|1871 advertisement (Wikipedia)|
Mr. Hayward explained that ever since contracting some unnamed disease in the Civil War, he needed to keep cool in the summer. So in 1883, he put up a tent in his back yard. But then he worried that a "tramp" would steal it, or that it would leak during a good rain. So he stuck the tent in a tree on Mount Pleasant*, having first got permission (they don't say from who). Well, he didn't stop at a tent: he built a whole tree house: a 12 by 7 1/2 foot platform built between two large trees, an A frame, and a tent over the whole thing. Instead of a sleeping bag, Mr. Hayward enjoyed the comfort of one of the modern sofa beds (modern for then, of course) such as you see on the left in the 1871 ad. Not quite as comfortable as the modern beds of today, which as you can see, are wide and sleek-looking, just right for an airy contemporary bedroom - but better than real camping, wouldn't you say?
|Rock Creek Park (Wikipedia)|
I will try and find out some more about Mr. Hayward and his tree castles and when I do, I'll come back and tell you some more about him (and them). I like to think of him up in a tree, lounging on his tufted, incongruously fancy Victorian sofa bed, listening to the wind and "the birds singing all around me."
[Source: "A House in the Tree Tops," New York Times, April 20, 1884.]
*Mount Pleasant is now a neighborhood in Washington, D.C. - it was a "streetcar suburb" back in the 1880s, and it's also home to Rock Creek Park (not founded until 1890), where I imagine the trees for the tree house were located. The article refers to the slopes of an actual Mount Pleasant, which must be one of the "wooded hills" mentioned in the National Park Service link above.