Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Hendersonville, North Carolina

Here are some views from a postcard folder of Hendersonville, North Carolina. No hurricanes in sight, but I'm not sure I like they way FDR is looking at those young women.

The historic Skyland Hotel is still standing, but it's now condos/apartments. You can rent one for about $500 per month. Here's a description of Hendersonville. It may be a little dated, but I love that they use the word salubrious in the text. How often does anyone say salubrious anymore?

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Keokuk, Iowa

Here are some views from a postcard folder of Keokuk, Iowa. Today the town has a population of about 10,400, with lots of historic buildings and attractions.

Here's a view of Main Street, which looks very much the same today, except for the cars.

And here's a great view of the generator room at the power plant.

Here's a view of the Union Depot in better days. It's still standing, but has fallen into disrepair. The City of Keokuk bought the building in 2010 for $1 so they could add it to the National Historic Register, making it eligible for federal preservation grants.

The Hotel Iowa, built in 1913, is also still standing and was renovated in 2006.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Shepherd of The Hills

This postcard folder  from Branson, Missouri was postmarked in 1925. It has lots of pictures of Marvel Cave. I won't bore you with those, but I will show you the much more interesting views from Shepherd of the Hills. The card doesn't tell you anything about Shepherd of the Hills. I think it's assumed that you already know. I didn't.

In the pictures below, we see the postmaster and Uncle Matt and Aunt Mollie, parents of young Matt. Apparently, you are already supposed to know who young Matt is, because no explanation is provided.  It turns out that this all refers to a book called The Shepherd of the Hills, written in 1907 by Harold Bell Wright. Years later the book was made into a movie starring John Wayne. The story is loosely based on the residents of the area, presumably including Uncle Matt and Aunt Mollie. You can find out more about the book here. Re-enactments of the story have been produced in Branson since 1960.

Here's another photo of Ike, the postmaster.

And here's the back of the folder.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Durban, South Africa

Here's an early view of the beach promenade in Durban, South Africa. I spent a year in South Africa many years ago. Although I didn't live in Durban, I did visit some friends there. It didn't look a bit like this picture, much more developed.

In Durban and also in Johannesburg, I visited what we called a witch doctor's shop. I'm not sure that's an accurate description, but in both cases the proprietor sold remedies and potions made from both plant and animal products, which were supposed to cure ailments, bring you good health, good luck, break spells, etc.
Here's are a couple of snapshots I took in the Durban shop.

Note the cash register on the left. And in the photo below, the cashier is ready to ring up the purchase.  What was the purchase? Well, there were lots of exciting things we could have bought, but we were very young with little money to spend.  About the only thing we could afford was a dung ball. Yep, that's one of those cute little spherical balls of elephant dung rolled by a dung beetle. Our instructions were to pinch off part of the ball, roll it into a little wick, attach it to the top of the ball and light it for good luck.  It's hard to say if it worked or not.

On another occasion, a friend of mine went to a witch doctor's shop in Johannesburg to buy some 'love potion' for a friend in the United States. The doctor took one look at him and said, "Oh, love potion...for you? Extra Strong!" I guess he thought my skinny white friend needed a lot of help.  When my friend returned to the United States, he gave the potion to the woman who had requested it. The tiny bottle sat on her shelf for several years unopened, until one day she decided to dab some on before going to a party.  She didn't break out in a rash, which is what I would have expected, but she did meet the man she would later marry at that party. A coincidence, no doubt, but it made for a good story.

If you'd like to learn more about the dung beetle (and who doesn't?), you can watch them in action on this National Geographic Video.
Be sure to check out Sepia Saturday this week dung at all there.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Greetings from the Cemetery

I understand the reasons for sending a postcard from a hospital or a school, but who would send a postcard from a cemetery?  I would expect the message to read: "Just buried Uncle Bob. We would have invited you to the funeral, but the weather was hot so we had to get it done quickly."
Nope, people just used them to send regular old greetings, with no reference to the cemetery at all.
Here are two cemeteries in Pennsylvania, one in Lancaster and one in Lewisburg.

I like the separate in and out gates and the strangely-pruned shrubs. Greenwood Cemetery, modeled after Victorian cemeteries, looks like a beautiful place for a leisurely walk. President James Buchanan is buried here.

The one below looks more like a park than a cemetery from this viewpoint. Several famous major-league baseball players are buried her, including Walter Allen "Heavy' Blair, Christopher 'Big Six' Mathewson, and Harry Elwood 'Moose' McCormick.

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

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Can't Get Enough of El Paso

Here are some more views from yesterday's El Paso, Texas postcard folder, starting with the back of the folder.

When I was looking at colleges, nobody suggested that I could enroll at the College of Mines, but by then it was already called Texas Western College. Now it's called the University of Texas El Paso.

This building is still standing and looks better in photos than it does in this postcard folder.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

El Paso, Texas

Nellie M.H. King Taylor sent this wonderful postcard folder to Mrs. John Decker in Meeker, Ohio in 1949. I can't fit all the great views on one post, so I'll put up some more tomorrow. El Paso looks like a relatively quiet place in these pictures; at the time it had a population of just under 130,000.  It has since grown to almost 650,000.

Monday, August 22, 2011

The Beautiful Carolinas

Here are some scenes from a 1942 postcard folder of North and South Carolina. I wonder if ladies in the Carolinas really wear high heels with their bathing suits.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Social Club in Havana, Cuba

The Asociacion de Dependientes del Comercio is one of the oldest and most important social clubs in Havana.  From my limited understanding of Spanish, it seems that the Asociacion de Dependientes del Comercio was the birthplace of the Cuba Fencing Federation.

Most of us have heard of the Buena Vista Social Club, but members-only social clubs have been a long-standing tradition in Cuba. They were cultural and social centers, where members could go to hear music and dance...and maybe gamble too. Social clubs were often segregated by social class and race or ethnicity.

Gerardo sent his regards to Miss Debbie Maris of Wilmington, Delaware.

Here's another view of Cuba. The writer of the card seems to have been called away on urgent business before even finishing the address. This was back in the days when U.S. citizens could visit Cuba without any restrictions. It's not impossible now, but it's a little more difficult.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Cottbus, Germany

This card is a bit of a mystery. Walter Kahl sent this from Cottbus to Francis H. Sweet, Company E 15th Infantry in the Philippines in 1913. Cottbus is a city in northern Germany, located about 78 miles southeast of Berlin. The card has the stamp on the front, which was fairly typical in France, but unusual in Germany.

The message itself is also unusual.  Well, actually there isn't a message, just a name and address and "Hedwig" below that. Hedwig is a female name in German. So, whether it's a code name of some kind or another way of relaying a message, I can't say for sure. In any case, the card has many date stamps, starting with the cancellation date on October 3rd, 1913 and ending with a received stamp of November 14th, 1913. There are several other handwritten notations on the card.  It's all very mysterious.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Logging Camp Cookhouse

This looks like a logging camp kitchen to me. Although there's quite a bit of detail, I'd love to see more. This is not the clearest picture, but the perspective is very interesting.

Here are a few close-ups. You can see another person in the background bending over something.

And boxes of biscuit flour on the shelf...

Here's the back of the card. The stamp box imprint indicates that the card was printed between 1905 and 1920.  Too bad there weren't any tales of life at the camp written on the back. Her's a link to another logging camp cookhouse image.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Happy New Year, Herr Stoltz

Adolf Stoltz moved from Markirch, Germany to Lawrence, Massachusetts. Markirch became part of France after World War I, but by then Herr Stoltz had been in Massachusetts for a number of years.
This is a card wishing Herr Stoltz a Happy New year. It was postmarked on Christmas Day, 1910.

And here's the back of the card.

The handwriting is not so tidy, and it's that awful old German script, but I was able to make some of it:

Dear Friend I wish you a Happy New Year...We received your package with joy. Thank you for that....Greetings from Schweigert Henri.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Japan- Post WWII

After World War II, a little boy named Jerry lived in the house next to the one I live in now. He became pen pals with a little boy in Japan. Here are some of the postcards Jerry received from his pen pal.

National Diet Building

Desolate Moon by Tadaichi Hayashi 

Early Autumn on a Hill by Masao Kato
Here are the backs of the cards. I don't understand any Japanese, so any input is appreciated.


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