Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Mount Adams Incline - Cincinnati, Ohio

When the architect who steals my covers goes to Cincinnati later this year, he won't see the Mt. Adams Incline, because it's not there anymore. This spectacular funicular was built in 1872, one of five funiculars in Cincinnati and the longest running of any of them.  It was built to connect the downtown with the residential areas on the hill. The Mt. Adams Incline was closed in 1948, even though at the time it was the city's biggest tourist attraction.

Today, there are still some great attractions on the hill, including Eden Park, the Cincinnati Art Museum, a few theaters, and numerous restaurants and bars. It's unfortunate that as in many other cities, car-driven transportation planning worked to effectively fragment the city by building big freeways through the middle of it.  Here's a USGS photo from a website called Cincinnati-transit net, with a yellow line showing the site of the former funicular. The website has lots of great pictures of the Mt. Adams Incline and the other Cincinnati inclines, although it doesn't look as if there have been any  posts recently.

Here's the back of the postcard:

Monday, August 30, 2010

Draw That Bridge - Multnomah Falls

Two weeks ago I posted a card of Multnomah Falls in the Columbia River Gorge near Portland. That card showed the falls before the bridge was built in 1914.  I invited you to submit designs for a bridge. There was one submission, which was terrific, but I can't post it due to copyright issues. It showed the Jantzen bathing suit girl spanning the falls. Very clever, and I wish I could post it, but I understand Jantzen may not want their trademark used that way.  Anyway, as promised here is the card showing the bridge. It's also an old card (from about 1920)  but it doesn't look much different today.
 Here's the pre-bridge card again:

At 620 feet, Multnomah Falls is the highest waterfall in Oregon. The Benson Footbridge was built midway on the falls in 1914., allowing people to cross 105 feet above the lower cascade. It's a beautiful view and a great starting point for a number of hiking trails.

Here's the back of the card:

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Streetcar Sunday - Sayre, Pennsylvania

Sayre, Pennsylvania is located in the Penn-York Valley along with the towns of Athens and Waverly.  The New York-Pennsylvania border cuts through the valley, but there are no physical borders between the three towns, which have seamlessly connecting street grids.  According to Ken Bracken, President of the Sayre Historical Society, the Waverly Sayre & Athens Traction Company provided streetcar service for  the three towns from 1916 until 1930.  Mr. Bracken also mentions that the street looks very much the same today, except for the bank on the corner, which was badly damaged by a gas leak explosion one night in the 1960s.

Sadly, after 1930, there was no public transit for a very long time. Today, the Endless Mountain Transportation Authority provides bus service in the area.

I also would like to mention a great website if you are conducting any history or genealogy research on relatives from Bradford and Tioga Counties in Pennsylvania or Chemung County, New York. Joyce Tice has put together an incredible genealogy and history website for the area.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Camp Upton, N.Y.

The picture above is a real-photo card of Camp Upton, on New York's Long Island. Camp Upton isn't there anymore; in its place you will find Brookhaven National Laboratory. Camp Upton was built hastily in 1917 as an induction and training center for World War I soldiers. One of the soldiers at Camp Upton was Sergeant Irving Berlin who wrote Yip, Yip Yaphank while he was there. The commanding officer at the camp wanted to build a community center at the camp and thought that Berlin could help raise $35,000 to build it with a musical revue. The Yip, Yip Yaphank production included the famous song, Oh! How I hate to get up in the morning, and made $80,000 for the Army, which never built the community center.

The camp was deactivated after World War I, and the land was designated Upton National Forest and  reforested by the Civilian Conservation Corps. With the advent of World War II, the camp was reconstructed and put back into service. Camp Upton was then declared surplus on June 30, 1945, but it was decided that the base would not be dismantled.  Instead, it was converted into a research center for the peaceful uses of atomic power. These are all world War II era cards.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Youngstown, Ohio

Jack from Youngstown, Ohio asked me if I had any postcards from his city. I thought I didn't, but I found one after all, and here it is! You can see from the postcard that railroads played an important role in Youngstown. Not surprising, since it was a center for coal and for steel. These industries drew people from all over the world and led to a diverse ethnic distribution, including Welsh, Irish, German, Eastern Europeans, Italians, Greeks,  Syrians, Lebanese, Israelis, Latin Americans,  and Africans.

The decline of the steel industry in the 1970s meant that Youngstown had to redefine itself and diversify economically. Other cities have had to deal with similar transitions , and it's often very difficult. I hope that Jack will have something to add to this.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Lei Sellers - Honolulu, Hawaii

Never mind the leis, I'd like to have his vintage shirt, please.
There are still lei sellers at the Honolulu Airport, selling some very beautiful leis. If you're flying out of Honolulu, leave a little extra time to go to the outdoor lei sellers. It's just a quick walk outside the terminal. The quality is better and the prices are lower than what you would pay inside the airport.


Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Tracy Has a Son

Well, so it would appear. I have many questions for Tracy, and I wish he were alive to answer them. This card was sent to Master Graham c/o Tracy Graham. Remember when young boys were addressed as Master?  Anyway, the dates seem right for this to be his son. The earlier postcards, presumably from his bachelor years, were dated 1906 and 1910.  Then there's a card addressed to Tracy and his wife from 1913.  So, here it is 1925, and they appear to have at least one child.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Happy Birthday, Brother Walter

May 4. 1916
Dear Brother Walter here is a little girl for your Birthday and many more to come
love from Sister Susan

The Till family seems to have been very close and I have many birthday cards to Walter from his siblings.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Good for What Ails You - Part 2

Another metamorphic trade card (approx. 1880) for your amusement:

Oh, the poor man! But just flip back the bottom of the card and he's cured - and dancing!

I also find it interesting that this card was printed by Donaldson Brothers in Five Points, New York. There is no longer a Five Points, New York. It was such a terrible crime-ridden slum in new York City that it was razed in 1885-95. Five Points had the highest murder rate in New York and in the world. It was swampy and full of crowded tenement housing, insects, and vermin. One tenement building with 1,000 residents was reputed to have an average of one murder a night for 15 years until it was torn down in 1852. The entire area was dominated by rival gangs, including the Bowery Boys. This was also the location of the infamous Tombs prison. Charles Dickens described the area in his 1842 work, American Notes.  Oh, I couldn't help myself; I've gone off on a tangent.  Anyway, I'm not sure why Donaldson Bros. decided to locate there (cheap labor?) but they were a major printer of postcards and trade cards.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Streetcar Sunday - Milwaukee, WI

Not much traffic other than the streetcars in this early photo of Milwaukee, Wisconsin.  Milwaukee had electric streetcars starting in 1890. They operated until 1958. Milwaukee also had interurbans that connected the city with Kenosha, East Troy/Burlington, Watertown, and Sheboygan. The interurban trains had all been replaced with buses by 1947.

This card dates from about 1907. If you're specifically interested in streetcars of Wisconsin, you should check out the Transport Co. Web Station website.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Ezra Meeker and the Oregon Trail

Everything is backwards here. Normally, I start with a postcard and then set out to find the story. In this case I found out about Ezra Meeker and then sought out a postcard.  I visited the Washington State History Museum in Tacoma, where they have Ezra Meeker's wagon on display - the very one you see below. The museum used to have the actual stuffed oxen attached to the wagon too, but I didn't see them when I was there. Just as well.

Ezra is the guy who's standing next to the wagon with the ragged clothing and the white beard. After seeing his covered wagon and learning about him, I became fascinated with the history and decided I had to find an Ezra Meeker postcard. Ezra Meeker originally followed the Oregon Trail out to the Pacific Northwest from Indiana with his wife in 1852. He settled in Puyallup, Washington and grew hops. He also tried his hand at a number of other things, including prospecting for gold and trying to dehydrate fruits and vegetables.

Above all though, Ezra Meeker was concerned that the Oregon Trail, the route traveled by over 400,000 emigrants on foot, on horseback, and in wagons, would disappear and be forgotten. The trip along the 2,000-mile wagon trail took four to six months. It was not an easy journey. Thousands died from disease, Indian attacks, freezing to death, drowning, and even scurvy on their way to settle the West, but the phenomenon of western settlement fed by the Oregon Trail was momentous for North America.  By 1869, the transcontinental railroad had been completed, so there was a viable alternative, but there was also a threat that the Oregon Trail and its importance in the settling of the West would be forgotten.

Meeker made it his personal mission to ensure that the Oregon Trail would not be forgotten. In 1906, at the age of 76, Ezra Meeker loaded up his oxcart and headed East (backwards) on the Oregon Trail in an effort to raise awareness. He gave speeches along the way and sold postcards and souvenirs to cover his expenses. He also erected markers along the trail.

Meeker decided to travel all the way to Washington, D.C. where he met with President Theodore Roosevelt, who was supportive of Meeker's crusade. Along the way, Meeker also drove his covered wagon down 5th Avenue in New York City. (While he was looking for a place to camp, his driver was arrested for driving cattle on a New York City street.) Meeker made the trip again by ox cart in 1910 and made additional trips by car and plane. His later dream was to erect beacons along the Oregon Trail, so that even airplanes would be able to see the route clearly.

Meeker was obviously eccentric, and many considered him a "corn doctor" for selling trinkets and charging admission to see the inside of his wagon, but I admire his relentless dedication to the cause. I am convinced that he used himself to promote the cause rather than the other way around.  Although Meeker's grand dreams for memorializing the Oregon Trail were not as successful as he had hoped, we still have him to thank that the trail is remembered so well today. At the time of his death in 1928, the 98-year-old Meeker was still promoting the Oregon Trail and was in the process of planning another trip by automobile, supported by Henry Ford.

If you like to travel through history with pictures, you won't want to miss Sepia Saturday.

Friday, August 20, 2010

More Fish for Friday

More lovely fish.  Don't forget to read this previous post if you want to know more about the French tradition of April Fish.
The message on the front of this one this one says: With my thoughts to those I cherish. The message on the back is mysterious. Often these cards were sent anonymously and signed "guess who" or something along those lines.  On the left-hand side of the card, the message includes the phrase: Seek and you shall find. 

What's really amusing about the card is the right-hand side which is just the address written out as a comical narrative: Miss Marthe Jamisson who lives with her parents on ___ street in _____ town etc.  The narrative ends with Department unknown, Province - seek and you shall find. (Europe)    I thought at first that it had been hand-delivered, because no postman would put up with that kind of nonsense, but there is a canceled stamp on the front of the card. It seems this postman had a sense of humor.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Boring Hawaii

Hawaii is a beautiful place, so it seems inexcusable to create ugly pictures of the islands, but there are lots of  them:

The fact that the cars are now considered vintage makes them more interesting, but let's face it, this is a postcard of a parking lot in front of a motel. This postcard is from the Hilo Motel on the Big Island. The one below is from the Maui Palms Hotel.
The last one is a view of Kailua, Kona on the Big Island. There's a lot to see there, but you wouldn't know it from the postcard.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Dear Maleficent

This is another one of those cards where the back is of more interest than the front. I wouldn't worry about James Shockley's dog; there's obviously some code language going on here. What could it mean though? Here's the message, sent to Dottie Hilker, in case you can't read it on the card:

Dear Maleficent:
Just to let you know that James Shockley's dog got hit.
Yours Truly
Drusilla + Anastasia

If you think you know what this means, please let me know. Here's the not-so-exciting front of the card:

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

The Girl from Cincinnatus

Very cute postcard, albeit a little murky.  Ruth's uncle should have been pleased to receive this card, although it looks like he had moved out of state without informing his family. Tsk tsk.

The message  to L.D. Wire reads:
Dear Uncle,
I received your post card and I hope that I will get an answer 
When are you coming out to see us all soon.
Your Neice Ruth

And, just as a bit of trivia - Cincinnatus, the town the card was sent from, was part of the Central New York Military Tract, the land used to compensate soldiers for service in the American Revolution.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Draw That Bridge #2 - Multnomah Falls

Back in December of last year I had a couple of posts on the Golden Gate Bridge. The first post showed the Golden Gate before the bridge was built. I invited you to draw the missing bridge,  and there were a couple of very good ideas. Click here to see them. If you missed that opportunity, here's another chance.

Here we are in the Columbia River Gorge near Portland, Oregon sometime prior to 1914.  Multnomah Falls really could use a bridge. Look at the poor man wading out into the water! He could be swept to his death at any time unless you step in with your life-saving bridge design. I will post a card showing the actual bridge two weeks from today, along with your submissions if there are any.

You can download this scan and draw on it or edit it electronically, or you can draw your own. Then,  email your submission to me at this address. And remember, your design does not have to resemble what was actually built.  Just make sure to send it to me (preferably as a jpg file) by August 28th, 2010.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Streetcar Sunday - The Hague, Netherlands

A horse-drawn trams system started transporting passengers in The Hague in 1864.  After that, there were also electric trams and a steam-powered tramway between The Hague and Scheveningen, a beach resort.  This card from about 1910 shows a tram passing by the famous Ridderzaal.

The Hague is the seat of government in the Netherlands, but it is not the capital (that would be Amsterdam.) This always strikes me as very odd, and I can't think of another country where the two roles are split between different cities, can you? The Hague is also the judicial capital of the United Nations.

Today, The Hague has as extensive network of electric trams, although there is no longer one operating on this side of the Ridderzaal. There is also a  Public Transport Museum in The Hague, housed in a beautiful old tram depot.

Here's a postcard I received recently from Fred, who lives in The Hague. The Ridderzaal is shown in the upper left-hand corner.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Life is Tentative

One American postcard and one French postcard. What they both have in common is a sense of uncertainty.

Note that in the upper right-hand corner of the photo there is part of a sign:
It appears to say: plusieurs appartements et logement à louer or several apartments and lodgings to rent.

Here are the backs of the cards in the same order.

Don't forget to check out  all the other Sepia Saturday posts for a real treat.

Friday, August 13, 2010

French Fish Friday

I just realized that it's been ages since I posted a French Poisson d'Avril card, so it's high time I posted some more. Be sure to click here to see an earlier post that explains all about the origins of the April 1 fish. And, if you are as captivated as I am by these fish, there are 9 other posts here on the subject.

The card's message reads:
You would know the reasons we are sending you these fish.
And don't you love that the woman is labeled as Louisa and the man's fish is labeled Urbain. Very cute.

Here's another gem:

Thursday, August 12, 2010

More on Tracy Graham

No exciting news on these cards, except that now we know that Tracy's wife was called Lizzie - and that they had a niece named Anita. If you read the previous posts on Tracy Graham, you know that he was likely a real character.

I continue to dig through the cards, looking for more news on Tracy and his family.  The problem is that I very efficiently sorted the cards by events, holidays, and other categories. I realized, only too late, that I had separated a bunch of cards from one family or another that really should have been kept together. Many of the cards themselves are not that special; the family history and interactions are of more interest. The New Year's card was sent in 1913. There is no date on the other one.

The message reads:
Best wishes for a Happy New year to Uncle Tracy and Aunt Lizzie from their little Anita.

The message reads:
"The Season's Greetings."


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