Kevin Harbach and Bryan H0user recently used a drone with a camera to give the world a view of El Alisal that may have never been seen before . . . except by birds.
A shot from directly overhead (below right) shows how the property has been whittled down and hemmed in by streets and houses since Lummis bought a two-and-a-half acre lot here for $650, with $100 down, in the spring of 1894. The drone’s view of skyscrapers on the horizon (bottom) captures the lot’s proximity to downtown, five miles to the south.
Lummis built the house and some outbuildings over a period of 14 years. He boasted often about all the river stones from the arroyo that he hoisted into place, with help from a rotating cast of helpers, and how fit the hard work left him. El Alisal was his “gymnasium,” he said. In a pronouncement displaying his penchant for bombastic self-congratulation, he once wrote of the experience, “It is pitiful for a man to get a home off the bargain counter and miss all the joy he might just as well have had in building it.” The stonework was a “construction to last 1,000 years unimpaired.”
The stonework shines in the bird’s eye views of the house snapped by the drone. I’m sure it will need help to make it another 885 years. But at the age of 115 or so, Lummis’s house looks great in Harbach and Houser’s photographs.
Check out a gallery of the photographs they shot with a drone on Dec. 3 on their Flickr page.
Photos reprinted courtesy of Kevin Harbach and Bryan Houser