This section is from "The Horticulturist, And Journal Of Rural Art And Rural Taste", by P. Barry, A. J. Downing, J. Jay Smith, Peter B. Mead, F. W. Woodward, Henry T. Williams. Also available from Amazon: Horticulturist and Journal of Rural Art and Rural Taste.
When we began our Hints on Grape Culture, it was feared by some of our friends that so much prominence given to the vineyard would have the effect of checking the increase of graperies; but we had seen too much to participate in any fears of this kind. The event has fully justified our anticipations; for while the number of vineyards, large and small, is rapidly increasing all over the country, graperies are multiplying without precedent; and this, too, in the midst of a desolating civil war. We have on the board at this moment more plans of graperies than have been called for during any period of our experience. We find, too, that what is true of our individual experience, is also true as a general thing. We take it for granted, therefore, that the proposition we laid down, that the increase of vineyards will beget an increase of graperies, holds good, and will continue to hold good, for some time at least. It must be so in the nature of things. There need, therefore, be no jealousy on this part of the subject. We may state here, that it is no uncommon thing for us to receive applications for a vineyard and a grapery at one and the same time from the same party.
If any of our readers should have conceived the idea that we have any prejudices against grape-ries, they are laboring under a great delusion. We have repeatedly declared the grapery to be one of the chiefest luxuries of life; one, however, in which the great mass of people can not indulge. For the latter, and for all, indeed, we have the vineyard, within the reach of every man and woman who owns a rod of ground; an enduring source of pleasure, health, and profit. He who can indulge in both is doubly happy.
Our thoughts have been turned in this direction by repeated and persistent applications for information about the grapery; and we have therefore determined to give an occasional article on the construction and care of graperies. Many of these applications refer to the cost of a house, in regard to which there exists a great many crude notions. So much has been said and written about cheap graperies, that not a few have come to the conclusion that they can be built for about the sum that will put up a good wood shed; and their conclusions, we must add, are fully warranted by some articles that have been published on the subject We know of one very cheap house that has figured largely, and done its share in creating this misapprehension; but the house is not yet half built, and its cost, therefore, is a matter of mere guess work. We venture to say, that when it is done, it will not be worth the money spent on it Many other so-called cheap houses are open to the same criticism. Some of them are said to have been built for sums that would not, in fact, cover the first cost of the material. Some of these cheap houses are built during periods of leisure, by hands on the place, and no account is taken of the labor; and, under the circumstances, it would not be possible to estimate it truly.
There is consequently connected with many of these cheap structures a degree of fallacy which makes them altogether unreliable as criterions of cost; and we hold them unreliable in most other particulars. But the first cost of a house does not necessarily prove it to be cheap; we suppose this will be admitted by most persons who have had experience in building. The expense of keeping such structures in repair in a few years exceeds their original cost. We can see nothing about them to commend them, especially to a poor man; they are mere sheds, and nothing more, and quite unworthy of being dignified with the name of graperies or green-houses. There may be some excuse for erecting them on leased property, but none otherwise. They are objects of the falsest kind of a false economy, and deserve no encouragement whatever. It would be infinitely wiser to add to their first cost, the money spent in their annual repair.
There is another class of cheap houses deserving of more consideration, and in reference to which the word cheap has some meaning. These are built mostly of good material, but cheaply put together. Walls are dispensed with, the stuff is unplaned, and whitewash takes the place of paint. They are more lasting than the first named structures, and may be made to take on some degree of tidiness. Though costing more than the first, they are really much cheaper, as the "incidental expenses" will show in a very few years. They hare this advantage, that they admit of some degree of architectural taste. Located in some inconspicuous spot, they do very well for a man of moderate means; but they should find no place on the grounds of a man of wealth, for they constitute an impeachment both of his wealth and good taste.
There is still another class of graperies, which, in our estimation, are truly cheap. The material is good, well seasoned, and planed; the foundation is of brick or stone; the frame is securely put together, and properly braced; it has architectural taste and beauty, but there is an entire absence of unnecessary ornament. There is nothing about the house that is not really necessary for its strength and durability. A house of this kind may take its place any where, even on the most elaborately finished grounds. Its beauty consists in its proportion and harmony of parts, and it may at any time be elaborated with ornament to any degree that wealth or good taste may suggest; the latter, however, will suggest very little in the way of ornamentation.
There is still another class of houses which are decidedly not cheap, either in their first cost or annual repairs. They are very numerous, but need not be particularly noted at present.
In another article we propose to examine the relative cheapness of these different houses, giving the facts and figures. We have put up a good many, and have more under way, and our statements will therefore be more reliable than the sporadic cases occasionally presented to the public We shall endeavor to present the subject in such a way that the reader may determine for himself which is really the cheapest kind of house. We expect to convince him that cheapness ceases just at the point where durability is ignored.