Basket

Shadow basket for imaginary trash?

Photo by Roman.

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Unfurling

Photo by Roman.

I’m not any sort of botanist nor really any manner of gardener: The three plants in my apartment are every bit as anonymous to me as the flowers in this post. This looks vaguely like some kind of geranium, but I seriously doubt it.

Would anyone care to enlighten me?

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Photo by Roman.

The New Mound Builders

A friend of mine and I went out to the Indiana Dunes National Park very recently. I had been to the Indiana Dunes State Park, several times though not recently, but this was my first visit to the national park. The national park is a sprawling territory. The part we were interested in was the Bailly homestead and cemetery.

The Bailly homestead was a trading post, established in 1822 by Joseph Aubert de GaspĂ© Bailly de Messein, directed at the local Native American tribes, Pottawatomies mostly. My friend’s interest in the site was related to its connection with the history of Monee, Illinois. The town is apparently named after one of Joseph Bailly’s wives.

I found the Bailly cemetery the most interesting part of the visit.

It is said that the site of the Bailly cemetery had previously been used as a burial site by Native Americans. Other European immigrants had begun burials at the site when Joseph Bailly buried his son there in 1827. Possibly because of land ownership issues, possibly because of class or ethnic or religious issues, possibly because of whatever, the Bailly family claimed the cemetery for their own. The surrounding community didn’t think much of this; by some accounts they continued burying and visiting their dead there. It was, after all, the Baillytown Cemetery, n’est pas? In 1885, the family erected a six foot wall around the site. In 1914 they went to the extreme of erecting a new concrete block wall around the site, evicting the non-family dead, and filling with sand the interior delimited by the wall.

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Looking north and up at the Bailly Cemetery. Photo by Roman.

That’ll show ’em.

If you’re interested in getting into the weeds (begging your pardon) of this history, the Porter County Indiana site is an excellent source, of course there’s Wikipedia and Steve Shook’s Three Phases of Bailly Cemetery untangles more of the complicated history.

I’ve probably been watching too many Time Team episodes, a program devoted to U.K. archaeology, because I found all this too delicious.

For one thing, the European use of a Native American burial site would not be unusual in Britain where such serial use of burial sites by successive cultures happened quite often.

The choice of a high hill, where the dead can look down and the living can look up to be reminded, seems also quite typical.

While I’m sure that in 1914 the designers of the final cemetery were looking to Europe (Roman mausoleums, apparently) for inspiration, yet what is this but a mound? And in Britian and elsewhere, mounds were frequently the burial sites for important people and their hangers-on. And such sites were often delimited by a ditch. There’s a carriageway around the Bailly Cemetery that would do just fine as a boundary ditch.

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The site is encircled by a sunken walkway… or is it a boundary ditch? Photo by Roman.
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The pattern of light and shadow on this wall was quite delicious. Photo by Roman.
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The top, or interior, of the Bailly Cemetery. Photo by Roman.

I’m sure the late Frances Rose Howe, granddaughter of Joseph Bailly, would be seriously pissed by my take on her history. She might say, as she did to one Henry Friday: “You are not my social equal, and you have no business to pretend that you know anything about a family so far above your own.”

The Bailly Homestead

The history here is about as complicated as that of the cemetery. If you’re interested, the National Park Service has a good thumbnail article as does Wikipedia. The Porter County Indiana site’s homepage gives a good account of the historical context of Bailly’s home and enterprise.

I begin with these links as I was far more interested in the interiors of the buildings than their exteriors; the interiors provide so much more fodder for the imagination about just what it must have been like to live and work in these buildings. So nearly all my photos are of the interiors. Note that all of them are views through windows. The main house is likely alarmed, in any case. I do believe I heard a motion detector beeping within.

I find it difficult to relate the histories with the out-buildings that stand today. One of the log buildings was described as a storage building that was repurposed as a chapel, including the addition of an apse. I totally did not see that. The brick house is nearly a mystery to me as none of the accounts I’ve seen really explain why it was build or, except that it included a kitchen, how it was used.

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The front of the brick house. The brick work suggests that there may have been more windows. The sheltered cross makes me wonder if Rose Howe intended it to be used also for religious meetings. Photo by Roman.
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Main house basement interior. Photo by Roman.
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Log construction. Photo by Roman.
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Stairs to the second floor. The log building is variously described as dairy, watchman’s quarters, servants’ quarters. It’s small. Photo by Roman.
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First floor of the same. Photo by Roman.
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East side first floor main house. Note ceiling beams, said to be ornamental, also fireplace. Photo by Roman.
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Main house, first floor. Fancy woodwork! Photo by Roman.
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This is the brick house, if I remember correctly. Photo by Roman.
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The west end of the brick house. Photo by Roman.