Monday, November 30, 2009

"Father Knickerbocker", Washington Irving, New York and Quite The Stir Bungalow?

It is a special and sacred privilege,... my fellow Bungalow enthusiasts, lovers of history, all things Gettysburg being both great and small, intermingled with a few New York attitudes or so... to recount the following history, myth or legend! Hubba, Hubba!

As you grow more curious by the moment...allow what follows not to be a digression or an irreverence of the truth. Rather let us venture to remind you that the history and lore we will share, in picturesque methods and written word, are derived from bits and pieces gleaned by bits and pieces with a (quite frankly) incurable romantic at the helm of this unraveling, unwinding, revealing, revelling and de-fragging a bit of history!

Our research began, in earnest, by attempts to discover the first resident of Quite The Stir Bungalow. It was in research that we understood the following story’s true scale of irony, which made it even more amazing touching and whimsical!

Shall we begin to connect New York, Washington Irving, only one of the legends of American literature ("The Legend of Sleepy Hollow""A History of New York" and "Rip Van Winkle")"Father Knickerbocker" and Gettysburgs' Quite The Stir Bungalow? Well, I'll venture, by the gleam in your eyes...yes!

Father Knickerbocker, The Legend and the Myth

Actually, the first Knickerbocker was a real person, as far as scant account reveals to us. Harmen Jansen Knikkerbakker (later Knickerbocker) migrated to the newly renamed English colony of New York some time in 1674.

Knickerbocker is a Dutch surname and references the oldest of New Yorker families, for the most part of Dutch origins, and very likely among the first socially prominent families of New York. Many are the generations of New Yorkers, in particular, and Knickerbocker kin who proudly claimed to be descendants of Father Knickerbocker, despite his beginning and no doubt to the contrary, fictional roots. Yes, Father Knickerbocker was once a revered and rivaled "symbol" of old NY, and sometimes known as the equivalent of Uncle Sam, claimed as forefather of many a Knickerbocker!

However, in all actuality (as best we can surmise)again for the history and anals of New York, Father Knickerbocker was the fictional character of Washington Irving, who wrote under the nom de plume of Dietrich Knickerbocker the book, History of New-York .

Through Washington Irvings' writings (1809, and other succesive stories), the image of a benign father figure captured the cities imagination! The city's most popular symbol of the late 19th and early 20th centuries "Father Knickerbocker", was characterized with cotton wig, three-cornered hat, buckled shoes, and, knickered pants.

A part of creating lore and mystique arose in NY.

In summarization, indeed there seems to be abundant proof, that there existed a beautiful bit of nonsense, surrounding "Father Knickerbocker" all rooted into a captive and disconcerting compromise of truth!

Searching through scattered accounts, disturbing historical/comedic mention and great gaps of actual accounts of reference to Father Knickerbocker, some untenable chronicals, fiction (or not!), illustrations, imagination flights of fantasy and daydreamers... history re-affirmed and further cemented that "Father Knickerbocker" is a mythical NY Legend based in real life. Shock value and applause here.