The Forgotten Boot Scrapers of Lviv

Many years ago I started noticing strange-looking metal objects near certain doors in Lviv. I didn’t give them much thought until I saw one in Przemyśl, Poland, and my friend told me what it was: a boot scraper. Little did I know that this was the start of a new […]

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Boot Scrapers in Oxford

In addition to its abundance of beautiful architecture, famous colleges and courtyards, spires, museums, and canals, Oxford also has its fair share of lovely boot scrapers. In a quiet residential area, I stumbled across a long street filled with boot scrapers — almost every one with a unique shape. But they […]

Stiles in Bibury

The village of Bibury is located in the Cotswolds — a region in south-central England famous for its Cotswold stone (a type of limestone) and historic, charming villages. Along with the stone cottages, another feature of this region is its dry stone walls. While the oldest example of such a wall in […]

Carriage Curbs in Lviv

In many of Lviv’s old buildings there is a carriage entrance way, a driveway which led from the street to the courtyard for carriages to pass through. Along the sides of the entranceway there is an elevated platform, which acted as a sort of sidewalk for people to be able […]

Hoisting Beams: Amsterdam

Amsterdam is beaming with hoisting beams. Previously I associated hoisting beams solely with old merchant’s homes, but unlike other port cities where I’ve seen them, in Amsterdam they are found not only on the old canal houses, but all over the city, including on ordinary residential buildings. Due to fifteenth […]

Servant’s Quarters in Prewar Lviv Building

I suppose it was common for buildings in Lviv’s center and wealthier neighborhoods to have the architectural infrastructure for servants who lived with the families. These now largely antiquated architectural elements would have included a servant staircase, sleeping quarters, and a separate wash area. Fortunately, the planning of my apartment […]

lamp post

Lamp Posts and Water Pumps in Winnetka

The village of Winnetka, a suburb of Chicago, incorporated in 1869, has still a few remnants from its earliest years found in the infrastucuture and architecture.  In particular, in the yards of some of the oldest houses that date from the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuies one can find […]

Fire Marks in Stockholm

Most of the buildings in Stockholm’s Old Town are still adorned with fire marks – plaques that showed that a building was insured in case of a fire. The signs, which depict a phoenix rising from the flames, were introduced in the 1740s. In the event of a fire, the fire brigade would […]

Newel Post Lamps in Lviv

Before electricity, stairwells were lit up by candles, gas lamps, and other types of lighting. Lanterns were hung from hooks or poles high in the central area of the stairwell, or sometimes the stairwell’s newel posts, due to their prime location, functioned also as lamp posts. Early newel posts burned […]

Prewar Manhole Covers: Przemyśl

In Poland it’s a little more difficult to determine the age of manhole covers than in Ukraine, because in Ukraine if it’s in Polish, it’s old; but in Poland, everything is in Polish… However, by comparing them with prewar ones in Lviv, I think I’ve been able to distinguish which […]

Antique Vacuum Valve in Lviv Stairwell

Last weekend I joined a couple of free tours that were organized as part of European Heritage Days of Lviv. On Sunday I went on one dedicated to Lviv Seccession (Art Noveau), where we learned about the Lviv “Montmartre” district and visited the former homes/studios and now museums of the […]