Monday, December 29, 2008

Stump Lane

Stump Lane is not named for a tree part as one might think, but according to J Wills Burke,noted author of "The Streets of Key West" the lane is named for a family called Stump that lived there. Now we know... and whatever the origin of the name its a pretty little street off White Street.The author says this lane used to be known as Garrison owing to it's proximity to the base that is still there across White Street. Nowadays it's known as Peary Court Navy Housing after a massive civil disobedience campaign when locals would have preferred the open space to have remained open and not turned into housing. The Navy got their way even though they immediately started to cut back on their personnel in Key West at that time:Part of Stump Lane's charm is the slightly dishevelled appearance it presents to the world, including this rural appurtenance:I half expected a pony to stick it's snout out of the bushes but no such luck.My wife loves skylights and almost reflexively when we moved into a our canal side cabin she asked the builder to put in a skylight over the kitchen, to reproduce the airy kitchen she'd had in California. He demurred saying skylights don't do well in the harsh sunlight and heavy weather of South Florida. Not everyone agrees apparently:I haven't missed the skylight in our house, but I am reassured by the expanse of uninterrupted sheet metal every time the weather turns nasty. Stump Lane also boasts an example of the magnificent and pointless eyebrow homes, designed to allow upper windows to remain open in all weathers:In fact they found the homes with this design managed instead to keep hot air trapped under the eaves and so they stopped building them. The lane also shows off less eccentric styles of architecture:And as usual, life in Old Town would be incomplete without a bicycle, not as a toy or hobby but as transportation :And there are my favorite old Florida shutters:
Some other artwork here and there caught my eye on Stump Lane as I walked. I liked the sea horse designs on the turquoise shutters, the sort of thing I would never end up with on my own house through sheer indolence or lack of artistic impulse or something:And this is way out of my range:I have aspirations for my sea grape in front of my house and I wouldn't mind an archway of natural greenery like this:But I'm not holding my breath, it will take me time to develop the patience to train a bush to grow like this. In the simplest of worlds some of us can hope to see a nice tall tree around our homes, and though I have coconut palms and West Indian almond trees and gumbo limbos around my house something like this I do not have:It hardly looks tropical at all, such a grasping coniferous tree. A tree trunk worthy of the name "stump" were it ever cut down.