Historical Manhole Covers: Przemyśl

In the part of Galicia that is today Ukraine, dating certain remnants of the past can be relatively easy due to the language of the inscription — anything in Polish dates from before WWII. On the other hand, in a city like Przemyśl where Polish was and still is the […]

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Boot Scrapers: Przemyśl

It was in Przemyśl, a small Galician city situated today in Poland near the Ukrainian border, that I first discovered what a boot scraper was and where my love for these remnants of the past began. I had first seen these odd metal objects in Lviv, but hadn’t given them […]

Lychakiv Station: Lviv’s Forgotten Train Station

Tucked away in an old neighborhood on the east side of Lviv is the site of a former Austrian-era train station — the Lychakiv Station. Lychakiv Station, built in 1906, was Lviv’s third — after the Main Railway Station and the Pidzamche Station north of the city. The station was […]

Lost in a Sea of Cobblestones: Lviv’s Historical Manhole Covers & Storm Drains

To find traces of Lviv’s prewar past, one must not forget to look down from time to time. Indeed, below our feet are hiding hundreds of manhole and utility covers, which have been serving the city’s infrastructure since before the war. These Austrian- and Polish-era cast iron plates cover buried […]

Lviv’s First Centralized Fire Station

The fire service of the city of Lviv was organized on January 4, 1849, on the initiative of Mayor Karl Göpflingen-Bergendorf, and is one of the oldest organized fire brigade structures on the territory of present-day Ukraine. In the last quarter of the nineteenth century, to further improve the city’s […]

boot scraper

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 […]

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 entranceway, 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 to […]

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 […]