Rare Images of Antietam and the Photographers Who Took Them

Thanks to a Hagerstown pal, I’ve acquired and am devouring Steve Recker’s wonderful new book Rare Images of Antietam and the Photographers Who Took Them.

A Washington County native, Recker has researched the lives of all the major photographers who took photos of Antietam battlefield: Elias Marken Recher, David Bachrach, W. B. King, J. H. Wagoner, and more.

Recker carefully investigated how each photographer came to take their pictures, and has painstakingly worked to understand what is depicted in each. Also included are some rarely-seen images of the photographers themselves. Some of these cartes de visite and stereoviews have never been seen before.

And you can’t get it on Amazon–only at area bookstores and at Recker’s site, Virtual Antietam. So virtually run, don’t walk, to his site and grab a copy before they sell out.

Read a Q & A with the author on John Banks’ Civil War Blog.

Read an article about Recker and his career in the Hagerstown Daily Mail.

The “Artist Corps” at Work: Chase and Bachrach at Niagara Falls

After reading David Bachrach’s memories of outdoor work during and after the Civil War, it was exciting to acquire an actual image of him in the wild.

This stereoview of Bachrach (seated) and William Moody Chase (standing) shows them with their outdoor studio, the Niagara Falls railroad suspension bridge on the horizon. Upon the tent a sign reads “Artist Corps, Chase’s American Scenery.”

The scene gives life to Bachrach’s sketchy  recollections in volume 53 of The Photographic Journal of America:

“About a year after the war I fell in with Mr. William M. Chase, a former army officer of volunteers, afterward a sutler, from Massachusetts, who went into the publication of stereoscopic views, very popular at the time. I made the negatives for him for about two years, over 10,000 of them . . . We went all over Maryland, the Cumberland and Shenandoah Valleys, in the Alleghenies, Washington, D.C., on the Hudson and Niagara Falls” (“Over Fifty Years of Photography,” Part III, The Photographic Journal of America, Volume 53, February 1916, pg. 71).

Bachrach had developed his skills at outdoor work during the war, “in portable dark rooms, both with horse teams and for small work with those carried by hand.”

Success often required what he calls “dodges”–improvised methods for keeping the plates wet and for capturing the spray of falls and rapids.

Bachrach’s memoir places these two years between 1865 and 1868, when he and Chase traveled to the US Naval Academy in Annapolis to photograph the graduating class there–the first time such as thing had been done.

David J. Bachrach (1845-1921) is buried in Baltimore Hebrew Cemetery, Baltimore, Md.; William M. Chase (1817-1901) is buried in Worcester Rural Cemetery, Worcester Co., Massachusetts.

Read  three parts of David Bachrach’s four-part memoir, “Over Fifty Years of Photography,” free on google books, in The Photographic Journal of America and Wilson’s Photographic Magazine. Part I is found in The Photographic Journal of America, volume 52, December 1915, pp. 578-579; Part II in volume 53 pp. 18-20, January 1916; Part III in volume 53 pp. 71-73 February 1916;  and Part IV in Wilson’s Photographic Magazine, volume 53 pp. 117-119 March 1916.

© waldonia 2012

Stereoview of Barnum’s Hotel by William Chase

Journalist and Baltimore historian Carleton Jones called David Barnum’s City Hotel “by all odds the greatest hostelry historically in city history” (Jones, Lost Baltimore Landmarks, p. 33).

The hotel’s guest register contains the signatures of numerous 19th century worthies, including Confederate spy Belle Boyd, John Wilkes Booth, and some of the Harper’s Ferry conspirators. Barnum’s was Charles Dickens’ favorite American hotel. President John Quincy Adams was a guest when the hotel was new.

Located on North Calvert Street at Fayette, the hotel was built in 1825 and torn down ca. 1889; the Equitable building stands in its place.

Jones learned that the hotel had originally resembled Boston’s Tremont House, but had been “gussied up like some aging dowager” by the 1860s with “bulging iron balconies” (Jones, 33).  The online collaborative project  Maryland’s Digital Cultural Heritage has an 1835 drawing that shows the hotel’s original design.

Its basement, recounts John Thomas Scharf, was “of granite from the Susquehanna, near Port Deposit, and the front appointments of this story were originally used as a post office” (History of Baltimore City and County, p. 516).

It was, writes Molly Berger, “the country’s most renowned hostelry at the time.” Four stories tall, and encompassing 172 bedrooms and suites, “an enormous 86 by 30 foot dining room, plus another room of equal size to accommodate ‘public dinner parties’ and balls. . . a reading room” open to the public, all illuminated by gas lighting, the City Hotel set a new standard for comfort and service (Hotel Dreams: Luxury, Technology and Urban Ambition in America, 1829-1929, pp. 18 ff.)

Philadelphia  architect Norris Gershon Starkwether gave the hotel its makeover in the late 1850s. The details Jones loathes were drawn from Starkwether’s fanciful designs of Italianate villas (Hayward and Shivers, The Architecture of Baltimore: An Illustrated History, Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 2004, pp. 132-133).

Published by William Moody Chase, this stereograph was probably made ca. 1862-1876, the period, according to McCulloh, when yellow mounts dominated and card stock had grown thicker (McCulloh, Card Photographs: A Guide to Their History and Value, 1981, p. 79)

Neither a monument, a public institution nor a personal mansion, the hotel was nevertheless a fit subject stereo-optical subject for an armchair tourist. Barnum’s City Hotel, situated in the  heart of Monument Square, was a sign of Baltimore’s coming of age as a great American city.

Stereoview of Christ Protestant Episcopal Church

This stereoview of Christ Protestant Episcopal Church, St. Paul and Chase streets, Baltimore, was probably published by William M. Chase in the 1870s. The view looks east from E. Chase Street, toward St. Paul Street.

Christ Church, organized in 1797, was the second Episcopal church in Baltimore. The congregation occupied a variety of locations before the present church building was constructed at a cost of $125,000 (Henry Elliot Shepherd, A History of Baltimore, Maryland, S. B. Nelson publisher, 1898, pp. 217-218).

E. Francis Baldwin and Bruce Price designed the Gothic Revival structure in the Mount Vernon area in 1869, when the new ecclesiastical architectural style was first being introduced into the U.S.  According to The Architecture of Baltimore: A Pictorial History, this particular church’s style was known as French or Norman Gothic:

Its details are elegantly restrained and carried out in rough-faced white marble–narrow lancet windows, carved stone trefoils, pointed-arch doorways and window lintels, stone columns with leafy medieval capitals, and carved stone rosettes. The massing is symmetrical with a tall main tower and secondary smaller towers and spires (199).

This beautiful and historic church structure has been occupied by an independent non-denominational African-American congregation since the mid-1990s. Today the church is called the New Refuge Deliverance Cathedral.

Christ Church is located three blocks directly north of Mount Vernon Place, and is part of a historic neighborhood rich in cultural and architectural landmarks such as the Washington Monument and the Walters Art Gallery.

The fashionable Mount Vernon neighborhood developed in the 1830s in the elegant streets and parks laid out around the Washington Monument by Charles and William Howard on their father’s former estate, Belvidere (Architecture of Baltimore, 118). The area remained the epicenter of wealthy and cultured Baltimore until the late nineteenth century.

View a contemporary photograph of Christ Church taken by the author of the Monument City blog.

Stereoview of William T. Walters House “St. Mary’s,” Govans

This stereoview depicts the Baltimore County country home of William T. Waltersand family, “St. Mary’s.” No publisher’s name appears, but it strongly resembles views published by William M. Chase.

Another view, taken from the side, was published in William and Henry Walters: The Reticent Collectors, by William R. Johnston. Johnston dates the view to ca. 1875, and the house depicted there is consistent with the house we see here.

According to Johnston, the original 32-1/2 acre estate on Woodbourne Avenue was purchased in 1866 from Augustine Kohler. Walters enlarged it to 130 acres, and spent much of his time after the war cultivating gardens and orchards, and raising prize fowl, cattle, and Percheron horses brought from France.

The property stretched from Woodbourne Avenue north to Belvedere Avenue, and included a gatehouse for the tenant farmer, a large carriage house full of a wide variety of vehicles, a hothouse, stables, a bowling alley. and a small lake created by damming the stream, Chinquapin Run, that ran through the estate.

The house itself was “an 18-room frame structure with a tower built in the Italianate style” (Johnston, 47). The estate was sold in 1924; the house was razed and the land became part of today’s Chinquapin Run Park.

The large bronze mastiff statue next to the entrance was originally installed “on the portico of Mrs. William Gilmor’s house facing the Battle Monument” (Johnston, p. 48).

According to author Susan Taylor Block, after William’s son Henry T. Walters married Sarah “Sadie” Jones, the widow of his close friend Pembroke Jones, Walters moved the mastiff bronze to her estate, “Airlie,” in Wilmington Cove, North Carolina.

Today Airlie is a public gardens; the bronze mastiff statue was displayed for many years  on the Newport, Rhode Island estate of Jane Pope Ridgway (1917-1911)

Chasing the First Congregational Church, Baltimore

I seem to be drawn to Eutaw Place. When I purchased this steroview by Baltimore photographer and view publisher William M. Chase, I didn’t know the church it depicts, the First Congregational Church of Baltimore, was once located there, between Hoffman and Dolphin streets.

As far as I have been able to determine, the building no longer exists. The church was organized in 1865 and an edifice built at this location in 1866 (Scharf, History of Baltimore City and County, 552). Designed by architect Thomas C. Kennedy, the First Congregational Church building shown here was dedicated on 24 October 1882.

A detailed description in the Sun coverage of the dedication made it possible to identify the church building, characterized by an unusual octagonal center, as that designed by Kennedy:

“The building is of Falls road stone, with red sandstone trimmings. The centre and two sides have high gables, with large windows, filled with colored glass. The auditorium is octagon in shape, 60 feet each way. The entrance vestibules, minister’s study and organ chamber occupy the alternate angles of the octagon, from which they are separated by bold and lofty arches.  The pulpit platform fills a recessed chancel next the chapel, leaving the entire area of the octagon for the congregation. The floor has a gradual incline towards the pulpit, from which the aisles radiate.  The pews are arranged in circles with a seating capacity of 325. The open timber roof is [unreadable] with yellow pine. In the centre of the roof is a ventilator opening to the apex of the roof, through which impure air may be drawn off. Pure air is admitted by vertical tubes” (Baltimore Sun, 25 October 1882).

In 1900, this congregation united with the Associate Reformed Church to become the Associate Congregational Church of Baltimore, which had built a Charles E. Carson-designed church at 24 W. Preston Street (now owned by a Greek Orthodox congregation).

A large part of this block of N. Eutaw is now occupied by a number of ca. 1960s Maryland state office buildings.

Stereoview of the Eutaw House by William M. Chase

William M. Chase published this stereoview of the Eutaw House, a large and fashionable hotel built on the northwest corner of Eutaw and Baltimore streets between 1832 and 1835 by William Hussey.

According to Scharf’s History of Baltimore City and County, the brick Eutaw House covered over 19,000 square feet. The architect was Samuel Harris; the builders John and Valentine Dushane. Robert Garrett & Sons acquired the hotel at auction in 1845 for $58,500, excluding furnishings.

Carleton Jones wrote in his 1982 book Lost Baltimore Landmarks that the Eutaw House was “the great rival in its day of Barnum’s City Hotel.” The 1866  travel guide A Stranger in Baltimore told sojourners the Eutaw was “celebrated as one of the best hotels in the country.”

The drawing that appears in this advertisement for the hotel in Howard’s 1873 The Monumental City depicts the structure with two cupolas and several broad, low-pitched decorative gables facing both Eutaw and Baltimore streets instead of the small Federal-style garret windows seen in this stereoview. Were these decorative gables  a product of a post-bellum face-lift?

An advertisement for William E. Wood & Company, purveyors of stoves and heaters, appears in the same volume.

The publication history of The Monumental City creates complications for dating the photograph. The edition digitized for Google Books has an 1873 date of publication, but an 1878 copyright notice. The advertisement for the Eutaw House gives the manager’s name as C. S. Wood. According to Scharf’s 1881 History, also on Google Books, Wood took on the management of the hotel in 1880.

Google’s Monumental City is a digital version of a copy held by the Bodleian Library. B & O Railroad President, banker and philanthropist John Work Garrett inscribed this copy to an English M.P., John Pender, Esq. Pender was a member of Parliament 1862-1866, 1872-1885, and 1892-1896; Garrett died in 1884. A city booster, Garrett apparently used the book to promote Baltimore. Howard’s volume may have gone through multiple unrecorded printings, but this copy had to have been produced ca. 1880.

The presence of horse-drawn omnibuses indicates the photograph was taken before 1890, when electric trolleys replaced the horse-cars; following William Darrah’s dating, the yellow, flat mount suggests  this stereoview was published between 1862 and 1876.

Do you know additional details about either the date of publication of this stereoview or the date of the exterior alteration of Eutaw House? If so, leave a comment.

Charles Street First Methodist Episcopal Church

This William M. Chase stereoview of the Greek Revival-style Charles Street Methodist Episcopal Church (aka Mt.Vernon M.E. Church), northeast corner of Charles and Fayette streets, no longer exists.

According to a reference I found on the wonderful Baltimore Architecture Project website, this church was built in 1844 and torn down ca. 1885. This reference text, a slim 1982 softcover labor of love by Carleton Jones called Lost Baltimore Landmarks: A Portfolio of Vanished Buildings, is well worth acquiring for those interested in identifying Baltimore architecture.

Scharf’s History of Baltimore City and County relates that the Light Street M. E. congregation bought the Charles Street church building in 1869 in order to make way for the extension of German Street.

It is well-known Baltimore architectural and Methodist history that this congregation, led by Rev. John Franklin Goucher, commissioned  Stanford White to build a new church beyond North (Boundary) Avenue at 22nd and St. Paul streets in 1882.

In 1884 the new church, dubbed Lovely Lane Methodist Episcopal Church after the congregation’s pre-Light Street location, opened adjacent to the site of the future Goucher College (Baltimore: Its History and People, Vol. 3, ed. Clayton Coleman Hall, 1912, p. 546)

Based on the style of Chase’s mark and the orange color of the mount, I’m guessing this photo was taken in the 1870s. Note the horse-car in the foreground, the horse’s figure blurred by its motion. Horse-cars were introduced to Baltimore in 1859, and were in use until replaced by electric trolleys ca. 1890.

Chase Stereoview of the Wildey Monument

This stereoview of the Wildey monument, located on Broadway at Fayette Street, was originally published by William M. Chase. There is an additional blind embossed imprint on the left-hand edge of the card that reads “G. W. Thorne 60 Nassau Street New York.”

According to The Monumental City, the monument was dedicated to the founder of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, Thomas Wildey, on 26 April 1865.

The movement to build a monument to Wildey was organized after his death in 1861. American lodges raised about $18,000 to design and build the monument, and the City of Baltimore donated the ground for its erection.

The spot on N. Broadway was chosen because it was close to the location where Wildey founded the I.O.O.F. in 1819, the Seven Stars Tavern. Its doric column, says Baltimore historian Thomas Scharf, “is surmounted by a life-sized figure of charity protecting the orphans” (History of Baltimore City and County, pp. 269-270).

Engravings often include a representation of the Washington Medical College of Baltimore,  later purchased by the Presbyterian Church and renamed the Church Home and Hospital.

While the Church Home and Hospital is not visible in this photograph, of architectural interest is the two-story, two-bay Federal style house, ca. 1790-1835, behind and to the left of the monument. The house appears to be made of wood and faced with brick with a shop attached. Wood structures were outlawed in Baltimore in 1799, but enforcement was lax.

If the view is looking northwest, the cupola glimpsed on the horizon to the left of this old house might be the old Baltimore City Jail on East Madison Street, on the edge of Jones Falls. Another possibility is the cupola of the old Baltimore courthouse at Calvert and Lexington streets, farther west, which was torn down in 1895 to make way for a massive new Beaux-Arts structure; a third, if the view looks southwest: the Baltimore Merchants’ Exchange, Gay Street between Lombard and Water, whose “high dome . . . dominated the southeastern quarter of the city until its demolition in 1901-1902” (The Architecture of Baltimore: An Illustrated History, p. 78).

Two structures to the right of the monument might be what were called “half” houses, but I don’t know enough about Baltimore’s architecture to be sure. Ideas?

More about the Wildey Monument on the Monument City blog.

Stereoview of Gunther Fountain, Eutaw Place, by William Chase

In an earlier post, I talked about the two fountains that wealthy residents purchased and installed in the parklike median of Eutaw Place.

The Centennial or “children’s” fountain, by far the most famous of the two, was installed after the Centennial Exhibition of 1876 in the 1800 block of Eutaw Place.

This is the lesser known Gunther fountain. It was of bronze, about 18 feet tall, and stood in the grassy median of the 1400 block.

Prolific stereoview publisher William M. Chase sold this view of the Gunther fountain as part of his series “The Beautiful in Architecture and Landscape.” Orange mounts were employed after 1865. Stereoviews were given curved mounts after 1879. Since this photograph has a flat mount, it could have been created ca. 1865-1879.

The George Eastman House has a good collection of stereoviews, including about 100 by William Chase.

Thoughts about possible architects of the handsome residences behind the fountain? Please share them by leaving a comment.