Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Central City, Colorado

Central City was a gold-rush town, founded in 1859, the same year a gold-bearing vein was found in Gregory Gulch. The town's population quickly grew from 598 in 1860 to 2,360 in 1870.  Many Chinese lived and worked in Central City during the gold rush, but most returned to China afterward.  The population peaked in 1900 at 3,114, and then diminished rapidly after that as the gold was exhausted. In 1980, the population of Central City was only 329.

There are still some historic buildings in Central City, such as the Central City Opera House, which once hosted Buffalo Bill and Lillian Gish.  If you'd like to read more about Central City and its history, visit the Legends of America website.

The architect who steals my covers visited Central City in the 1980s. He said it was a beautiful place, albeit a ghost town. Gambling was introduced in the 1990s, bringing with it a lot of ugliness, including tour buses, traffic jams, and a four-lane parkway to transport gamblers from the Interstate. Tragically, the building height limitations on undeveloped land have also been eliminated, presumably to encourage the development of more casinos.  Previously the limitation was 53 feet, so as not to overshadow the quality of the historic town.

Here's another card, probably from the 1940s:

The back of the first card, the real-photo card, is very light, but the EKC on the stamp box indicates it was printed sometime between 1930 and 1950.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Longacre Square, Times Square - New York

Longacre Square, originally the home of many carriage makers, was named after London's Long Acre Street, which was the center of the carriage-making trade in London.  In April of 1904, the name was changed to Times Square in honor of the Times Building which was being built there.  Building began on the Times Building in 1903 and was completed in 1905. The picture for this card was taken from the Times Building, so it would have been published in 1903 to early 1904, since at that time it was still called Longacre Square.

Here's the same view circa 1950:

The message written to George Olney in 1954 says:
Hi George -
Hope you had a good time, + maybe you can tell the other kids about it.
Loving Uncle Tom

And here's a view of the famous building that precipitated the name change:
The card was sent to Hazel Hare in McCook, Nebraska in1906:

Monday, June 28, 2010

Football, Soccer, and Pigs

I won't say why I'm posting this, but you can form your own opinion. The message on the card says:
Technique is not enough alone, for success you also need luck.
There is a German expression: to have pig means to have luck. That's where the pig comes in here.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Streetcar Sunday - Istanbul, Turkey

The history of the streetcar in Istanbul is not so different from that of many North American cities. The first streetcar service in Istanbul started in 1872 as horse-drawn trams.  Horse-drawn service was halted for a year, because the horses were needed for the Balkan War. That served as the impetus to electrify the system, which happened in 1914. After that, streetcar service quickly became the most popular mode of transportation, reaching its peak in 1956, with 108 million passengers, 56 lines, and 270 streetcars. By then, cars and buses also began to compete with the streetcars though.

If I haven't mentioned it already, I think the demise of the streetcar was largely due to a perception that it was antiquated. Buses seemed modern and more sophisticated at the time. The ride was also smoother, particularly in Istanbul, where  the streetcars had not been updated since the original cars from 1912. As a result, the streetcar network was closed down in the 1960s in favor of buses.

Similar to many North American cities, streetcars have returned to Istanbul. There is the nostalgia streetcar that looks like the ones shown on the postcards, and there are also very modern sleek ones in Istanbul now. 

For more detailed information check out the great Wikipedia page for public transport in Istanbul.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Chi Omega Sorority - University of Oregon

I have posted a number of photo postcards and cabinet cards of unknown people, but never any that included my own family. For a change, I'll post one that does. Here we have the Chi Omega sorority at the University of Oregon in about 1954:
A nice group of wholesome girls. Any resemblance to the Belles of St. Trinian's is purely coincidental, although the movie was made in exactly that year, so it does make you wonder.

Which one's related to me? Well, the blond one in the back holding the plunger over her sorority sister's head is Betty, my mother. The only other one I know anything about is Allison LaRue (originally Leroux, and now McKay), who was is an actress and a dancer. She was also the Plumber's wife on the old Liquid Plumr ads. But my mother is holding the plunger; perhaps she should have been in those ads.

Last year, there was a post on The Lost Oregon Blog entitled Where Have You Gone Allison LaRue? I saw the post and thought the name sounded familiar, so I passed it on to my mother. As a result, there's an exchange of comments and some pictures on that blog, which is a very interesting site by any measure.
By the way, this post is part of a fun event called Sepia Saturday. Click here to see a wonderful assortment of old photos and read the compelling stories that accompany them.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Dr. Horrible's Sing Along Blog

I picked up this card in one of the local shops, and had every intention of going to the production. Unfortunately, the next time I picked up the card, the performances were all over.  I'm sorry I missed it, but I look forward to checking out a future performance by Blue Monkey Theater.
The card inspired me to find out more about Dr. Horrible and his video blog though.  It turns out that Dr. Horrible's  Sing Along Blog is a short musical video produced exclusively for internet distribution in 2008. Am I the only one who had never heard of it?  The story revolves around the lovable aspiring super-villain, Dr Horrible, his nemesis Captain Hammer, and their mutual love interest, Penny.

The Whedon brothers (writer/directors, and a composer) and Maurissa Tancharoen produced this gem during the WGA writers' strike. They wanted to produce something inexpensive, yet professional, that would also circumvent the issues that were at the heart of the strike. The short film ended up receiving numerous awards. Neil Patrick Harris (remember Doogie Howser?) does a great job as Dr. Horrible.

You can download it off iTunes, but not quite for free from the official Dr. Horrible site.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Victor Bicycles - Overman Wheel Co. - Part 3

This is the last day of three for the Victor Bicycles advertising booklet. Just a few more pictures. This is the back cover of the booklet:

It seems that buying a Victor bicycle ensured that repairs were quick and easy. Look at all of the equipment you need to repair the other bike! If only those people had had the sense to buy a Victor bike. Speaking of equipment, these football players aren't wearing any helmets.

And the female tennis players might be surprised to see what Venus Williams wears when she plays tennis.


Run fox, run!

Although I couldn't determine who created these beautiful illustrations, I did notice that this particular booklet was stamped B.E. Pudney, Bicycle Agency, Sidney, New York. What's interesting to me about that is that B.E. Pudney was also a postcard publisher.  Perhaps B.E. got caught up in the cycling craze along with everyone else. I found a New York Times article from 1895, that listed the names of cyclists suspended by the League of American Wheelmen for competing in unsanctioned events on the Sabbath. Some of them were suspended for as long as two years! The article also listed race meets for which sanctions had been granted, including one on September 12th, sponsored by B.E. Pudney.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Victor Bicycles - Overman Wheel Co. - Part 2

This is a continuation of yesterday's post on the Victor Bicycling advertisement booklet by the Overman Wheel Co. There will be more tomorrow too!
Here are some of the beautiful illustrations:

I can't find any indication of who created the beautiful illustrations. No credits and no signature or initials.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Victor Bicycles - Overman Wheel Co.

We're taking a break from postcards for the next three days. Instead, let's look at an antique bicycle advertising booklet from the late 1800s.  Here's the front cover:

Inside are many additional beautiful color pictures and sepia illustrations with music.

The illustration below shows "Victoria - Queen of Safeties", which is a reference to safety bicycles.  The safety bicycle replaced the penny-farthing design, which had a big front wheel and was prone to catapulting the rider over the handlebars. The new design made cycling safer and much more appealing for women and men alike, and helped to create the cycling craze of the 1890s.

Throughout the booklet, bicyclists are shown in association with other outdoor sports, including swimming, rowing, sailing, baseball, football, lacrosse, tennis, and hunting.

From 1883 until 1901,  Albert H. Overman's Wheel Co. manufactured the Victor bicycle. From what I can tell, the business did well for a number of years. Victor bicycles were a major player in the bicycle craze at the end of the century. But in 1901 Overman Wheel Co. was declared insolvent, and Overman lost his entire investment.

More illustration and information from this advertising booklet in tomorrow's post.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Fire Engines and Fire Hydrants - Elmira, New York

The distinctive American-La France fire engines are still around today. The headquarters and manufacturing were located in Elmira, New York until the mid 1990s;  now they are located in South Carolina.  I am not a big fan of motorized vehicles in general, but some of the old fire engines are really very beautiful. It's not surprising that there are fire engine enthusiasts, but you may be surprised to know that there is a national organization called the Society for the Preservation and Appreciation of Antique Motor Fire Apparatus in America (SPAAMFAA) with about 50 chapters nationwide! You too could be a member and probably get a great t-shirt.

The Kennedy Valve Co., founded in 1877, manufactured fire hydrants and was also located in Elmira (and still is!)  Elmira was the one-stop-shopping place for all of your fire-fighting needs. If you didn't think fire hydrants could be beautiful and interesting, take a look at this page from the fire hydrant website. You will notice that the pictured hydrants are marked by location, with some designated as being in a private collection. Yes, there are people who collect fire hydrants. I don't have any desire to collect them, but since I looked at this card, I started paying a little bit more attention to them and noticed that several of the hydrants in our neighborhood in Oregon were manufactured by the Kennedy Valve Co. in Elmira. Unfortunately, now my neighbors have seen me taking pictures of fire hydrants and are probably convinced I've lost my mind. The relentless Oregon rain will do that; I'm not even sure we need fire hydrants here.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Streetcar Sunday - Seattle, Washington

Seattle had horse-drawn streetcars on unpaved streets as early as 1884, but only five years later, Seattle was the first West Coast city to convert to electric streetcars. Streetcar service was booming then, but already started declining in the 1920s. In 1939, interurban train service between Seattle and Everett was suspended. Seattle residents wanted to retain streetcar service, but the financing was allegedly blocked by automakers. And in 1941, the last Seattle streetcar completed its final run.

Like many other cities, Seattle looked at reintroducing streetcar service. As early as 1974, City Councilman George Benson proposed a streetcar line. It was discussed for a long time, and service was re-introduced in 1982, with additional expansions since then. To find out more about the current system, visit Seattle Streetcar.

Here's the back of the card:
Here's another view of Pioneer Place in Seattle:

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Grand Island, Nebraska

The City of Grand Island really was once an island between the Wood and North Platte rivers. The settlement was moved north of the Platte River in the late 1800s, but the name was retained.

Some of the buildings shown on this postcard are still standing, including the Hotel Yancey, which is now the Yancey Condominiums, but the street seems to have lots some of its liveliness and charm. On the other hand, I do wonder how many of those figures in the first postcard were really there. Notice how they all look the same?

View Larger Map

Friday, June 18, 2010

Tracy the Troublemaker

Remember Tracy? No, of course you don't, but I suspect he was a real character. I  have a number of postcard addressed to him. Click here for a link to the previous one, where it appears he had been trying to fix a ballgame. And here's another one below, postmarked February, 1906.  Oh, Tracy, what have you done?
Hmmm, no indication of who sent it.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Herford, Germany

Herford is a city of 65,000 in the North Rhine-Westphalia region of Germany that was originally founded by Charlemagne in 789. The city still has some buildings dating from the 11th and 12th centuries, but it also has a contemporary art museum designed by Frank Gehry. This card is most interesting to me because of its varied fonts and writing styles.

The message on the front of the card is written in old German script, by someone who was accustomed to writing on the front of the cards due to early postal regulations that allowed nothing other than the address on the back of the card.  This card has a place for the message, which is blank. I struggle with old German script, but it appears to be a simple happy birthday greeting from grandma. 

The address was likely written by someone else, since the handwriting is different. On top of that, Postkarte is printed in a very distinctive art nouveau or Jugendstil style, while the text below is an old German Fraktur font. The front of the card has a modern font along with another one that I don't recognize. It's just all a strange intersection of old and new styles. It looks like the card was sent in 1907.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Biarritz, France - Part 2

The Rock of the Virgin in Biarritz, France was named after the statue of the Virgin Mary that was placed there in 1865.  It was Napoleon III who decided to make a tunnel through the rock and have it connect to the shore via a bridge.  The original bridge was wood, but the current bridge is a metal one built by Gustave Eiffel of Eiffel-Tower fame.

In bad weather you can't cross the bridge, because the waves crash into it, although that didn't seem to stop these people:
The last card was mailed from Madrid on December 30th, 1911 to Madame Marie de Vignier in care of R.M. de Vignier. The message reads:
Many thanks dear Marie for your New Year's wishes, which we sincerely reciprocate. Remember us to Fernand and all of your children. Yours sincerely, your cousin and friend
Therese M. Vignier

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Biarritz, France - Part 1

Maybe I'll visit Biarritz one day. In a way I don't want to because I'm afraid it won't be as magical as what I imagine from these postcards. The city of Biarritz is on the south-western coast of France near the border with Spain.  If you think Biarritz doesn't look like a French name, you would be right; it's Basque. Biarritz may be located in France, but it is also in the heart of Basque territory.

Biarritz was a whaling town as early as the 12th century, but it was recognized as a resort destination by the 18th century.  In 1854, Empress Eugenie (Napoleon III's wife) built a palace here, which is now the Hotel du Palais , where the nightly room rate ranges from about 400 Euros per night to 1,500.  If I were going to spend that much money on a hotel room I would do it here. Over the years, Biarritz has attracted the rich and famous, including the British royal family (as in Victoria), exiled Russian royals, the Hapsburg family, and celebrities such as Coco Chanel, Charlie Chaplin, Pablo Picasso,  and Ernest Hemingway. There is also a casino in Biarritz, which is the building shown on the postcard above.

I should also mention that Biarritz is a popular surfing destination. Actress Deborah Kerr's husband Peter Viertel is credited with bringing the first surfboard to France and introducing surfing to Europe. He was purportedly so impressed by the waves in Biarritz that he called for a surfboard to be sent to him from California. It must have been magical for him to have all of those waves to himself.

The card below shows the Cathedral  of Saint Eugenie.

More cards of Biarritz tomorrow!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Flag Day!

Flag Day is celebrated on June 14th, although it is not an official holiday. In 1916, President Woodrow Wilson issued the proclamation to designate June 14th as Flag Day. U.S. Citizens commemorate the day by flying the flag for the week and by having parades. And then of course there are postcards:

The message sent to Louisa Rose in 1918 appears to say:
On my way to camps Tue
Jos Kehrles

This card was sent to Master Howard Gibbons in Binghamton, New York, but I just can't make out the message.


Related Posts with Thumbnails