Friday, April 30, 2010

Cape Town, South Africa

This card showing Cape Town, South Africa at the foot of Table Mountain was sent in May, 1905. The short message on the front says:
Good Morning!
Alf Comstock

Here's another view of South Africa, circa 1905

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Hotel Woodward - New York

This postcard was sent in 1937.  The Woodward Hotel is still standing, but it now called The Dream Hotel.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Vanderhoof's Fire Proof Storage

Somehow, storage facilities are much more appealing with horse-drawn trucks rather than U-hauls.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Tennessee..or Not

This is spooky, don't you think? Two identical towns and two identical blue trucks, and yet these town are 50 miles apart...and neither one is on the Mississippi River.  Presumably, you could have had Boise, Idaho printed on this postcard if you wanted to. It's such a fine postcard; who wouldn't want their town's name on it?

Monday, April 26, 2010

The Posey Tube

The Posey Tube was opened to traffic in 1928, connecting the cities of Alameda and Oakland, California. The card shows two-way traffic and a somewhat alarming no-passing sign. The Posey Tunnel now only serves Oakland-bound traffic. Another parallel tunnel, the Webster Tunnel, carries Alameda-bound traffic.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Streetcar Sunday - Ft. Dodge, Iowa

This card was sent on December 12th, 1907,  the first day of service for the Fort Dodge Interurban, operated by the Fort Dodge, Des Moines and Southern Railroad Co., with service between Fort Dodge and Des Moines. This was the largest interurban service in Iowa, with stops in minor towns (such as Boone) along the way.  The train also carried a lot of freight, particularly gypsum board, which helped keep it in service longer than similar passenger-only services. Oddly enough, the line also made money by selling electricity to farms, industries, and homes. By 1954, the entire line had been converted from electric to diesel. Some of the line still exists today as the Boone and Scenic Valley Railroad, a popular tourist service and dinner train.

Here's the back of the card. I almost didn't check on the recipient, but I'm glad I did. C.H. Crooks was the President  of the Ft. Dodge, Des Moines, and Southern Railroad Co.! This card was sent to his wife. I'm not sure who Carrie Holm was, but she may have been married to County Auditor, H.S. Holm.

Find out more about the Fort Dodge, Des Moines, And Southern Railroad Co. and other Iowa interurban trains here.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Do you think people park their cars in the middle of the street along the Copacabana in Rio today? No way! There are now three lanes in each direction, but they have also preserved and upgraded the center median (I love center medians!) Not surprisingly, there are also a lot more buildings now.
The Church of Our Lady of the Rock was built in 1635 and is famous for the 382 steps of the main staircase. Never mind the church or the stairs; there's something very appealing about men wearing white suits with hats.

Friday, April 23, 2010

The Arcades - Cleveland, Ohio

If only modern shopping malls could be so attractive. The Superior Arcade in Cleveland was built in 1890 and was one of America's first indoor shopping malls. The arcade was designed by John Eisenmann and consisted of two 9-story towers connected by a 5-story atrium. We have reason to rejoice, because the arcade has been preserved. Today, it houses a Hyatt Regency Hotel and shops and restaurants. Here's what it looks like today.

Here are a few more shopping arcades in Cleveland:


Thursday, April 22, 2010

Zara, Turkey

Zara is located in the Sivas Province of Turkey and currently has a population of about 20,000. Sivas is an Anatolian Province and is the second largest province in Turkey. The province is noted for its thermal springs.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

From Otto to Siegfried - Würzburg, Germany

It appears that Otto was practicing his English on this card to Siegfried, who was spending his Summer vacation of 1905 at a spa resort. Bad Elgersburg is a scenic area known for its curative baths. The artist Edvard Munch came to Bad Elgersburg later the same year to recover from various ailments.

The message reads:
Dear Siegfried!
Thanks for your postal. I have sent the letter, if you have not got it, it was stolen from the person who opened it! Who was that? If this person publishes it in an amerikan tiding or journal he may get much money for this  art "Kunstwerk." I shall tell you more, when we meet again. Herzl. Gruss your friend Otto   Beg for answer! rapidly!

The front of the postcard shows the Käppele, a small Baroque/Rococo chapel by Balthasar Neumann in Würzburg, Germany. You can still visit it today. The City of Würzburg is still very beautiful despite the fact that it was bombed more completely than even Dresden at the end of World War II. On March 16, 1945 an estimated 90% of the city was destroyed by British bombers. Thousands of residents died and the medieval town center was destroyed. The fact that Würzburg still looks so beautiful today is due in large part to the painstaking efforts of survivors who sifted through the rubble and reconstructed buildings over the following twenty years.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

A House Bargain For You!

Here we have one of the first houses to go up in the Valley of the Estancia Ranchettes. Haven't you always wanted to be a rancher, I mean...ranchetter?

What would you say if I told you you could get a house like this for less than the price advertised on this old postcard? Yes, I hear that there were some shenanigans and some real estate people ended up in jail over this project. I also understand that water is a little hard to come by in this area outside of Albuquerque, New Mexico, and if you drill a well you may find that it fills with saltwater. Just remember the saying: If life gives you saltwater, make saltwater taffy.

Anyway, I'm not suggesting you live in the house. No, this is a movie set, a movie set with great potential for unlimited sequels. You could get rich!

I know you can come up with better movie ideas than I can, but here are a few to get you started:
1. Murder at the Estancia Ranchette
2. Valley of the Estancia Ranchette Dolls
3. Day of the Estancia Triffids
4. Alien Invasion in Estancia
5. Tumbleweeds Ate My Cat

Monday, April 19, 2010

Postcard to Kolozsvár

This wonderful postcard consists of a collage of German-language advertisements and announcements.  At first I thought the postcard might be Czech. In any case, it is addressed to someone in Kolozsvár (the Hungarian spelling of the Romanian City of Cluj), the informal capital of the province of Transylvania.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Happy Birthday

Two cards today, one for my father's birthday and one for Streetcar Sunday! It's Madeleine's birthday too! Happy Birthday, Madeleine.

Streetcar Sundays - Cortland, NY

Cortland, NY is 31 miles from Syracuse and has a population of about 18,500 today. The picture on this card is from around 1906. You can see the streetcar in the distance. The streetcar system in Cortland was discontinued in 1931.
The sender has written a message on the front of the cards that says:
I am feeling quite good this morning.
am coming home.
There were a number of people with the last name of Tarbox in Cortland and Harford Mills. I tried to find out more about H.E. Tarbox, but it would take more research. It's a wonderful last name.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Anna Nesbitt Boggs at the Ostrich Farm

This is Anna Nesbitt Boggs at the Ostrich Farm in Los Angeles, very close to the Alligator Farm from a previous post and owned by the same people.  The Ostrich Farm opened in 1906 and operated until 1953. Who was Anna Nesbitt Boggs? Well, I don't know either, but her name was written on the back of the card, and the internet being what it is, I was able to determine that she was the second wife of William Boggs. William was born in 1868 and died in 1957. The handsome man standing behind the carriage is probably William. One way or another he's likely to be a William

This was also the second marriage for Anna, who had previously been married to another William - William Nesbitt. Anna was born in New Kingston, New York in 1868 as Anna Eliza Henderson and died in 1950 in So. Stamford, New York. She and her first husband are buried in the Valley Views Cemetery.

The Oregon Journal

The Oregon Journal doesn't exist anymore, but it was Portland's daily afternoon newspaper from 1902 until 1982.  The building in this picture was the home of the Oregon Journal from 1912 to 1948. By 1948, the newspaper had outgrown the building and moved into a building on Front Avenue that had originally been the Portland Public Market. The building has since been demolished. However, the building above is still standing, and is on the National Register of Historic Places.

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Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Hal Orr's - Rocky Mount, N.C.

I can't help it; I like it. I don't care if they don't have free wifi.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Duty's Call

This card was sent to Miss Helen Lihr, who worked for New York Air Brake Co. in Watertown, New York.  Although the company had previously focused its efforts on manufacturing brakes for locomotives, the emphasis shifted during World War I.  At that time they started making horse-drawn cannons and other war equipment. At the end of WWI, the focus shifted back to locomotive brakes.

The message on the cards reads:
Dear Helen,
I haven't any news, so I can't write. I am in hopes of seeing you Thurs. then for a time. Hope I can (illegible) and make any kind of train connections. I'll arrive at 7:15 am on sleeper from N.Y. City. If I can come I will telegraph and if I do meet me at the train. I won't write again until I know for sure whether I am coming or not. Lovingly MJB

Monday, April 12, 2010

Nix on the Married Life

I wish this picture was a little clearer, because I would love to take a closer look at some of the details on the furnishings. What's up with that ceiling trim?
The message says:
Brother + Sister. We are coming out to the Farm Thursday and will be down and stay all night with you if we can find where you live.
Wait a minute, you don't know where your brother and sister live? How does that happen? In any case, the mailman was probably unable to deliver the card, since it is marked "not known." I wonder where they spent the night.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Streetcar Sunday - Akron, Ohio

Akron, Ohio had mule-drawn streetcars as early as the 1850s, but these cars were already replaced with electric ones by 1888, which is very early compared to other American cities. By the turn of the century, the Northern Ohio Traction and Light Co. was operating 80 miles of track. By 1910, the streetcars also had significant competition in the form of buses and jitneys (gasoline-powered touring sedans, which were often used to poach waiting passengers from streetcar stops.)

Streetcars were enjoying success in Akron, and the operators of Northern Ohio Traction and Light Co. were strategic enough to buy up the competing bus lines from Goodyear and several of the jitney services. Eventually, they operated 125 streetcars and 25 buses. System ridership increased through the years, setting records during World War II, in part due to gas and tire rationing. In the 1950s, the streetcars were replaced by diesel buses.

In 1969, with the threat of a transit strike, The Akron Transportation Co. closed its doors, and auctioned off the equipment and property. Akron became the largest City in the United States without any public transportation. The situation was remedied later that year with the formation of the Akron Metropolitan Regional Transit Authority (METRO.) To find out more about current transit service in Akron, visit Metro RTA.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Hoellsteig Hotel

Located in Germany's Black Forest, this hotel still exists. It looks very much the same, but it is now operated by Best Western. No joke.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

League Park, Cleveland, Ohio

I don't know anything about baseball, but that doesn't mean I don't like it. In fact, I like it a lot. I just like it for the wrong reasons. I love the sounds and the smells. I like the cheering of fans and the shouting of the vendors, and the old-fashioned organ music. I enjoy the food smells and the taste of a hot dog with all of the stuff on it, even though I don't normally eat hot dogs. (They taste different at a ball game.)  I am fascinated by those perfect mowed-grass patterns on the field. I can enjoy a baseball game without caring who wins. My investment, when I buy a ticket, is simply in breathing in deeply (if somewhat obliviously) of the wonderful American tradition.

Once I was invited to watch a baseball game from a luxury suite. I was very excited about it, but it turned out to be a huge letdown. It had the effect of removing everything I love from the game, which is to say, the ambiance. This game in Cleveland seems to have ambiance and hats to spare. I wish I could have been there.

League Park in Cleveland was built in 1891 and provided seating for 9,000. In 1910, the stadium was completely rebuilt in steel and concrete, with seating for more than twice as many fans (that's what you see here.) This was the home of the Cleveland Indians for over 50 years. The park was renamed Dunn Field in 1916, after the new owner, but went back to being called League Park in 1927. League Park always had a slightly strange shape, because the neighboring property owner was unwilling to sell any property, so the right field fence was short. The Cleveland Indians moved to Cleveland Municipal Stadium in 1932, but they continued to play at League Park on the weekends until 1947.  In 1951, League Park was demolished.

Here's what it looks like now. Kind of sad.

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The League Park Society is a non-profit dedicated to bringing baseball back to League Park. As they say on their website: On a spring day a visitor can still walk into this place and see the green grass. They can gaze down the old first base line and just imagine what Babe Ruth felt on August 11, 1929 when he hit his 500th home run over the wall onto Lexington Avenue or stand where Addie Joss throw his perfect game. You can close your eyes and just for a moment or two go back in time. Yes, the brick and mortar may largely be gone but the soul of League Park is still very much alive.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Convair 240

Convair was formed by a merger between Consolidated Aircraft Corporation and Vultee Aircraft. In 1946, they designed the Convair 240, the first twin-engine, pressurized airplane. It had a range of 830 miles, a built-in stairway, and was considered a luxury liner.  American Airlines, PanAm, Western Airlines,  KLM, and other airlines bought these. Initially, the price was $316,000. Although the plane could hold 44 passengers, the seating was normally arranged for 32. This is not the approach that airlines take today, in case you haven't noticed.

Many old airplanes are sent to desert boneyards. Some planes actually fly again and some end up in museums, while others are used for spare parts.  But a lot of them just sit out there and decay. There has been a trend in the last decade to convert shipping containers into housing; an airplane like this seems much more elegant and full of possibilities. I just can't decide if the cockpit should be the living room or the dining room.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

SS Transylvania

In July 1931, Janet sailed off on the SS Transylvania.  If you look closely, you can see where she has designated her cabin on the front of the card.  In 1931, she could have bought passage in first, second, or third class. Here's her message to Mrs. James Bennett:

Thurs a.m.
Everything has been so exciting! I have a very nice cabin and the three other girls are nice too although I have met a New Haven girl I like very much - Have not met the conductor or hostess as yet but will after breakfast. Gifts and letters were being  left for me all afternoon and evening -  but yours were the only flowers. They gave me a real thrill and were packed so beautifully. I even found a large box of assorted nuts when I got in last night and today I see my folks! The sea is rolling a little but I like it so far. Keep well - and thanks for all you did to give me a fine send off -lovingly -Janet

I hope Janet's folks don't mind being mentioned in the same sentence as the box of assorted nuts.

The Transylvania was built in 1925 for the Anchor Line of Glasgow. In 1939, the ship was requisitioned by the Admiralty and converted to an armed merchant cruiser for use in WWII. The HMS Transylvania was torpedoed and sunk in 1940 by a German submarine. The wreck remains upright and nearly intact on the seabed. You can see underwater pictures of it here.

Oddly enough, there was an earlier SS Transylvania passenger liner, built in 1914 by the Anchor Line. Guess what happened to her? Well, she was requisitioned by the Admiralty and used as a troop ship for WWI. She was torpedoed and sunk by a German submarine in 1917. There may be a lesson here; it is either: 1. Don't name your ship the SS Transylvania, or 2. Don't let the military know that you have a passenger liner.  Well, maybe that's not it...what do you think?

Monday, April 5, 2010

Met Life Insurance Calendar

Let's see, I must have 5 cents in stamps around here somewhere. It doesn't say anything about a deadline and I would love to have one of those calendars.

This card was printed in 1907, when the Met Life building was a mere 11 stories tall. Two years later, a new Met Life world headquarters was built on the same spot. The new tower was designed by Napoleon LeBrun and Sons and was the world's tallest building for four years until the Woolworth building was built. It served as Met Life's world headquarters until 2005! The building is designated a national historic landmark.


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