of $50,000,000.
A 10-year study indicates that the fungus
carries on a sustained growth for an indefinite
number of years and then for no known reason
breaks up. The breaking-up leaves a remain
der which may and usually does start a new
infection. The rot occurs principally in Texas,
along the Pacific Coast and in Mexico.
Mine Disasters Reduced
WITH the passing of the major disaster,
that in which five or more lives are lost
at one time, the number of deaths per year in
the coal mines of this country are being sharply
cut. The major disaster is not entirely elimi
nated as yet, but compared to former years it
has been brought under control. The safety
devices worked out through the efforts of the
officials of the Bureau of Mines have been
adopted by mine owners and operators with the
result that the terrific explosions killing men
by the score have been eliminated.
The efforts of the bureau are now turned.
to educative work among the miners themaetUM
and that this work has borne fruit is well (Rem
onstrated by the figures for this year, which
Indicate that the rate of loss of life will be
but 1 per 435,000,000 tons ef coal. Twenty
Tears act) the rat* was 1 per 167 000 800 talk

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