Autumn In The St. Michaels Maryland Historic District
Each Autumn since having transitioned into a more dedicated regional photographer I would say to myself how this is the year that I will know, within reason, when the leaves on each species of tree throughout Maryland's Chesapeake Bay region will begin to change colors as well as actually peak for the season. Empowered with this specific knowledge I could then make plans to be in the right locality at the right time so as to capture the vibrant hues of Autumn with my camera. No I am not an arborist by any stretch of the imagination however I possess a fair amount of experience with trees and perhaps more so with their leaves from my years of living on a farm as well as of being an outdoor and historic architecture photographer.
However nature has a way of not keeping to a precise schedule for a myriad of reasons so even with all of the above noted experience I am usually weeks off in my projections each year. Why? Well for example In Annapolis the Red Maple trees found near the Maryland State House begin to change colors early, by a couple of weeks, then those on the campus of St. John's College. Soil and shade conditions? Spring and Summer rainfall amounts? Tree care practices by each institution's respective staff members? All of these things do influence the arrival of the changing leaf colors each Autumn. By the way it is not just the Maple trees in the Capital City that change at different times each Autumn for the Pin Oak trees in Chestertown Maryland vary from when they take on their seasonal hues along the campus of Washington College as opposed to those on High and Cannon Streets. Hickory, Chestnut and Red Oak trees in St. Michaels, Easton, Oxford, Cambridge, Crisfield, and the Western Shore of Maryland also change at different times even within their respective town limits.
So this year I have stopped making predictions or let my confidence get the best of me when it comes to the arrival of Autumn's colorful foliage, no instead I just start my seasonal journey at the beginning of October and walk as far as I can taking photographs along the way with my camera until the leave's Color Dance has concluded for the season (BTW click on the Color Dance link to hear George Winston's song of the same name from his Autumn collection as you peruse the photographs below).
The following six photographs are of 19th century residences that I came across during an Autumn afternoon walk in one St. Michaels Maryland neighborhood.
The Aaron Dyott House was originally built in the 1850's and is seen pictured above accented by the Autumn colored leaves of two nearby trees. Additions and extensions to the residence were completed in the 1870's by James Dyott.
The 1815 Keithley House and the lot it occupies was in the Keithley family from 1783 to 1955. Located a block or so off Talbot Street in St. Michaels Maryland the residence went through a major remodeling in the middle of the 19th century which is reflected in its exterior appearance today.
Located on land that was owned at the time by his father, Dawson Caulk Sr., Dawson Caulk Jr. built this two story frame residence in 1880 and later purchased it after his father's death owning it until his own death in 1924. Comfortable rocking chairs depict an inviting front porch on which to observe the comings and goings of St. Michaels while flower boxes add color to the this historic district residence. Of course the current residents must be 'Rockers' what with the large Rockfish art work hung on the front door.
Known in the second half of the 20th century as the Leonard House, it was known in the 1860's as the Charles W. Willey House, this two section wood frame residence is set on a narrow street front lot in the St. Michaels Historic District. The gable end visible above the left side roof line is an extension built after the house was originally constructed and is where a detached kitchen use to be located.
The 1871 James F. Burns House was originally constructed of three front facing bays that included the front door and two windows set to the left of it. As was the case with an assortment of St. Michaels Maryland basic frame residences constructed during the latter part of the 19th century the Victorian style three floor Bay addition on the right side was built afterwards and in this case prior to 1890. The front porch features a wooden bench swing, a rocking chair and wide flower boxes set along its perimeter.
In the late 1870's a one section house existed on this St. Michaels Maryland lot that included a detached kitchen and what has been said to be a cobbler shop. Purchased by the Fairbank family in the last quarter of the 19th century the house was remodeled and expanded to include the three fronting sections that one sees from the street today. Around the corner of the house on the right side a covered walkway leads to a detached garage that could be reminiscent of the former cobbler shop. Of course what was so inviting in this scene to look at was the transitional colors of the leaves on either side of the front porch.
So as I alluded to at the beginning of this journal post it is actually best to come upon Autumn when and where you find it instead of attempting to predict its exact arrival.
G J Gibson
Gallery Note: currently the photographs featured on this post are not on display in the main gallery
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