JOHN AND MARY’S GARAGE
The American Garage
This garage is an extremely interesting structure because of the clearly re-purposed material used in the garage’s construction. The origins of the material are unknown, but there is evidence of dimensional studs from three different sources.
Some of the studs are clearly older than the others. The rough saw marks on the studs were caused by a worn circular saw blade suggesting that they were cut by the owner and not by a supplier. Also, many of the studs have evidence of lathing, which tells us that they were covered with plaster during their prior use. The use of old material to create a new structure implies ingenuity and resourcefulness on the part of the builder. The excessive number of nail holes in the roof boards as well as the studs also supports the idea that the material was repuposed for the construction of the garage. Some of the old nail holes in the studs contain the original machine cut nails that predate conventional wire nails used today.
The garage is an interesting expression of territory and boundary. Residents have always constructed physical boundaries to protect the places they see as their own and to protect the items they value. The more a person feels they are responsible for a space the more they make an effort to claim it and protect its boundary. This feeling escalates as the property line travels to the back of the house from the front.
Here, the bustle of the public sidewalk and street gives way to the private chatter of neighbors, the sounds of a lawnmower and the subtle laughter of children playing.
Like so many other residences in Thurston Woods, the back of this house takes on a rigid boundary with the placement of a fence, which demarcates an edge and terminates at the paved driveway and the built garage. It is here that the driveway and garage maintain the privacy of the yard beyond by minimizing the exposure to the alleyway. Inside the garage, a family’s precious items are safely kept until they are put to use. Even though a mower, for example, is in storage most of the time, it serves to maintain the property and assist in delineating an owner’s identity.