History and Places
At the Battle of Antietam in September 1862, the first true images of war were produced by photographer Alexander Gardner using a stereo camera. Gardner’s images were put on display at Mathew Brady’s Gallery in New York City. The public was shocked by the reality of the photographs. Newspapers of the day were unable to reproduce photographs and relied on artists’ woodcuts which were published in papers like Harper’s Weekly. Enterprising showmen produced traveling exhibits to tour in the North. Such a program was scheduled for presentation in Warren on Feb. 27 and 28 at Webb’s Hall on Main Street.
On this date in 1863, the Western Reserve Chronicle published a publicity story and advertisement for this event. Reporting that the exhibition was “highly spoken of by papers elsewhere,” the Chronicle reprinted an article from the Elmira (NY) Advertiser:
“The exhibition of Russell’s extensive and magnificent Panorama of the War gave the utmost satisfaction to a large and attentive audience. It gives a perfect and life-like view of the principal battles and incidents of the war, such as cannot be obtained in any other manner. None who appreciate good paintings, and an interesting rehearsal of the incidents connected therewith, will let the opportunity slip to see Russell’s magnificent Panorama.”
“The view of the city of Charleston is the most perfect production of art we ever witnessed; also the view of Baltimore was strikingly correct. The burning of Norfolk Navy Yard is a fine production. You can, as you gaze upon it, almost hear the fire as it burns and crackles through the dry timbers of those old line battleships. You see the masts falling, and can, in imagination, hear them as they splash upon the water. The artist has so truthfully portrayed the scenes of the battlefield that the observer can almost fancy himself a spectator of the real tragedy, and hear the roar of artillery and clash of arms.”
The Chronicle concluded, “If you wish to gain a comprehensive view of the war, and learn many of its interesting details, go and see Russell’s Panorama of the War.”
Webb’s Hall was built by Almon D. Webb in 1861. After the Great Warren Fire of 1860 had burned out most of the Main Street, Webb purchased the lot at 15-17 Main and erected a three story brick building, with store rooms at street level and office rooms in front on the second floor. The third floor, with a distinctive wrought-iron balcony overlooking Main, housed the opera hall with a 600 seat capacity. The stage with scenery occupied the west end of the auditorium. At the time, it was Warren’s only house of public entertainment with many traveling shows and entertainers appearing there along with local productions as well.
Almon D. Webb was active in civic affairs and served as mayor from 1863 through 1865. In the 1800s when the new opera house (later known as the Harris-Warren Movie Theatre) was built on High Street, Webb’s son, Peter L. Webb, was its manager. Peter L. Webb’s home is located at 352 Mahoning Ave. N.W.
Source: Warren’s Sutliff Museum.
ARMIDALE Courthouse could house a revolving display of artwork from the Hinton Collection if a bid by councillors to buy the building succeeds.
Armidale Dumaresq councillors Margaret O’Connor, Jenny Bailey and Laurie Bishop want ratepayers to buy the heritage-listed building from the NSW government when it is vacated later this year.
The building is owned by the NSW government and a spokesman from the Attorney-General and Justice department confirmed it would be listed for sale when the new courthouse opens later this year.
On Monday, the three councillors will ask their colleagues to consider a plan to buy the building “on favourable terms” and mull uses for the site.
Cr O’Connor said yesterday: “We want to put the idea to the community and elicit their comments as to how this unique Armidale icon could be used by ratepayers.”
Built in 1859-60, the courthouse features wrought iron gates, cedar furniture and joinery and a clock tower that was added in 1878.
The government spokesman said the old courthouse would be sold to the highest bidder through Property NSW.
Friends of the Hinton Collection spokeswoman June Hodgson agreed the old building would make a good site for a revolving collection of artworks from the Hinton collection.
“There are about 1300 pieces of artwork in the collection, many of which are stored at NERAM,” Ms Hodgson said.
“The collection has often been described as a ‘hidden jewel’. This plan would make that jewel more accessible and attract more tourists to the town.”
The plan will be debated by councillors at a full meeting on Monday.
Slovenia’s capital a little charmer
The expression “small is beautiful” must surely have been coined for Slovenia and its riverside capital, Ljubljana. Look at a map of Europe (not an old one – Slovenia only became an independent country in 1991) and you’ll find this neat little country tucked between Croatia, Hungary, Austria and Italy. Its area is about half that of Canterbury.
Driving from coastal Croatia, much of it dry and stony, I find it a refreshing change to be in the rolling green countryside of Slovenia. More than half the whole country is forested. Little gabled houses are clustered together in a clearing from time to time, a church spire pokes up above the roofs, and farm animals graze in surrounding paddocks.
Ljubljana (the “j” is pronounced as a “y”) almost means beloved (ljubljena). This would be totally appropriate for this charmer of a city (only 270,000 inhabitants) which spreads out along both banks of the Ljubljanica River.
We make first of all for Ljubljana’s hilltop castle. It was built in the ninth century, rebuilt in the 15th and then upgraded in the 16th and 17th centuries. Afterwards it served as a military outpost and even as the province’s prison before another restoration was carried out in the 1960s. The result is a bit of an architectural mish-mash.
But it has an absolutely splendid tower. After a near-perpendicular ride in the funicular, we slog up to the top of the tower via a double wrought-iron staircase. Someone in our group counts 95 steps as we go round and round. I’m too puffed to count.
From the top, we take in the stunning panorama. We can see the hazy Julian Mountains in the distance (where the skifields lie) – and nearer, dense forested slopes. Closer still is the leafy playground of Park Tivoli. Below us, we look over the winding river, the leafy squares and streets and the terracotta roofs of the buildings.
Many of the buildings are art nouveau in architectural style and decoration, a legacy from the city’s earthquake history. Like other regions of the former Yugoslavia, Slovenia is earthquake-prone. The first recorded quake in the city was in 1511 when much of mediaeval Ljubljana was destroyed. Rebuilding in the 17th and 18th centuries resulted in pale-coloured baroque churches and mansions.
In 1895 a powerful earthquake struck again and the city had to rebuild once more. Art nouveau was all the rage in Europe at the time and many of these wonderful buildings were erected then in that style.
Ljubljana has been through torrid times in other ways. In Roman days it was called Emona, and remnants of Romanesque walls, dwellings and early churches still remain. In the 5th century Emona was sacked by the Huns. Tribes of early Slavs settled in the area in the following centuries.
The Poe House to open March 5 in Hendersonville
Grand opening April 16
By GARY GLANCY
In the opening verse of Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Raven,” a distraught lover awakes to hear the sound of a “gentle rapping” before proclaiming: “’Tis some visitor … tapping at my chamber door — Only this, and nothing more.”
In the famous 1845 poem, the visitor was a bird. Next month, Kimberlee Young and her fiancé, Derek Schuler, will eagerly await the arrival of wine and craft-beer enthusiasts to their new downtown Hendersonville business, The Poe House.
The Hendersonville couple have been working with their friend, carpenter Paul Posthummus, to transform the space underneath West First restaurant — which formerly served as the Henderson County Democratic Party headquarters — into a Charleston-style, Poe-themed retail store that will sell a wide range of wines and craft beer as well as homebrewing supplies and equipment.
Young and Schuler also have obtained their license to sell a host of hand-picked wines and microbrews by the glass for consumption in the shop’s rusticlooking tavern and Charlestonstyle courtyard. A soft opening is planned for March 5, with a grand opening scheduled for April 16.
“I think it’s a wonderful addition and a pretty cool service to have right here in downtown Hendersonville,” said Bob Williford, president of the Henderson County Chamber of Commerce.
A fan of craft beer, Williford said the closings of specialty beer/wine shops Rabbit & Co. and Adventures in Wine and Beer left a void in Hendersonville, underscored by the excitement generated by Sierra Nevada’s arrival in Mills River and the explosion of craft beer in general in Western North Carolina. Young and Schuler agree.
”There’s really nobody here (in Hendersonville) that’s doing anything as far as the beer scene goes,” Young said. “And, unfortunately, with the way the economy went, we lost a lot of our wine shops as well, so we felt there was a real need to have something like this.”
Young, a certified sommelier who has sat on national wine-tasting panels, is equally passionate about wine and craft beer. So is Schuler. The couple own and operate Travels in Wine, which this spring enters its fifth season providing private WNC winery tours out of Hendersonville and Asheville.
They have hired a new marketing director and tour guide, Hendersonville resident Dana Hensley, and also have expanded to Charlotte and Greensboro for tours in the booming Yadkin Valley wine region. Now, Young and Schuler — both Hendersonville natives — plan to begin offering weekly brewery tours in WNC as well beginning in May.
Adding a retail component had been part of the business plan to grow the company, though not right away. However, two things happened that accelerated the process. First, Young and Schuler returned from an outing in Greenville, S.C., inspired after visiting The Trappe Door restaurant, which offers Belgian cuisine and beer in a fittingly dark, Medieval-style basement setting.
Then, back in Hendersonville, Young and Shuler walked into the space under West First, which they planned to renovate into a new corporate office.
“Derek is a visionary, so he walked down here and saw something,” Young said. “I mean, we had a dream to do it at some point, but it was kind of a couple years down the road. But then when he got down here and started looking around, he said, ‘Hey, if we did this and we did that, then we could go ahead and start a couple years early.’” Armed with a vision that includes a love of Poe and the Romantic Gothic period theme, Young, Shuler and Posthummus — whom the couple called a “godsend” — went to work to realize what they’ve called the building’s “Poe-tential.”
First, they rewired the entire place and installed ceiling track lighting and Charleston-style lanterns to set the desired mood. They sandblasted the green walls to reveal the natural brick, built rustic-sophisticated wine shelving into them, and painted the ceiling to enhance the dark look even further.
“It’s made a huge difference,” Schuler said. “You’ve got to create the right environment.” Young and Schuler have purchased furniture from Michigan that — like The Poe House bar — is made from recycled wood, including a table in the tavern’s banquette seating area that will feature the image of a raven burned into it as a tribute to Poe’s poem.
Meanwhile, Young’s brother, David Roark, an artist from Mills River, is busy working on murals that include a portrait of the poet as well as a depiction of Poe’s short story, “Cask of Amontillado.”
Outside in the courtyard Young and Schuler envision a décor of wrought iron and a fountain where customer can enjoy a glass or flight of wine and beer.
A teacher at heart Young’s motto is “educate entice, enlighten and entertain.” The couple assure The Poe House will include it all, with regular beer and wine classes and tastings to complement their winery and new brewery tours.
”With beer, I have the same philosophy that I did with wine: Our goal is to make it fun,” Young said “We want people to be able to understand the craft-beer scene and not be intimidated by it.”
On the home brewing side, Young and Schuler have obtained a brew-on premises license and plan to have educational brew-in sessions in the store. They also hope to collaborate with Blue Ridge Community College to offer similar opportunities for the new beer and brewing-related courses at BRCC.
In that regard, the couple believes solid partnerships lead to healthy, prosperous communities, and they see their venture doing just that in the place they call home.
High heels and country life with Christian Louboutin
When he is not dashing around the world, fitting celebrities with his glorious creations, Christian Louboutin likes to kick back and smell the roses at his enchanting 13th-century French château
A house is very much like a portrait,’ says Christian Louboutin. ‘I cannot disconnect houses from people. The thought of arrangement, the curves and straight lines. It gives an indication of the character at the heart of it.’
So what does the shoe designer’s romantic 13th-century château in the Vendée region of France reveal about him? Each room is unique: a dramatic wrought-iron spiral staircase greets guests in the entrance hallway, filled with natural light from floor-to-ceiling windows; the grand salon is crowded with Italian Baroque armchairs, Louis XV mirrors and delicate pencil sketches by Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres. ‘They were done early on in Ingres’ career but one of them is the exact profile of Meryl Streep! It’s quite fascinating,’ he says.
Shared with Bruno Chambelland, his business partner of more than 20 years — ‘one of my dearest, oldest friends’ — the property sits in seven hectares of enchanting landscaped gardens, with outhouses and a renovated oak barn that is used as an archive of more than 8,000 pairs of Louboutin’s most fabulous footwear.
The fanciful interiors are much more Chambelland than Louboutin. ‘It’s really Bruno who took care of decorating; he used to be an auctioneer. The château was owned by his family three centuries ago, but when the Revolution happened his great-great-grandfather, Benjamin Chambelland, was cut into 200 pieces and the property drifted from owner to owner.’ When Château de Champgillon came back on the market in the late 1980s, Bruno snapped it up and the pair set about restoring it, drawing heavily on 18th-century style. A number of pieces that had been kept in the Chambelland family, including an antique grandfather clock, were returned to their original home; other items, such as some 16th-century Spanish portraits and a woven tapestry by Alexander Calder, were purchased at Paris’ Drouot auction house, and more still were picked up by Louboutin on his travels (he spends more than half the year visiting his 70 stores, from Manhattan to Delhi).
Inside the barn conversion alone there are free-standing Indian rococo columns, Mexican totem poles and searchlights from the Suez Canal. ‘If there is something I like, I buy it and then find somewhere for it. I buy first then I think.’ The restoration of the château is an ongoing project — ‘restoration in France is never finished!’ — but of Louboutin’s five homes (an apartment in Paris’ ninth arrondissement and houses in Portugal, Egypt and LA), it is Champgillon that he holds most dear ‘because this is the one most painted with history’.
The fourth child of Roger Louboutin, a carpenter, and his wife Irène, Christian was born and raised in the 12th arrondissement of Paris with his three older sisters. Inspired by the dancers’ costumes at the nearby Folies Bergères, Louboutin’s childhood dream was always to design shoes and at 16 he dropped out of school to pursue his ambition. A chance encounter in 1982 with Countess Hélène de Mortemart, then fashion director at Christian Dior, led to a year-long internship at the atelier of Charles Jourdan, the brand that designed and manufactured shoes for Dior. After this, the fledgling designer went freelance, designing shoes for Chanel and Yves Saint Laurent. In 1987, the Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris announced a major exhibition of Roger Vivier’s work, and Louboutin became the assistant and secretary of this go-to shoe designer for chic Parisiennes.
With the end of the exhibition came an unexpected sideways move into landscape gardening. In his book, Christian Louboutin, he explains, ‘The garden allowed me to see blends of colours and materials, juxtapositions of gloss and matte surfaces… It was highly instructive.’ The change of direction coincided with the purchase of the château and, while the interior was left to Bruno, Louboutin immediately commandeered the gardens and began restoring. His enchanted idyll was inspired by the great gardens of history, from the Mughal astronomy garden in Jaipur to Hidcote Manor Garden in Gloucestershire. The grand project consumed all the pair’s energies and they ditched the Paris party scene, which revolved around the famous nightclub Le Palace where Helmut Newton and Grace Jones were regulars, for weekends at the château.
‘I never entertain people here — it’s not in my nature. A good host is someone who really takes care of everyone, from the food to their daily programme. I can’t. If I’m in the country, my big idea is to do nothing. It means talking, it means cooking with the leftovers in the fridge — l’art d’accommoder les restes — it means gardening.’
In the early 1990s a chance vacancy in Paris’ historic galerie Véro-Dodat compelled Louboutin to abandon topiary and return to high heels. He opened his first boutique in 1992 and his earliest clients included Princess Caroline of Monaco and Catherine Deneuve. Louboutin’s designs have since become a celebrity fashion staple, with fans including Victoria Beckham, Daphne Guinness and Inès de la Fressange. He still has the original boutique at Véro-Dodat.
These days Louboutin is happiest growing kumquats and mandarins in the 19th-century orangerie, and each season he assiduously selects seeds from catalogues (‘Thompson & Morgan, and Baumaux — between those two I hope to create miracles in the garden’) to cultivate by hand, no doubt under the watchful eye of his partner of 15 years, Louis Benech — one of France’s most fêted landscape architects.
Louboutin’s continually expanding business (there will soon be more menswear and a make-up line) requires constant attention from its creator, and Champgillon offers a much-needed respite. He has just flown from Mumbai to New York and will continue on after the international fashion weeks to Bhutan and Cuba, before taking a well-deserved rest at the end of March: ‘After that I don’t plan on travelling much more this year. It will be summer in Portugal and weekends here. But I have to be careful — I find that if I spend more than four days at the château, I could never leave.’