Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Huddersfield, England

I just came across these postcards this last weekend. I felt an immediate sense of recognition, although I've never been to Huddersfield or anywhere in Yorkshire for that matter. I am only familiar with Huddersfield, because I know that's where Alan of News from Nowhere  fame lives.

Anything I told you about Huddersfield would just be rehashed from Wikipedia, but I will tell you that this park is still there and appears to be popular. One of the park's most popular events is an annual Caribbean Carnival. I don't know who came up with that idea, but I think it would be a nice gesture if folks in the Caribbean reciprocated with a Yorkshire Festival of some kind.

I like this second card very much. The scan may not show the metallic quality of this silver print, so you'll just have to take my word for it.

There appears to be a sign on the left for Marshall's Pianos and a hotel on the right the ____ Imperial Hotel. Of course, the first thing I did was to get on Google street view and go for a little walk around the area. New Street is still there, but it seems to feed into lots of other interesting streets, so off I went. When you walk with Google, you walk down the middle of the road. That may be why this poor lady looks the way she does. What happened to her legs? Do you think I should call a virtual ambulance? And look at all the Sumo wrestlers in the windows!

View Larger Map

These walks down the middle of the road are particularly disconcerting when you forget that the Brits drive on the left-hand side. I feel lucky to have survived this virtual adventure.  I walked briskly into a dead-end street, turned around, ended up at a massive bus station and then decided to head out to the countryside on Ashes Lane. It was so green and beautiful, and I was captivated by the stone walls. I may have to visit for real some day.

Here are the backs of the cards in the same order. Sadly, no messages.

Monday, May 30, 2011

For the Fate of a Soldier...

On Memorial Day we commemorate the soldiers who lost their lives in battle. Let's also remember the families who lost someone they loved.

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

Friday, May 27, 2011

Venice, Italy

Here is another postcard from the former collection of the Walker & Weeks architecture firm. I imagine that they traveled all over Europe, collecting postcards of buildings that inspired them.

Here we have the beautiful Piazza San Marco and a similar view many years later. Yours truly, striking a pose.

And then the Piazetta - and the same approximate view on a less sunny day.

Did we forget to smile? Were they sold out of gelato at the corner store? Were the pigeons attacking someone? Oh, what could be the matter? Will someone please help these people!
Tired of looking at pigeons? You may want to go check out dogs and cats at Sepia Saturday.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Just Arrived and Feeling Fine

The message sent to Miss Sarah Denney in 1915 reads:

My Dear sis hope you are fine we all are. Pa got home ok! is going over to Alices this after noon guess you will have a sleigh ride when you come home, it is snowing hard. I aint got My sat-days work done yet and it is 1 oc. I will rite you a letter by Monday and send Hellen a card Pa will be down by Tuesday I think every thing is fine up here good luck your sis
Mrs. Marvin Price

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Broadway - Portland, Oregon

This section of Broadway in Portland has never been my favorite.  It seems stark and traffic oriented, although it looks a little more appealing in this early 1900s view. On the left, you see the Hotel Oregon, which no longer exists. An annex was built onto the Hotel Oregon in 1913, and was initially called the New Oregon Hotel and later the Benson Hotel. In 1959, the original Hotel Oregon was demolished to make way for a new addition to the Benson Hotel.

At the time this postcard was printed, the U.S. National Bank Building (below on the right) had not yet been built.  It was completed in 1917,with major additions in 1925. A.E. Doyle, the building's architect, was a devoted classicist who also designed Portland's Central Public Library, the Meier & Frank Building, the Lipman Building, the original Reed College buildings, and the Benson Hotel.
Here's the modern view:

View Larger Map

And here's the back of the card, with a message to Viola in Grant's Pass, Oregon that reads:
Dear Viola
Thanks for the seeds. I shall look patiently for the pretty flowers. I do think Asters are such choice flowers. Haven't heard from your mother since she left guess she is having the time of her life. I guess Vada is pretty well considering.  _______will have another job with time. Celia

The Royal Infirmary - Manchester, England

Although it's small, you can see a double-deck tram on the left. One of the things I appreciate about this card is that it was sent from Manchester, England to Manchester, New Hampshire in the United States. The infirmary had recently been moved to its new location when this card was sent in 1908.

The message to P.N. Champion reads:

The King is coming to open this place next July. Sincerely Yours
JJ 2145
Good Bye

King Edward the VII did indeed open the building. It sustained quite a bit of damage during World War II, but there have been a number of additions since then too.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Central Bus Depot - Portland, Oregon

I bought this card for several reasons: 1. It makes a bus depot look stylish. 2. It's in Portland, where I live 3. The message on the back is typed. It's not that I don't like handwriting, but there's something amusing about a typed postcard - and typing allows the sender to write a longer message. And, of course, it's so easy to read.

The depot was there until 2000, although at that point it was no longer used as a bus depot. The building became the venue for various nightclubs after a new bus depot was built in the 1980s. Over the years, it gradually became fairly seedy and was eventually slated for demolition.  Chuck Palahniuk, author of Fight Club,  also wrote a book entitled Fugitives and Refugees: A Walk In Portland, Oregon, where he recounts a late-night illicit party in the abandoned depot building. He describes how people rolled bowling balls down makeshift lanes of votive candles. Instead of bowling pins, the targets were china and  knick-knacks from junk stores. He also describes running through tunnels that connected the bus lube pits.

The card was sent to Corporal Lute H. Defrieze during World War II when he was stationed at Camp Adair, just north of Corvallis, Oregon. Part of Camp Adair is now a wildlife area, and another part of is the city of Adair Village, with a population of about 1,000.

The sender, F.K.M., had an office in the Lumbermen's Building, which is now on the National Register of Historic Places and known as the Oregon Trail Building. It's about five blocks up the street from where the bus depot used to stand.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Marienplatz, Munich - Germany

These postcards show streetcars running through Munich's main square. The main square was a market place already in the Middle Ages, and is still a hopping place, particularly since it's now a pedestrian zone. There are no longer streetcars running through the square, but you can descend the stairs to the underground U-Bahn station and connect to local subway routes and longer distance S-Bahn to the suburbs and the airport.  The main train station is only a few stops away from Marienplatz, and from there you can connect to long-distance trains to destinations throughout Europe.

Friday, May 20, 2011

The Ailing Professor

This lovely card was sent to me by Lily Hydrangea of the Long Island Daily Photo. She and her family stopped at the Brattle Book Shop in Boston, where in addition to books there were lots of old postcards. They collectively debated over which postcard to send me and finally agreed on this one. It's especially amusing and touching because I have never met Lily or her family before, but she had read my blog and thought I would appreciate the card.  And she was right. You can read her post about the bookshop here.

There's something so bucolic about all of these people relaxing in the park. I wonder if they were listening to a band or simply conversing.

The back of the card has an intriguing message.

The message sent to Marinda Locke in 1923 reads:
Martha's Vineyard
Dear Marilockie:
We start on our homeward trip tomorrow and by Friday afternoon I shall be telephoning to know how you and our professor are. My love to you both and to your dear brave mother. K.L.B.

I found some information in the Mount Holyoke College archives that may help to explain this message: Marinda Adams Locke graduated from Mount Holyoke College in 1893. She worked at various schools before becoming a nurse in 1898. Thereafter she worked at a hospital in Boston, Massachusetts. It sounds as if she never married.

Her sister Adelaide Locke also graduated from Mount Holyoke (1892) - and from the Hartford Theological Seminary (1896). She taught Biblical History at Wellesley, and according to the book In Adamless Eden: The Community of Women Faculty at Wellesley by Patricia Ann Palmieri, she lived with her mother.
So, why does the message refer to the 'dear brave mother'? Well, it seems that her daughter the professor was probably in ill health, since she died the following year. Presumably Marinda was there to help with nursing duties. Marinda lived until 1951.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Building Around the River

Many cities are built on or across rivers. It's always interesting to see how various cities deal with the river and making it part of the city.

Often, industrial and warehouse districts were located along the riverfront, making it a fairly unappealing place. Freeways were also often located along the riverbank, which meant that residents could not reach the riverfront, but could only look at it from afar. Although it's a difficult process to undo, many cities decided to reclaim their riverfront property for waterfront parks and commercial uses.

And then there's Columbus, Ohio. Are there other cities like this? There was a big flood in Columbus, Ohio in 1913. After that, city leaders decided to widen the river and build retaining walls, based on a recommendation from the Army Corps of Engineers. During the building boom of the 1920s, the Civic Center was built on both sides of the river. It strikes me as very unusual and ahead of its time.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Callander, Onatario, Canada

Callander, Ontario was formerly known as North Himsworth, but the mayor remarked that no one knows where North Himsworth is, so the name was changed to Callander. I don't know how much of a difference the name change made, but I do know that the Dionne quintuplets were born just outside of Callander in 1934, just a few years before this card was sent. They must have been a big sensation there at the time, but the sender didn't mention them. His mind was on other things.

Callander currently has a population of approximately 3,300. When this postcard was sent, there were some good fishing spots nearby. May still be the case. There's supposed to be a good supply of Walleye at Lake Nipissing.

The message on the card, sent to Mr. and Mrs. Delbert Cain on August 18, 1937 reads:
Dear Folks,
Pulled in to North Bay early this evening. 688 mi   Hoping to catch a lot of fish. How did you like her looks?
Ervan  (?)

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Tampa, Florida

Newberry's, a Kress store, great old cars, a streetcar...what more could you want?

Monday, May 16, 2011

Pacific Grove, California

Pacific Grove is a charming little town on California's Monterey Peninsula, near Pebble Beach, Monterey, and Carmel. The beach at Pacific Grove still looks very much like this.

The swimming pool was located directly above the beach. Note the red lanterns hanging above the pool and down below towards the beach; that's an indication that they were probably getting ready for the annual Feast of Lanterns, a tradition since 1905.  The festival is hard to describe. In the past it has had a hokey small-town flavor to it, which made it really fun. There is a play, a pageant, a pet parade, and fireworks. Years ago it was a small enough event that you always ran into people you knew. I'm not sure that's the case anymore.

The festival is meant to honor the former Chinese residents of the area. From the 1850s until 1906, Chinese immigrants lived in a little fishing village along the water, not far from here.  The fishermen were very successful, hauling in lots of abalone, squid, and fish. Their success, the value of the land, and anti-Chinese sentiments made them a natural target. In 1906, their village burned down, and they were then evicted by the landholder. Although there is no record of how the fire started, Pacific Grove residents stood by and cheered as the fire erupted. At least 170 Chinese were displaced by the fire.

The festival is a fun event. I would probably enjoy it more if I didn't relate it to the actual history - and the Feast of Lanterns play, a reenactment of the "Legend of the Blue Willow" is a little cringeworthy, with  Caucasians dressed up as Asians, and plenty of stereotypes.  In recent years Pacific Grove has also made efforts to officially commemorate the fire and the people who were displaced by it, including walking tours of the former village site.

Friday, May 13, 2011

That Baby Ruined Everything

I wasn’t there when this French family was photographed in their garden. I don’t know them either, but I think I have a sense of what was going on. Allow me to take some liberties with the reconstruction.

On the very left you have Bernadette who is married to Alphonse, sitting on the opposite side. They are the parents of Margaux (second from the left) and Maurice, who is standing.  While the parents seem relatively carefree, their children appear somewhat somber and a little tense.  Margaux has been unhappy ever since her fiancée broke off their engagement. Her sadness inspires her to surround her eyes with dark makeup so she can look as sad as she feels. She holds her parents, who didn’t approve of her suitor, partially responsible for her great sorrow.

Maurice’s family is seated at the table.  His wife Hélène is calm, but Maurice tensely anticipates an outburst of some kind from one of his children, a joyous flailing and high-pitched screaming from baby Pascal, or a crying temper tantrum from his daughter, Gabrielle.

Gabrielle enjoyed a blissful existence until recently.  Her curls, her soft brown eyes, and her adorable pout were the object of universal adoration. Everything she did was worthy of praise and admiration or at least attention of some kind. Life was so good. At least until that baby came along. It may not have helped that the baby was a boy. All of a sudden everyone’s attention was focused on the adorable apple-cheeked Pascal and his constant needs. Poor Gabrielle.

Here's the back of the card, which should have the names written on it, but doesn't. If you feel sad like Gabrielle,  a visit to Sepia Saturday is sure to cheer you up.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

The Guide to Gracious Living

We interrupt this postcard blog to bring you an announcement from our sponsor, The Guide to Gracious Living, also known as Amy Vanderbilt's Etiquette. I know - it's a book, not a postcard. Don't even think about complaining though, because I'm sure there's a section in the book somewhere that addresses such things as being improper.  This book is extremely helpful in a number of situations, including how to entertain if you have only one maid.

There are also many stylish illustrations.

Say, I wonder who drew those?

Yes, that's the same Andy Warhol who did the bright Marilyn Monroe paintings. He didn't even get top billing here, but then he was just starting out.

Here's a nice menu to help you plan your formal dinner.

Even back in 1956, the1893 Chateau de la Grange must have been a tall order.

Here's one final illustration:

Iconic New York

Never mind the Empire State Building, the Flatiron Building is the ultimate icon of New York.  Or is it the Brooklyn Bridge? Or the Statue of Liberty?  Well, my vote is for the Flatiron Building, but if you ask me tomorrow I may have a different answer.

This is from the set of tiny  (1.75" x 2.75") cards, one of which I featured recently (the Brooklyn Bridge.) Although the Flatiron is my favorite, the others are also nice.

The Empire State Building would look more impressive if they hadn't cut the top off. This probably should have been a vertical shot.

And here's another view of the Brooklyn Bridge, this time from below.

And finally, the George Washington Bridge.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Happy Pickelhauben to You

Here's a great real-photo card of German soldiers wearing the Pickelhaube. That's the name of those ornate spiked helmets worn by Prussians and then other German military in the 19th and early 20th century. For formal occasions, various plumes could be attached to the finial to create an impressive ceremonial appearance.
The problem was that these impressive helmets weren't well suited for combat. Often they were made from leather with metal added only as a decoration. They didn't cover much of the head either and they were heavy. It's fairly evident that they were designed mostly as a fashion statement, when you consider that cloth covers for the helmets became standard issue in 1892. Why? Well, to protect them from dirt - and also because the highly reflective nature of the helmets made the soldiers wearing them very easy to spot.

Later, when World War I broke out, it was quickly discovered that the helmets were a serious liability for trench warfare. They didn't protect the wearer from shrapnel - and I'm sure you can just picture a line of the spikes sticking up from a foxhole. This lack of utility led to their replacement by unattractive steel helmets.

This card was sent in 1912 by Ulrich Baumann (?), who may well be one of the soldiers pictured on the front of the card. He sent the birthday greeting to Miss von Lorenz, who was staying with her excellency, Frau von Hugo, the wife of Major von Hugo, the German Military Attaché to Paris. It was sent to Pomerania, which was probably a vacation destination rather than their year-round residence. The postmark indicates that the card was sent from the Elsenborn Übungsplatz, a military training facility. Click here to see another card sent to Frau von Hugo.

Monday, May 9, 2011

City Patchwork

I've always loved looking out of airplane windows to see the patchwork quilt below. It's interesting  to speculate what the different patches are, but it's also fun to look at the overall pattern as abstract art.


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