Fall Study Tour: Anthracite Architecture, October 16-18, 2015
The world’s largest deposit of anthracite, or hard coal, is along the Susquehanna River in northeastern Pennsylvania. This area became the international center of anthracite extraction during the nineteenth century. Three different towns embody this story in different ways. Wilkes-Barre was at the center of the lucrative mining industry but maintained much of the New England character established by its first Connecticut settlers. Jim Thorpe, the former Mauch Chunk, is a picturesque mountain town where a pioneering gravity railroad was created in 1817 to bring the coal across the Pocono mountains to the Delaware River. Scranton became the railroad hub of the coal industry, and the home of the powerful DL&W Railroad. These three towns reached their apogee in the late nineteenth century, when the anthracite coal aristocracy spent lavishly on their houses, churches, extravagant clubs and even more extravagant tombs.
These three cities, while different architecturally, all share beautiful mountain and river vistas as well as their heritage from “King Coal.” We will be visiting when the autumn foliage is at its peak, providing a dramatic backdrop for homes, churches and public buildings of extraordinary quality designed by leading architects of the nineteenth century.
2015 Victorian Society in America Book Awards
The Henry-Russell Hitchcock Award recognizes excellence in discussions centered on architecture or the decorative arts, and includes related topics such as landscape, painting, interiors, biographies of designers or architects, and museum or historic house exhibition catalogs. This year's award is presented to American Gothic Art and Architecture in the Age of Romantic Literature By Kerry Dean Carso, Cardiff: University of Wales Press, 2014. To induce a thrill, Victorians read British Gothic literature. Carso shows how these experiences were catalysts for a Gothic sensibility in American painting, architecture, garden design and literature.
The W. E. Fischelis Award recognizes excellence in discussions of nineteenth-century art and artists. The 2015 award is presented to Beyond Grief: Sculpture and Wonder in the Gilded Age Cemetery by Cynthia Mills, Washington: Smithsonian Institution Scholarly Press, 2014. This beautiful, thoughtful book discusses high-style memorial sculpture and the functions it served for its patrons and in the public realm of the cemetery, in exhibitions, and in the media.
The Ruth Emery Award recognizes excellence in discussions of regional topics. For 2015, the award is presented to Cincinnati Silver: 1788-1940 by Amy Miller Dehan, with contributions by Janet C. Haartz and Nora Kohl, Cincinnati: Cincinnati Art Museum in Association with D. Giles Limited, 2014. This volume thoroughly demonstrates that Cincinnati was a consumer and producer of luxury silver for its own use, and for the nation.