Screen Houses of Plymouth County
Plymouth, Massachusetts is celebrated as the site of the Pilgrims Landing in 1620 along with its Cape Cod Bay coastline and protected harbor that attracted these first settlers to the this location.
When flying over the Plymouth area in the fall, one can’t miss the mosaic landscape below dominated by large patches of magenta. These are the cranberry bogs of southeastern Massachusetts. The cranberry – the indigenous plant that has thrived in this landscape since before the Pilgrims arrived – dominates the low lying terrain of peat and sand bogs surrounded and protected by pitch pine and scrub oak uplands.
Often hidden from view along the byways of the cranberry bogs, I discovered several unique barns. I learned these were over 100 year old “screen houses” whose purpose was to sort the berries before the advent of today’s automated harvesting. The dominate feature in the various structures was a bank of windows designed so that each sorter had maximum light available for the task.
Some of the screen houses that survive today have found other purposes, and some have been neglected or vandalized. These photographs document these unique structures in their surrounding bogs and uplands before they totally fade from the landscape. Inspired by an 1880’s painting “The Cranberry Harvest” by Eastman Johnson, these photographs capture the spirit of the era in which the screen houses were used for their original purpose of sorting the berries of the annual harvest.
Photographer and designer Christy Stadelmaier photographs nature, intimate landscapes and the structures found there. Nature’s textures and colors always informed her work as a designer of products for the built environment and now she is turning the same aesthetics to her photographs at a different scale.
She is active in the Plymouth Guild for the Arts, is regularly accepted in juried shows and as a Russell Gallery artist, exhibits her work there regularly.
She has also exhibited at Massachusetts Audubon, and in the Photography Atelier shows at Lesley University and the Griffin Museum of Photography. Stadelmaier has studied photography at the Maine Photographic Workshops and Photography Atelier. Her work is in private collections.
Contact Christy Stadelmaier