The Captain’s Well, Amesbury, USA


The Captain’s Well,
Made famous by Whittier,
Amesbury, Mass.
Postmarked 1916

Google Street View.

Amesbury poet, John Greenleaf Whittier, wrote a poem entitled, The Captain’s Well, about the perilous adventures of Captain Valentine Bagley II. While Bagley was a ship’s carpenter, his ship, the Commerce of Boston, was stranded on the coast of Arabia in July of 1792. He and the ship’s crew had to walk through the Arabian Desert to find help. Thirty four started the journey, only eight survived. When Captain Bagley eventually returned to Amesbury, Massachusetts, he fulfilled a promise he had made while suffering in the desert. He had vowed to dig a well for all to use, so that no man should suffer from thirst as he did.

By the time Whittier wrote his poem, in 1889, the well had fallen into disrepair. In the late 1890s, the well was cleaned up, a canopy built over it and a pipe installed to connect it to the town water system. Later, the wooden canopy was replaced by a permanent monument engraved with Whittier’s poem.
The Macy-Colby House

“Pity me, God! for I die of thirst;
Take me out of this land accurst;
“And if ever I reach my home again,
Where earth has springs, and the sky has rain,
“I will dig a well for the passers-by,
And none shall suffer from thirst as I.
. . .
Now the Lord be thanked, I am back again,
Where earth has springs, and the skies have rain,
“And the well I promised by Oman’s Sea,
I am digging for him in Amesbury.”
His kindred wept, and his neighbors said:
“The poor old captain is out of his head.”
But from morn to noon, and from noon to night,
He toiled at his task with main and might;
And when at last, from the loosened earth,
Under his spade the stream gushed forth,
And fast as he climbed to his deep well’s brim,
The water he dug for followed him,
He shouted for joy: “I have kept my word,
And here is the well I promised the Lord!”
The long years came and the long years went,
And he sat by his roadside well content;
He watched the travellers, heat-oppressed,
Paused by the way to drink and rest
“The Captain’s Well”, John Greenleaf Whittier

Pont Du Gard, Nimes, France


Nimes (Gard) – Le Pont du Gard
Publisher: Riviere-Bureau

Google Street View.

The most visited ancient monument in France, listed a world heritage site by Unesco, the Pont du Gard aqueduct remains one of humankind’s great masterpieces. A marvel of Antiquity and a true technical feat, it is also a stupendous site that has regained its unspoiled state since its refurbishment. 48 metres high, it has three vertical rows of arches: 6 on the lowest level, 11 on the second level and 35 on the third and top level. Its upper part reaches a length of 273 metres (originally 360 metres when there were twelve extra arches). It served as an aqueduct until the 6th century before becoming a tollgate in the Middle Ages and finally a road bridge from the 18th to 20th century.
Avignon & Provence

“The Pont du Gard”, HUbert Robret, 1787 (cropped, from Wikimedia Commons)

Nemausus was the capital of the Volcae Arecomici before the Roman conquest. In 118 BC, the area came under Roman influence and the Via Domitia was built. In 42 BC the city received the status of a colony. The city prospered during the Principitate and the early Empire. A building program in the first century produced a six kilometre long city wall, temples, and an amphitheatre. A large spring was present inside the city walls, ornamented with an Augustaeum and Nymphaeum, but this was insufficient to serve the population and the baths. In the second half of the first century, therefore the Eure aqueduct was built. . . . The aqueduct of Nemausus starts at the Eure springs at Uzès. After passing a regulatory basin, it runs first south, then SE in a trench along the foot of the plateau of St-Sifflet. It crosses the steep gully of Bornègre and continues towards Vers, where it crosses two depressions on low bridges. From Vers, the aqueduct turns south where it runs almost continuously suspended over a series of three arcades and a two tier bridge in a broad loop towards the Gardon. It crosses the Gardon on the Pont du Gard, and the rough country of the Forest of Rémoulins along the slopes and over a series of small bridges to a regulatory basin at Rémoulins, the Lafoux reservoir, destroyed at the beginning of the 18th century. It then makes a loop around the depression of St Bonnet, crosses a low pass south of the village and continues SW towards Nemausus, through the two Sernhac quarry tunnels and a 400m long tunnel below the village of Sernhac. It then crosses below the drained lake of Clausonne and runs along the head of the Vistre valley, and along the slope of the hills towards the city, increasingly tortuous when approaching Nemausus. It passed below the town walls by the 400m long tunnel of Croix-de-Fer through a hill to the castellum divisorium in Nîmes.
Roman Aqueducts

“Materials and documents of architecture and sculpture : classified alphabetically”, 1915

The Pont du Gard is an outstanding example of bridges built in ancient times. It achieves a triple performance with its three levels of arches of unequal dimensions and is characterized by the use, for the construction of the arches of the lower levels, of juxtaposed rollers composed of voussoirs bearing engraved positioning marks. In the series of Roman aqueducts, this exceptional edifice is the result of an extensive adaptation to the river regime of the Gardon whose floods are sudden and devastating. The lips installed in front of the piers are designed to resist high water, and the opening of the principal lower arch (24.52 m instead of 21.87 m for the arches of the extremes) facilitates the flow of water.

Built, on the first two levels, of large stone blocks and, at the upper level, of small stone rubble which hold the abutting flagstones of the canal, the Pont du Gard is one of the most revealing monuments as to the construction processes of the early Imperial era. On the dressing of the stone can still be seen the marks of the quarrymen’s and stonecutters’ tools, and sometimes the coding of the stones, with figures and letters, showing their position in the assembly schema.
UNESCO World Heritage listing

Chinese Telephone Excahgne, San Francisco, USA


Interior Chinese Telephone Excahgne, Chinatown, San Francisco, Calif.
On the back:
CHINATOWN’S TELEPHNE EXCHANGE BUILDING
San Franciscos’s quaint Chinatown Pacific Tel. & Tel. Co. building was erected in 1909 to conform with Chinese architectural traditions. It hours what is believe to be the only Chinese Telephone exchange outside of China itself.
1940s
Publisher: Stanley A. Plitz Company, San Francisco (1930s-1950s)

Google Street View.

In 1891, the first public telephone pay station was installed in Chinatown. In 1894, a small switchboard was set up to serve subscribers to the telephone system. Since people were often asked for by name rather than by number, telephone operators memorized and knew each subscriber by name. This made telephone numbers unnecessary. The Chinatown community felt it was rude to refer to people by numbers. Operators also knew the address and occupations of subscribers so they could distinguish between two people with the same name. In addition, they had to speak five Chinese dialects and English.

Although the offices of the exchange were destroyed by the 1906 earthquake, they were rebuilt afterwards, and remained in operation until 1949. The exchange was closed in 1949, when technology changed from switchboard-operator system to rotary-dial telephones. The Bank of Canton bought and restored the building in 1960.
Chinatown, San Franciso

One of the most Interesting features of the rebuilding of San Francisco’s famed Chinatown is the new telephone exchange building to handle’ tho largo -number of calls from that quarter. Tho building is designed on Oriental lines, and when completed will be ornamented with dragons and other symbolical Chinese characters. The Chinese are great users of the telephone. and their language is cumbersome, and they would rather talk over the phone than write letters. The. operators will be Chinese boys, Chinese girls being at a premium.
[Sydney] Sunday Times, 26 September 1909

The telephone exchange in Chinatown, San Francisco, is unique, being strikingly Oriental in both its exterior and interior details, and operated wholly by Chinese. The building has three pagodas, giving it the appearance of the hone of Chinaman of rank, and aside from the sign above the door and the telephone apparatus within, is entirely Chinese. The manager of the exchange is an American-born Chinaman and the switchboard operators are chine boys and girls. The exchanges now take care of 800 subscribers’ lines. The Chinese part of the San Francisco telephone directory is arranged by names of streets, instead of by numbers, and a caller gives the name of the firm or individual he wishes to reach.
[Sydney] Globe, 11 January 1913

Just around the corner from Grant at Washington was the venerable Chinese Telephone Exchange at 743 Washington (map). It opened in 1901 at which time, pre dialling, the operators had to know all of the Chinatown customers by name and address because it was considered rude to refer to a person by number. Each operator also had to speak the many dialects of Chinese spoken by the residents. It was no surprise perhaps that the original male operators were soon replaced by women, on account of their “good temper”.
Reel SF (has more pictures)

Duck Reach Power Station, Launceston, Tasmania


Electric Power House, Launceston
Postmarked 1918
Publisher: Valentine

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Duck Reach Power Station was the first publicly owned hydro-electric plant in the Southern Hemisphere, and provided the Tasmanian city of Launceston with hydro-electric power from its construction in 1895 to its closure in 1955.

The Duck Reach Power Station first operated on a trial basis on the evening of the 10th of December 1895, when it was used to illuminate some of Launceston’s streets using arc lights. On the 1st of February 1896, the hydro-electric power system was officially switched on, remaining in operation until 1955.
Wikipedia

The generating station was situated about 40 feet (12m) above the level of the river. It was quite a substantial erection, with 18 inch (460mm) stone walls and an iron roof. Originally it had only one storey with a gallery running along the side to facilitate access to the machinery. It was 105 feet (32m) in length and 24 feet (7m) wide with a height of 22 feet (6.7m) to the ridge line, large enough to hold nine or ten turbines.

At that time it only contained eight turbines; five for arc lighting and three for incandescent 1 lighting. On 12th February 1895 the Launceston Municipal Council accepted the tender of Mr J.T. Farmilo to build the station at a cost of £1 488.9.6, the contract to last 17 weeks. Because of the nature of the country (being very rocky) a large amount of heavy work was required to build the station. The contractor was required to secure a firm foundation and form subterranean passages under the building for the water to pass after running through the turbines.
Duck Reach


Electric Power Station Launceston Tasmania
Postmarked 1910
Publsher: Spurling & Son, Launceston

Sabil-Kuttab of Abd al-Rahman Katkhuda, Cairo


Cairo – A Street Scene
Publishers: Lehnert & Landrock, Cairo

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Sabil (Water Dispensary) and Kuttab (Qur’anic School) of ‘Abd al-Rahman Katkhuda
This monument has a special artistic importance, for it is a free-standing complex that consists of a sabil (water dispensary) and a kuttab (Qur’an school) both of which display many of the glories of Islamic art specific to the Ottoman period. The building represents the style of sabil that has three windows and which is a blend of the Mamluk and Ottoman styles. The sabil has three facades (south, north and west) that are identical and equal in length. Each façade contains a semi-circular arch, which is supported by two spiral marble pillars. In the middle of the arch is a large opening from which cups of water may be obtained for passers-by (windows for the procurement of water or tasbil).
Museum With No Frontiers: Discover Islamic Art

The Sabil-Kuttab of ‘Abd al Rahman Katkhuda of 1744 was named for its patron, a Mamluk amir and leader of the Egyptian Janissaries. The two-story square structure consists of the fountain within the block of the first level, which is surmounted by space for the school in the form of a two-tiered arcaded pavilion.
ArchNet

Sabil-Kuttab of Abd al-Rahman Katkhuda is a historic monument in the historic district of Cairo, Egypt. It comprises a public fountain or sabil, an elementary Quran school or kuttab, and an adjacent residential wing. A prime example of Egyptian architecture of its time, it was commissioned in 1744 by Abd al-Rahman Katkhuda, a local official who was a prominent patron of architecture. . . . Built in 1744 CE, it is named for its patron, a Mamluk amir (prince) and leader of the Egyptian Janissaries, who died in 1776. He did much work in Cairo including developments to Al-Azhar University and mosque. He also rebuilt the dome of the Qala’un Mosque after an earthquake in Egypt. Sabils and kuttabs were almost everywhere in old Islamic Cairo during Mamluk and Ottoman times. Sabils are facilities providing free, fresh water for thirsty people who are passing by. Kuttabs are primitive kinds of elementary schools that teach children to read and write. The Sabil-Kuttab was built using the Mamluk Egyptian style which continued to overwhelm all the styles of such buildings even after the Ottoman conquest in 1517. The architecture of this time was so delicate that even simple facilities like sabils were designed to be pieces of art.
Wikipedia.

Water tower, Zeebrugge, Belgium


Zeebrugge – Château d’Eau
(Zeebrugge – Water tower)
c.1910

Built 1907, destroyed during World War I.

The harbour was the site of the Zeebrugge Raid on 23 April 1918, when the British Royal Navy temporarily put the German inland naval base at Bruges out of action. Admiral Roger Keyes planned and led the raid that stormed the German batteries and sank three old warships at the entrance to the canal leading to the inland port.
Wikipedia.


Ruines de Zeebrugge | 1914-18 | Château d’Eau et Abri
The ruins of Zeebrugge | 1914-18 | Water works and shelter
c.1919
Publisher: Nels (J. Revyn)

A book of postcards with a view of the replacement water tower (image 38) and a map showing the location (no. 19 on map).

Great Laxey Wheel, Isle of Man


The Great Wheel, Laxey, I.O.M.
Postmarked 1905
Publisher: Frederick Hartmann (1902-1909)

Google Street View (approximate).

The Laxey Wheel, The Mannin Folk (song)

The Great Laxey Wheel (Queeyl Vooar Laksey) or Lady Isabella (as she is also known) is the largest working waterwheel in the world. A brilliant example of Victorian engineering she was built in 1854 to pump water from the Laxey mines.
Manx National Heritage

The Laxey water wheel was designed by the Manx engineer Robert Casement. The wheel’s axle was forged by the Mersey Iron Works of Liverpool but the cast iron rims were made on the Island by Gelling’s Foundry at Douglas. The timbers of the wheel were shaped by Manx artisans and the whole structure was assembled here on the Island. The official opening of this huge wheel took place in September 1854 and it was set in motion by the Honourable Charles Hope, the Lieutenant Governor of the Island. The wheel was named “Lady Isabella” in honour of the Governor’s wife. The wheel has a diameter of 72 feet 6 inches, (over 22 metres), and a width of 6 feet. It is capable of pumping 250 gallons of water per minute from a depth of almost 1,500 feet. The mine shaft from which the water was pumped was sited about 450 yards from the great wheel. The power from the wheel was transmitted to the pumping mechanism by a series of rods supported by and running along an imposing masonry viaduct.
Isle of Man.com

Colosseum & Meta Sudans, Rome


ROMA – Anfiteatro Flavio e Colosseo con la meta sudante
Flavian Amphitheater and Colosseum with the Meta Sudans
Publisher: F. Fichter, Rome

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The Flavian Amphitheatre, more commonly known as the Colosseum, stands in the archaeological heart of Rome and welcomes large numbers of visitors daily, attracted by the fascination of its history and its complex architecture. The building became known as the Colosseum because of a colossal statue that stood nearby. It was built in the 1st century CE at the behest of the emperors of the Flavian dynasty. Until the end of the ancient period, it was used to present spectacles of great popular appeal, such as animal hunts and gladiatorial games. The building was, and still remains today, a spectacle in itself. It is the largest amphitheatre in the world, capable of presenting surprisingly complex stage machinery, as well as services for spectators.
Parco archeologico del Colosseo

Parco archeologico del Colosseo online resources

The Meta Sudans was a large monumental conical fountain in ancient Rome. The Meta Sudans was built some time between 89 and 96 under the Flavian emperors, a few years after the completion of the nearby Colosseum. It was built between the Colosseum and the Temple of Venus and Roma, close to the later Arch of Constantine, at the juncture of four regions of ancient Rome: regions I, III, IV, X (and perhaps II). A meta was a tall conical object in a Roman circus that stood at either end of the central spina, around which racing chariots would turn. The Meta Sudans had the same shape, and also functioned as a similar kind of turning point, in that it marked the spot where a Roman triumphal procession would turn left from the via Triumphalis along the east side of the Palatine onto the via Sacra and into the Forum Romanum itself.

Photos from the end of the 19th century show a conical structure of solid bricks next to the Arch of Constantine, surrounded by its own original, reflecting stone pool. The ruins of Meta Sudans survived until the 20th century. In 1936 Benito Mussolini had its remains wantonly demolished and paved over to make room for the new traffic circle around the Colosseum.

Wikipedia.