This Thursday Doors post is challenging, for two reasons. First. The Cloisters, a recreation of a 13th, 14th and 15th century monastery, is full of wonderful doors. If you find that sentence curious, it’s because The Cloisters was built by John D. Rockefeller from the remnants of at least five European monasteries and stones quarried from the quarry that supplied material to at least one of those historic sites. John D. gave the museum and the four-acre park (Ft. Tryon) that it sits on to the City of New York, and the Metropolitan Museum system. Sitting atop the Washington Heights area of Manhattan, it gives visitors majestic views of the Hudson River and New Jersey coast. Rockefeller also purchased several hundred acres of land on the New Jersey side of the Hudson River, to preserve the quality of those views from the grounds. Earlier this week, I shared some pictures from the grounds of The Cloisters.
Wait, you said there were two reasons.
Yes, the second reason is the fact that at least two people have already featured The Cloisters for Thursday Doors. A couple of years ago, Thursday Doors’ own Norm Frampton visited The Cloisters in between rounds of a tennis tournament in New York. Earlier this year, Sherry Felix featured doors from The Cloisters in her Thursday Doors post (you should read that post). Sherry adds a bit of personal history we don’t normally associate with The Cloisters, in that when Sherry was an Urban Park Ranger, she reenacted Margaret Corbin’s story in the revolutionary war. Margaret Corbin, a nurse, and her husband were among 600 soldiers defending then Fort Washington from 4,000 attacking Hessian troops under British command during the Revolutionary War. You can read this story at Wikipedia, (Sherry was kind enough to include a link). After her husband fell in battle, Margaret continued to clean, load and fire their cannon. Margaret Corbin became the first woman in U.S. history to receive a pension from Congress for military service.
The history of The Cloisters is much more complicated and involved at least one additional significant player than mentioned in the few sentences in the opening paragraph. If you’re interested in the story, check out the Metropolitan Museum’s own history page.
If you’re new to the Internet phenomenon that is Thursday Doors, you have to thank our benefactor, Norm Frampton. Norm has created and maintains a virtual museum of door imagery from around the world, without the cost and effort of disassembling the doors, transporting and reassembling them in Canada. That’s a good thing, because most of these doors are still in use, protecting people from the elements of nature. Entry to this virtual museum is free. Simply visit Norm’s site, view his doors, and then look for the amphibious docent (little blue frog). Click on that guy to be guided into the international list of galleries. If you discover or have already collected some door photos, please share them with us through Norm’s list.
Between the history that has been told and the doors that have been featured, the challenge to me was to find at least a few new doors to share with you today. The gallery includes a few repeats, as well as some doors which I don’t think were included in those earlier posts.