Hiding In Plain Sight

While walking through Georgetown yesterday, I did something that I have done numerous times in the past two years—I walked past the Halcyon House. Typically I pass by it on Prospect street and either continue on that road, or sometimes I turn to go down towards the river via 34th Street. But today, I did something different. Yesterday, I really looked. I often find myself looking at the places around me, digesting visual input about what makes those places unique. However, in all of my looking at this particular building, it’s history had never been so apparent as it was today. Maybe it was the cloudless bright summer sky that illuminated the east elevation so well, but in plain view, I could see at least three distinct building periods betrayed to my eye by the masonry. Inspired by so many posts on blogs like Preservation in Pink, I decided to take a photo and share it here, because I just thought it was too good of an example of how much information we can learn from our surroundings—and in particular, our historic buildings—if we just open our eyes!

Without further adieu, please enjoy the following animation of this original image, showing my hypothetical progression of building periods (click for a larger view):

Progression of building periods based on visual clues at the Halcyon House, Georgetown, Washington, DC.
Progression of building periods based on visual cues at the Halcyon House, Georgetown, Washington, DC.

Please note that I decided not to research the actual building progression history for now, so that I could just be reading the building based on visual evidence.