Thursday, April 15, 2010

Lovecraft the Gardener: Why did he seize a vacant lot?

Lovecrfat told two stories of seizing a vacant lot and building upon it. Once, as a child, he and his gang erected a cmall village of huts. Later, at 598 Angell Street, he and the Munroes seized yet more property and a huge parklike garden was erected over several years.


What was the motivation? Fun? Or was something else going on?

As it turns out, Providence led the nation in what was called the "vacant lot revitalization" and later known as children's gardens to differentiate those urban lots seized to plant vegetables for poverty stricken families.

These were city lots, or abandoned lots - tall grass or debris were in the lots, whentehr owned or not.

As can be seen in the magazine article from 1914, a children's garden was encouraged by teachers, and the students had to meticulously plan it, and maintain it. Classroom time was devoted.

The article is a bit later than Lovecraft's High School days, but one suspects the same motivational civic pride energies were in place. It's also interesting that Lovecraft drops that he shoveled snow. That means as a lively 14 year old, he was not yet poikilothermic; unaffected by the cold.

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