Thursday, February 25, 2010

Let's Eat Out!

The Rex Restaurant in this vintage 1950's chrome postcard looks very inviting! The back promises "Superlative American and Italian Foods" and a seating capacity of 400. Looks like business is good in at this attractively landscaped eatery, located "on the Moorehead Strip," Morehead City, North Carolina.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Hartford, CT

Hartford, Connecticut, back in the days of the linen postcard. A lot has happened since this bucolic view existed -- a waterfront park including an amphitheater and stage has been added, along with a large convention center and science museum. The white Traveler's tower and adjacent brick buildings provide the continuity between these two views.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Piano Sale

The back says:

a piano is such a wonderful musical possession, acknowledged the world over to be the "basic musical instrument"?

It is because piano music enriches the lives of both player and listener -- and because the piano is an instrument that most people will play throughout their lifetimes.

Please call and let us make an appointment to talk this over with you. We know we can work out all the details.

And the following notation was handwritten in:

"Our exciting sales are still on and also we have a special on an Ebony used Acrosonic spinet."

The card is postmarked 1958, when all across the suburbs living rooms were filling up with pianos so the baby boomers could take lessons. The spinets, which are the shortest type of vertical pianos, like the one in the image, were the bottom of the barrel when it came to quality. They had poor tone, generally were cheaply constructed and were notoriously hard to service. Nevertheless, they were a part of many of our childhoods, in part due to the successful marketing campaigns of those times.

Corny as these postcard ads were (I'll post more later), there's some truth in my case. I still play the piano almost every day, often just for ten minutes, but it's rooted in a Danish Modern style Story & Clark spinet that found its way into the living room of my childhood home, in a subdivision built in the 'burbs in the early 60's!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Happy Jewish New Year!

I know it's really the Chinese New Year, but I have over 100 Jewish New Year postcards in my collection, and I wanted to start getting some of them onto the blog! Nearly all of them are from the Williamsburg Art publishing company, and all are about 100 years old. Each says in Hebrew, "L'Shanah Tova Tikatavu" which roughly means "May you be inscribed in the book of life for a good year." They all contain a short message in Yiddish as well, however I don't have translations for most of them. In this one, note the early telephone, still a novelty at the time this postcard was published.

Monday, February 8, 2010

The First Day of the NYC Subway

An outstanding handwritten message on this postcard. The New York City subway system opened on October 27, 1904, and Ruth wrote to her friend Jane about riding on it the very next day. The text reads, "We rode on the subway today and it was jam(m)ed. It only opened last night, so of course there would be a crowd." She goes on to say, "Why don't you answer my letters? We went down to the Docks and saw the big steamer in there and went all through it. We also went to the aquarium down at Castle Garden. Give my love to your mother and all the rest. Yours, lovingly." The postmark on the other side is October 29th, 1904.

We don't know Ruth, but we can imagine how excited she was about the new subway! Read more about opening day here:

The postcard image itself is of the Brooklyn Bridge station. If you walk up the steps from street level to the station on the left, that's the terminus of the Brooklyn Bridge, where you caught the streetcar to go to Brooklyn. The building in the center of the image is the Pulitzer building, demolished in 1955 so that more automobiles could get over the Brooklyn Bridge.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Hotel Fiske, Old Orchard Beach

The Hotel Fiske at Old Orchard Beach, Maine opened in 1882 and burned to the ground in 1907, along with 16 other hotels and 60 cottages. This card was mailed in 1903. I have many more postcards of Old Orchard Beach to follow.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

The largest hotel ballroom in the world at the time, seating 2,000 persons for banquets and over 3,000 for meetings. This was Sheraton Hall in the Sheraton-Park Hotel in Washington, D.C. Free Reservations by Reservatron reserves and confirms your hotel room in 4 seconds!

It's now the Washington Marriott Wardman Park, and if you go to their website you can see that the balconies are still in place, but the mural is gone, as is the swanky atmosphere created by evening gowns and a grand piano.

The first in a series of ugly restaurants. This one is in Scranton, PA. The back of the postcard claims it's one of Pennsylvania's Finest Restaurants -- not so obvious from the exterior.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Union Station, Portland, Maine

Union station opened in June of 1888 and was torn down in 1961 to make way for a shopping plaza. The furor over the razing of the station marked the beginning of the Greater Portland Landmarks organization and the preservation of historic buildings in Portland.

The Monona Band

There are two Mononas in the United States, one in Wisconsin and one in Iowa. Your guess is as good as mine as to where these fine gentlemen are from. The exclamation point on the bass drum is nice touch!