52 Chapters
  Title Author Publisher Format Buy Remix
Medium 9780253353627

1: Simplicity ~ Pristine Light

Henry Plummer Indiana University Press ePub

1

SIMPLICITY ~ PRISTINE LIGHT

White-Painted Woodwork Meetinghouse (1820) Pleasant Hill, Kentucky

MONOTONE MASS

The radical simplification produced by a single exterior color, characteristic of Shaker architecture, serves to unite each form, while accentuating the play of light over a surface, enveloping the whole in a subdued atmosphere. These monochromatic effects, free of either visual friction or excitement, range from the absolute purity of a white meetinghouse, to the monotone crust of stone or brick around a dwelling, or continuous coat of yellow paint on a workshop.

White Limestone Façade First West Family Dwelling (1811–12) Pleasant Hill, Kentucky

Yellow-Painted Volume Brethren's Shop (1810) Hancock, Massachusetts

PURE WHITE CAVITY

A spotless surface of smooth plaster and white paint serves to purify Shaker space. This image of perfection reveals the slightest sign of dirt, is devoid, one might even say absolved, of darkness, and is inherently ethereal, reduced to nothing but sheer light.

See All Chapters
Medium 9780253353627

4: Equality ~ Shared Light

Henry Plummer Indiana University Press ePub

4

EQUALITY ~ SHARED LIGHT

Transom over Dining Room Doors Church Family Dwelling House Hancock, Massachusetts

TRANSOM WINDOW

Transom windows, frequently placed by Shakers above inner as well as outer doors, provide a means to increase the light shared between neighboring rooms, and maintain this flow even when doors are fully closed. Interior transoms are typically set over doors connecting dark corridors and well-lit perimeter rooms, and take shapes ranging from multi-paned rectangles to arched or semicircular fanlights.

Fanlight between Kitchen and Dining Room Center Family Dwelling House Pleasant Hill, Kentucky

Arched Transom over Infirmary Door Center Family Dwelling House Pleasant Hill, Kentucky

INTERIOR WINDOW

The stretching of light, and the open feeling, afforded by an interior window are especially impressive when able to transform an utterly mundane space, such as a back stair or closet. An ingenious device to siphon daylight deeply into a building, this glazed opening serves also to share illumination between rooms demanding acoustic separation, so as to spread light in a peaceful way, free of disrupting noise.

See All Chapters
Medium 9780253353627

5: Time ~ Cyclic Light

Henry Plummer Indiana University Press ePub

5

TIME ~ CYCLIC LIGHT

Ministry Hall Meetinghouse Pleasant Hill, Kentucky

SHADOW PLAY ON LIMESTONE

Pleasant Hill's limestone dwellings are extremely responsive to shifting skies. Displayed upon their white volumes are all of the sun's refracted colors, including faint hues often missed by the human eye. With its walls aligned to the cardinal points, each building behaves as a gnomon, registering and showing the flow of shade from plane to plane, as well as at the microscale of masonry texture, produced on the Center dwelling by raised white mortar.

Grazing Sun on East Façade at Noon Center Family Dwelling House Pleasant Hill, Kentucky

View from Southeast at Dawn Center Family Dwelling House Pleasant Hill, Kentucky

SPECTRAL COLORS

The absolute white of a Shaker meetinghouse, as prescribed by the Millennial Laws, gave each village a spiritual center of maximum purity and radiance. But maximized also on the plain and highly reflective clapboards was a visibility of each passing moment, and each new emanation of sun. Melting the sky into walls are delicate tones of colored light, ranging from the soft grays of overcast weather and starched whites of clear days, to the transparent yellows and violets arriving early and late, and deeper blues and oranges of twilight.

See All Chapters
Medium 9780253353627

2: Order ~ Focused Light

Henry Plummer Indiana University Press ePub

2

ORDER ~ FOCUSED LIGHT

Window above Stair to Roof Center Family Dwelling House Pleasant Hill, Kentucky

MESMERIZING WINDOW

The Shaker striving for order and calm gave a prominent visual role to the window, which often appears as the seminal force around which a room is developed. This centering power is magnified by simple geometry, symmetric placement, empty walls, and a halo-like frame, which are all further strengthened by a radiating pattern of light from a still source.

Ministry Hall Meetinghouse (1794) Sabbathday Lake, Maine

Window Triptych Center Family Dwelling House (1822–33) South Union, Kentucky

Window Diptych Center Family Dwelling House Pleasant Hill, Kentucky

Meetingroom Church Family Dwelling House Hancock, Massachusetts

INCANTATION

The repetition of standardized elements in Shaker architecture served basic needs of economy and order, while ensuring anonymity and plainness, but also gave to every room a calming rhythm that served the spirit. This reverberation, suggestive of the rise and fall of a fugue or chant, is especially pronounced in the Shaker meetinghouse, whose windows shed a mesmerizing pulse of energy. Alternating rays of light echo into broad stripes of white plaster, divided by lines of blue paint on wooden beams, knee braces, and peg rails. As a result, tremulous patterns of light and dark envelop the entire worship space, and its sacred dance, in a visual incantation, whose simple waves could instantly soothe mind and soul, and invoke a faintly mystical spell.

See All Chapters
Medium 9780253353627

3: Luminosity ~ Inner Light

Henry Plummer Indiana University Press ePub

3

LUMINOSITY ~ INNER LIGHT

Corner of Attic Center Family Dwelling House South Union, Kentucky

MAXIMUM FENESTRATION

In their efforts to squeeze as much daylight as possible into buildings, Shakers pierced the outer walls with closely spaced windows, allowing illumination to stream in from every side. As the most sacred place in the Shaker settlement, and the nearest thing to heaven on earth, the meetinghouse was made especially airy and bright by a continuous band of repeating windows. But rendered almost as porous, and at times cathedral-like, were utilitarian buildings such as laundries and machine shops, tanneries and poultry houses, mills and barns.

Circles of Windows on Tree Different Levels Round Barn (1826, rebuilt 1865) Hancock, Massachusetts

Meetingroom Windows Meetinghouse (1792–93, moved from Shirley to Hancock 1962) Hancock, Massachusetts

INTERIOR SHUTTERS

The internal shutters with which windows are equipped at Canterbury and Enfield permit a range of lighting adjustments. At Enfield's dwelling house, a four-shutter system allows each panel to be operated independently, or in combination with others, so that light can be regulated at will, like a camera aperture, according to weather, temperature, and human activity. When the shutters are opened, they fold back and disappear into window reveals.

See All Chapters
Medium 9781603442015

Leaving a Water Legacy for Texas

Ken W Kramer Texas A&M University Press ePub

Ann Thomas Hamilton

THE color of the water was like fresh-brewed orange pekoe tea—clear dark amber. The river was originally named Lumbee, from an Indian word meaning “black water.” Upon submerging my wiry little white body into the slow-moving current, my skin instantly took on a brown tone—the same color as that of the Lumbee Indians who long ago inhabited North Carolina’s Inner Banks region. One of my fondest childhood memories was of swimming in the river with my sister and cousins during warm summer days when we visited our grandparents in Lumberton in eastern North Carolina. Lumberton, the town where my mother was born, was founded in 1789 and named after the river. I truly believe my love affair with the mystery of naturally flowing water came from those sublime summers in that river some sixty years ago.

Because Lumberton was near the Carolina coast, the family would also visit a beach near Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, the site of the first airplane flight by Orville and Wilbur Wright. Of course, this historic site did not mean much to a little girl who loved the water. I just leaped into the Atlantic Ocean with great abandon without any understanding that the water from the Lumber River on the Inner Banks permeated downstream through the rich coastal marshes and wetlands before becoming a part of this vast ocean on the Outer Banks. It was the crashing waves, the sand, the salt filling my nostrils, eyes, and mouth that captured me as I floated tirelessly day after day in the invigorating surf.

See All Chapters
Medium 9781603442015

Texas Rivers and Tributaries

Ken W Kramer Texas A&M University Press ePub

I HAVE photographed the living waters of Texas for over twenty years, but at the beginning of my photography career I was more interested in places like the North Rim of the Grand Canyon and the mysterious slot canyons of southeastern Utah. I took pictures in Texas only when I stopped to rest during the long trips out west. But as the good images piled up, I found the streams and springs of my home state, from the West Fork of the Frio River or the wetlands of Aransas Wildlife Refuge to the Neches River bottomlands and the watery canyons of Big Bend Ranch State Park, to be the most extraordinary places of all. And I know there is much more to be found on private land, like a waterfall I have seen in deep East Texas that has never been photographed and doesn’t even have a name.

Yet just as Edward Curtis photographed the “vanishing Indians” one hundred years ago, I sense that I am photographing the vanishing waters of Texas. The Rio Grande in Big Bend is now more like the “Rio Poco,” the Middle Fork of the Pease River has dried up, and Jacob’s Well in the Hill Country stopped flowing for the first time in 2000. Larry McKinney, in his 1973 essay “Troubled Water,” states that “of the original 31 large springs (in Texas), only 17 remain. None of those springs stopped flowing because of natural causes.”

See All Chapters
Medium 9781603442015

The Bays and Estuaries of Texas An Ephemeral Treasure?

Ken W Kramer Texas A&M University Press ePub

Ben F. Vaughan III

CHARLES KRUVAND’S coastal photographs in The Living Waters of Texas are works of art, but even they are inadequate to portray the riches all Texans have inherited through the public ownership of the bays and estuaries along our Texas coast. My fond hope here is to explain how the health of Texas bays and estuaries and their freshwater inflows are so precious to me, to the fifty thousand Texas members of the Coastal Conservation Association (CCA), and to everyone. So important indeed are these resources that we dedicate ourselves unstintingly to their continued maintenance and future enhancement.

Our interest and our dedication may have stemmed from our personal experiences. Perhaps it started with the toe in the water, a gull’s cry, a whelk’s moan, a perch’s nibble, or a chandelier-like spray before the bow of a boat running into a southeast breeze. Such indelible impressions are memory makers not easily forfeited to the political expediency demanded by the shortcomings of human imagination.

See All Chapters
Medium 9781603442015

Falling in Love With Bottomlands Waters and Forests of East Texas

Ken W Kramer Texas A&M University Press ePub

Janice Bezanson

I FELL in love with East Texas bottomland forests while trying to protect them. for most people it’s the other way around: they love them first, so they want to keep them from being cut down, paved over, turned into pasture, or flooded by reservoirs. But I got involved in conservation issues as an activist first. The late Ned fritz, legendary for recruiting people to do things they didn’t know they wanted to do, coaxed my husband and me into representing Texas Conservation Alliance, then called the Texas Committee on Natural Resources, in permit hearings against a proposed reservoir on Little Cypress Creek in the Cypress Creek Basin in northeast Texas. This boondoggle project wasn’t needed for water supply and would have flooded 14,000 acres of wonderful forest wildlife habitat.

A glance at history suggests that I’m not the only one who loves bottomlands. People have always lived close to rivers, seeking the basics of life—water, food, transportation, and shelter—from the river and the fertile land it nurtures. Rivers are the essence of the southeastern United States—land formed by the ebb and flow of ancient beaches and shaped by abundant rainfall, rivers, and the passage of time. Small ephemeral streams bubbling up from drift sands become creeks that converge and gather in ever-increasing volume. They become winding rivers that spill across wide floodplains and spawn diverse bottomland forests. These rivers and their “bottoms” capture the imagination of poets and musicians and the hearts of settlers who revel in their beauty and mystery and abundant life.

See All Chapters
Medium 9781603442015

Hooked on Rivers

Ken W Kramer Texas A&M University Press ePub

Myron J. Hess

I LOVE being outdoors. Those rare times when I am able to step back from the frenzied pace of everyday life and feel in rhythm with nature give me an incredible sense of peace, of calmness. And, if you throw in a flowing river or stream, I can get close to achieving a state of nirvana. The love of nature came early. The appreciation of the special role of flowing streams developed a bit later.

As the youngest of seven children growing up in Cooke County in rural North Texas near the Oklahoma border at a time when TV watching was still an occasional event and computer games were science fiction material, I spent the bulk of my early childhood outside. When my siblings were home, I followed them around as much as they would let me. When they had all started school and I was still at home, the yard became my preschool and kindergarten classroom. Fortunately for me, farmyards can be incredibly interesting places: chickens and ducks to observe, ground squirrels and lizards to stalk, insects and toads to catch, and bird and mouse nests to discover. I think my dad was relieved to see me start school so he didn’t have to spend so much of his time answering my questions about what I had found or seen, and he could get back to farming full time.

See All Chapters
Medium 9781603442015

Where the First Raindrop Falls

Ken W Kramer Texas A&M University Press ePub

David K. Langford

BEFORE Lyndon B. Johnson was a politician, he was a child of the land. Growing up in the Texas Hill Country amid grazing sheep, cattle, and sparkling, clear springs, he inherently understood the relationship among sky, land, and water. Like most Texans, LBJ felt a strong kinship to the land because, since the days of the Republic, our lives and our livelihoods have been shaped by the diverse landscape that characterizes our home.

Although the former president was not part of my biological family, he was part of a large extended family of clannish, pioneering souls determined to eke a living from the Hill Country’s rock-strewn terrain. We were not kin by blood, but we were bound by shared experiences.

My biological family is like the ancient live oaks that dot the Texas Hill Country. For as long as there are memories, we have sunk our roots into the shallow soil and battled to survive in a place whose beauty belies its harshness.

Seven generations of my family have called Gillespie County and Kendall County home. From the beginning, my family has had a love affair, for lack of a better phrase, with water. The Hill Country can be unforgiving when you’re trying to coax a living from the soil. Water was the one thing that made the land hospitable—and offered the promise of a future.

See All Chapters
Medium 9781603442015

Texas Water Politics Forty Years of Going with the Flow

Ken W Kramer Texas A&M University Press ePub

Ken Kramer

EVEN after forty years I can still visualize it. The “it” is the cover of the first issue of the biweekly Texas Observer I had ever seen. The year was 1969, and I had just embarked on my first graduate school experience—starting work on a master’s degree in political science at Stephen F. Austin State University in Nacogdoches in East Texas. The professor in one of my classes had offered his students the opportunity to participate in a class subscription to the Observer, a liberal journal of opinion that provided exceptional coverage of Texas politics and government (and still does). Although I was a Republican at the time, I was extremely interested in politics, and, political philosophy aside, the Observer was touted as a good source of information about the state’s political comings and goings; so I signed up to receive one of the copies twice a month.

As it turns out, that was a momentous decision in my life—although not perhaps recognizable as such at the time. The first issue of the Observer I saw was devoted in its entirety to something called the “Texas Water Plan”—about which I knew nothing although I was already interested in environmental issues. The cover, which struck me so profoundly, showed a cartoon of several leading state officials, including then former governor John Connally and then governor Preston Smith, waterskiing or otherwise frolicking in or around some body of water. These folks were promoting this thing called the Texas Water Plan.

See All Chapters
Medium 9781603442015

A Taste of the Marsh

Ken W Kramer Texas A&M University Press ePub

Susan Raleigh Kaderka

AS we walked down to the saltmarsh near the observation tower on Mad Island Marsh Preserve, Cathy Porter bent over and broke off a sprig of saltwort, a spiky succulent that grows in clumps by the water’s edge. “Taste it,” she said, offering me a piece and putting a bit into her own mouth. It was an idle gesture, something she’s probably done countless times leading groups of schoolchildren on tours of this 7,000-acre Nature Conservancy preserve. She had been naming off the various species of marsh vegetation for me—seablight, Gulf cordgrass, saltmarsh bulrush—and just come across one worth tasting.

True to its name, the plant tasted salty. As Porter no doubt points out to visiting students, it is well adapted to the conditions of the Texas Gulf Coast, thriving near salt water in a sandy soil. But as I chewed it, a different landscape suddenly came to mind. For a moment, I was back in the Adirondack Mountains of upstate New York, where I lived up to the age of six.

Like most children growing up in the late 1950s, I spent almost all of my free time outdoors. This habit was not evidence of any special affinity for nature. It did not prefigure my later work in wildlife conservation. It was not unique to me at all; it was what everyone did. Childhood pretty much took place out of doors. If you were indoors, it meant it was raining, or nighttime, or, later, that you were in school. Even in winter we played outdoors, bundled up in hooded snowsuits, rubber boots, and mittens. Snapshots of my sister and me in the snowy field opposite our house show us smiling out at the camera from jackets so thick our arms stuck out from our sides. But unquestionably we were outside.

See All Chapters
Medium 9781603442015

On the Banks of the Bayous Preserving Nature in an Urban Environment

Ken W Kramer Texas A&M University Press ePub

Mary Ellen Whitworth

AS I sit on the banks of Buffalo Bayou waiting for the bats to emerge at Waugh Street Bridge, it is hard to imagine that this bayou was once the source of drinking water for the city of Houston. Early settlers pumped the springs dry, polluted the bayou, and logged the beautiful magnolias that lined the banks. Today, during dry weather, the sediment-laden flow is mostly treated wastewater effluent.

Yet a canoe trip down this bayou still reveals its hidden beauty. Although rare, a few large forested tracts remain, such as those at Memorial Park and St. Mary’s Seminary. These provide much-needed habitat for the variety of birds and mammals that depend on the bayou. Pines and oaks line the remaining banks, which are still subject to severe erosion. As the bayou winds through downtown, thanks to the work of the Buffalo Bayou Partnership, the banks have been “laid back” and planted to add beauty and protection. The water quality still does not meet state standards for protecting the health of people recreating in the water, but it is good enough to support a wide variety of fish and bottom-dwelling organisms. Raccoons, possums, armadillos, rabbits, coyotes, and alligators have all been spotted on the banks.

See All Chapters
Medium 9781603442015

Springing to Life Keeping the Waters Flowing

Ken W Kramer Texas A&M University Press ePub

Dianne Wassenich

SPRINGS seem miraculous to me. Water pouring from the ground! The sight of it reminds me of the nature books I read as a child, like Gene Stratton-Porter’s Freckles and A Girl of the Limberlost and the fairy tales that told of spring water having magical properties.

Go stand on the lowest porch of the Texas Rivers Center in San Marcos and look at one of the springs that feed the San Marcos River flowing into Spring Lake. It is a strong flow, strong enough to ripple the surface in a rainy year when water is plentiful. But even in the dry years, when the sight may be different, I’m drawn again and again to this deep blue spring. I think of the countless people who have admired the flowing water at this spot, one of the oldest continually inhabited sites in North America.

Central Texas can be dry, with predictable droughtlike stretches in summer for at least a few hot months. Though the archeological records include longer and far worse drought periods, the local yardstick remains the great drought of the 1950s, when nearby Comal Springs stopped flowing and San Marcos Springs slowed to a trickle.

See All Chapters

Load more