Known as the princess of fruits and the symbol of hospitality, the pineapple has become a prevalent motif in architecture, statuary and interior decoration, as well as a delight within the culinary world.
Pineapples are thought to have originated centuries ago in South America. On the Caribbean Island now known as Guadeloupe, it is believed that a fateful interaction with Columbus on his second voyage to the New World began the journey of this exotic fruit to European shores. Despite the challenges of growing fruit that thrived in tropical climates, by the mid 1600s pineapples were being produced in Hot Houses in Holland and England. The pineapple emerged as an honored and coveted gift presented by royalty to distinguished members of society. Named for its sweet taste and resemblance to the pinecone, the pineapple became a prized delicacy that spread throughout Europe and eventually, America.
Since Colonial times in America, the pineapple has endured as a symbol of welcome and hospitality. Its popularity brought forth a thriving trade that developed in the late 1600s and early 1700s, strengthening the pineapple as a status symbol. Serving pineapple at the dinner table was reserved for special occasions and honored guests. History states that American sea captains, upon returning from a voyage, would place the prized fruit on display outside their homes as a signal of their homecoming. This is perhaps the origin of the pineapple as an element of greeting, which evolved into more permanent adornment of exterior spaces that we see today. The pineapple became an iconic emblem of the 20th Century, embellishing pediments and architecture to offer a warm welcome with its distinctive form.
Pineapples used as architectural motifs can be seen throughout downtown Charleston adorning homes, gates, gardens and more. Perhaps the most iconic example is the Pineapple Fountain at Charleston Waterfront Park. Boasting a distinct pineapple-inspired design, this fountain has become one of the most photographed landmarks in the city. The Pineapple Fountain is definitely a must-see for visitors, and was recently deemed one of the 13 Most Incredible Fountains In The World.
A special thanks to Kristin via houseappeal.wordpress.com for all the fun facts regarding the history of the pineapple.