Everyone who reveres historic buildings understands the importance of maintenance. Unfortunately, there are a lot of people today who do not revere our historic buildings and who do not think that they are especially important. A century ago the concept of actual maintenance was promoted in the public schools. Today advertising promotes the concept of “maintenance-free” products such as vinyl siding and windows. The following photograph, dating to around 1915, is one half of a stereo pair. The stereoview was one of hundreds in a set made specifically for use in the classroom. Made by the Keystone View Company, such stereoviews dealt with a wide variety of subjects including geography, history, science and government. The Country School Journal offers a fascinating bit of history on the use of stereoviews in the public schools as researched and written by Veronica I. Ent.
The instructive text on the back of the stereoview reads:
“HOUSE PAINTERS AT WORK
The owner of this house has hired some painters to paint it because he wants his home to look nice. How many men do you see working? They are all standing on a scaffolding made of planks placed on ladders. Can you tell whether they have painted the upper part yet?
When they have finished the first coat, they will let it dry for a few days. Perhaps they will paint some other house before they put on the second coat. When it is done it will look neat and new.
There is another reason why the owner has the house painted. Do you know what it is? He does it to make the house last longer. Rain and snow make boards rot. The paint keeps out the wet and makes the boards last longer.
Isn’t it a shame to let houses stand without paint on them? They look so much nicer painted and last so much longer.”