Calling All House Detectives: Can You Name These Buildings?

Source: Library of Congress
May 27, 2014 by Barbara Orbach Natanson

The following is a guest post by Gay Colyer, Digital Library Specialist, Prints & Photographs Division

Buckingham County, Davidson House Virginia. Photo by Frances Benjamin Johnston, 1933.

We need your help to identify 68 photos of historic structures. They’re posted in a Flickr album called “Mystery Houses,” so that it’s easy to add your notes.* The photographer, Frances Benjamin Johnston, did leave a basic clue for each image—the state and county name. So much more could be said, though, about these intriguing buildings.

Natchez vicinity, Mississippi. Photo by Frances Benjamin Johnston, 1938.

Losing track of the building names might sound like a big oversight for an architectural photographer. But Miss Johnston took more than 7,000 photos of 1,700 structures for her impressive Carnegie Survey of the Architecture of the South. To complete the valuable work she did in the 1920s-1940s, we’re calling for help from observers “in the field.

House designed by Palmer Lamdin, Baltimore, Maryland. Photo by Frances Benjamin Johnston, 1926.

Every building has a story.  Part of the story is the structure itself:  where was it built, and for what purpose? And then there are the people who called the building their home. Who were they, and how were they known in the community? Please help us reveal more of the story!

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