August 2, 2007

McKim, Mead & White

I was reading something about Newport "cottages" in the New York Times today, and it reminded me of the turn of the century (19-->20th) architectural firm McKim, Mead & White, which is no longer in existance. The houses and buildings that came out of this firm are spectacular to say the most and classic, to say the least. Their works include the Arch at Washington Square, the Harvard Club in NYC and the Boston Public Library, along with summer cottages on Long Island and one of the original Madison Square Garden buildings.
Baltimore is lucky enough to have a couple of these buildings, and I was fortunate to work in one of them for a couple of years. Stanford White is the most well-known of the three partners in the firm, both because of his enormous talent and the fact that he was killed in a love triangle, on which the book/film Ragtime was based.
While the Garrett-Jacobs Mansion where I worked was the grandest and largest house ever built in Baltimore, it was the small touches that were most appealing. In the small dining room, amidst lots of carving and detail, there was a carving of the nursery rhyme where the dish ran away with the spoon and the cow jumped over the moon... In one of the bathrooms, the walls were marble, and there were pastoral scenes painted on the marble, so the paint, which looked like watercolour, saturated the marble, and then the marble was polished. This bath also had solid gold taps and spigots, which never tarnished.
Some of the interiors of the Garrett-Jacobs Mansion were used in the 1995 movie "Twelve Monkeys" with Brad Pitt and Bruce Willis.

3 comments:

  1. Fairfax, as always you have so many interesting and diverse facts to share! Great post.

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  2. I toured that building and missed both of those details -- and probably dozens and dozens of other details. What a great building that must have been to work in.

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  3. ^^ nice blog!! ^@^

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