Monday, October 8, 2012

Watertown, New York

Here are some more scans from glass negatives.  These are different from the previous ones though.  They're a smaller format 4.25" by 5.25", and they were stored in paper sleeves with the subject and the photographer's name neatly typed on them. Very convenient for me.

The photographer was Horace E. Wait. There were a number of people by the name of Horace Wait, so I can't tell you for certain who he was, but he captured some very nice views of Watertown. The city of Watertown is located in upstate New York, just 30 miles from the Ontario, Canada border. It currently has a population of about 27,000.

The first negative shows a view of Mill Street looking south toward the Public Square from near Main Street; this is all typed on the sleeve! The street is unpaved with wooden sidewalks and there's a big barrel of apples on display at the shop on the left. The primary form of transportation seems to be the bicycle.

The second negative shows Mr. Silas. L. Brothers in his tobacco store at 117 Arsenal Street in Watertown.  He must be the guy in the front? Note the gas lamps, the wallpaper with American flags, and especially the spittoon on the floor!

Silas was born in 1856 and had the tobacco shop from the 1890s until 1923, according to the notation on the sleeve. The 1892 State Census shows him as a traveling salesman, and the 1920 Census says he was Secretary of the Automobile Club. He married Jennie Powers, and they had a daughter named Marie. When Silas retired, they moved to Syracuse.

This is supposed to be a postcard blog, isn't it? So, here are some postcards of Watertown, New York. The first one was sent to  Dr. Raymond C. Turner, a dentist born in 1877, who lived and practiced in Oswego, New York. Alas, no message, but it shows the Public Square mentioned previously.

The other two cards were never sent.

Here's the back of the first card.


  1. Straight out of a Western movie (the first picture)
    Especially the unpaved roads.

  2. Oh--I just love those top two photographs. Lovely.

  3. The glass plates put out a wonderful clear photo. The top one reminds me of a classic painting with the guy walking towards us with his tilted hat. The buildings are wonderful and I like seeing the classics.

  4. What a wealth of interest, especially in those first two photos. I suppose the boardwalk was meant to stop people getting muddy... and now I know what a boardwalk really is!

  5. love the tobacco store!!
    i remember as a little girl,I'd visit my aunt in an Atlanta suburb..they had a 5 and dime with wooden floors and glass,mind you..i am only 58!!..this photo just made me think of her and the wonderful times we had visiting her!! she was the best!!..little did you know that this photo would spark a lovely memory..and nothing to do with tobacco!! (except,now that i think of father's mother used chewing tobacco..i didn't know for years!)

  6. Absolutely incredible! the top two photos are fantastic. What treasures!

  7. I used to drive thru Watertown in the 80's on the way to a summer cottage. Gotta, admit, it looks alot more interesting to me in these images than it did in reality back then...

  8. After google-street-viewing it I agree with Archie. The glass plates are wonderful!

  9. The glass plate photographs are magically lucid scenes from vanished days -- the one with the bicycle riders in the street is especially impressive.



Related Posts with Thumbnails