Friday, December 21, 2012

To Alice From Gladys

This real photo postcard is inscribed "A Merry Christmas to Alice from Gladys.  Lakeside, ME, 1905"
Merry Christmas, Gladys, from the Blog about the Postcards and all its followers!

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Holiday Inn

Here's a curious instance of artistic license on a Holiday Inn postcard.  At all the Holiday Inns I ever saw, the "Great Sign" was always out in front of the motel, facing the street, with the arrow welcoming travelers into the parking lot.   That was part of their strong branding and what made them the "World's Innkeeper" for years and years.  I know, as I worked as a porter and desk clerk at a Holiday Inn  (Holidex #056A) for about 7 years, in the late 70's.
Now, this illustration has all the pieces in the wrong places.  If the Great Sign is in the right place, then the swimming pool is either across the street or beside the hotel, and that would be wrong, because all the pools were generally in the center of the hotels, in courtyards facing away from the street.  So, the illustration is really a fiction.  The most curious part is that if the illustrator really could arrange his composition any way he wanted, why did he give prominence to a bald overweight guy in the foreground instead of someone more attractive?  What focus group did that pass?

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Thanksgiving and Smallpox - 1908

Maybe it's a weird combination -- I first searched my postcards for "Thanksgiving," and came up empty except for this card of Main St., West Hartford, CT, which has a very interesting message.  The front says: "Thanksgiving morning.  Dear Friend.  Mr K. and I are to be all alone this Thanksgiving day I expect, but we are very thankful for the mercies of the year."  The message continues on the back of the card, where the writer talks about some recent visitors that stopped by to "have dinner with us after Church Sunday."

Next, she mentions that "Mrs Henshaw found Smallpox in the town of Brattleboro, so they were going to have a quarantine.  Haven't heard since."  So, I googled "Smallpox," "Brattleboro" and "1908" (the postmark date on the card), and found that there really was a smallpox epidemic there at that time, with 195 cases reported.  But according to the Medical Record, a weekly journal of the time, the situation was well-controlled by the State Board of Health.

So, the writer can rest assured that things turned out OK, thus giving her one more thing to be thankful for, even if she's alone with her husband on the Holiday.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Winter Weather

El Al Israel Airlines knows Israel Best 3469

In Connecticut, we had our first 5 inches of snow. Thinking of our son, who moved to Israel less than a month ago, enjoying 80 degree sunny weather in Haifa today!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Duned to Eternity

Flying Cages, Seaside Heights, NJ 2397

In memory of the Seaside Heights amusements on the New Jersey shore, here's a postcard of the "Flying Cages," one of the most popular, but relatively short-lived rides through the 70's.  They were operated by the riders' own momentum and physical exertion, rocking the cars until they swung over the top.  See a demonstration video on YouTube.

Also known as "The Swingin’ Gym," these contraptions were lots of fun but injured many riders.  Due to their uninsurability, they largely disappeared within a few years of their operation. 

The one in the card above was, according to the back, "Just one of dozens of thrilling rides on the fabulous Casino Pier," which was at Seaside Heights.  I'm pretty sure it had been replaced by other rides and was not there last Monday when Hurricane Sandy hit, but here's what the pier looks like now...

My sympathy to those who lost loved ones or property in the storm, but to those as well who cherish childhood memories of amusement parks like this one and can now never go back.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Chicago Theater

The Chicago Theater, in Chicago, Il, has had a rich history since it opened in 1921.  The Chicago Theatre was the first large, lavish movie palace in America and was the prototype for all others. This beautiful movie palace was constructed for $4 million by theatre owners Barney and Abe Balaban and Sam and Morris Katz and designed by Cornelius and George Rapp. It was the flagship of the Balaban and Katz theatre chain.
The theater is still around today and is well-preserved.  See a full history here.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Harps on the Beach

Class in strings at the national Music Camp, Interlochen, MI 4702

Interlochen Arts Camp (formerly the National Music Camp) is an annual summer camp for approximately 2,500 students ages 8 to 18. It was founded in 1928 by the late Dr. Joseph E. Maddy as the National High School Orchestra Camp. Today, students participate in music, theatre, dance, visual arts, creative writing, or motion picture arts. Camp admission is competitive, and auditions are required in most cases.

Alumni include Josh Groban, Ed Helms, Norah Jones and Peter Yarrow.  Alumni also include the 5 young ladies above, attending "Beach Harp" class (or is that B-Sharp class?)

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Are You Sure?

Beautiful See thru umbrella 4889

And on the Back: 

To you our valued customer, this is our way of celebrating our Anniversary with you.  Absolutely Free, nothing to buy.  No strings Attached.  This beautiful and expensive gift is yours, with No Purchase Required.  You must bring this card to the store personally yourself within 5 days, and pick up your valuable gift.  You do not have to buy anything.  ABSOLUTELY FREE.  Giant Furniture Warehouse.  463 W. Town St. Columbus, OH

There are 11 times on this card that it makes the point that the umbrella is free!  I guess they wanted to be sure you knew that!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Eat at Tommy's

Tommy's Restaurant, Beaufort, SC 5014
Time to eat out!  Let's stop at Tommy's in Beaufort, South Carolina this time.  Zagat's says the vibe is "pink cinderblock," but the "KC Steaks" are "good food," and the "regular meals" are only surpassed by the "spaghetti - chop suey combo."

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!  The Jewish Holiday of Rosh Hashanah begins at sundown on Sunday night.  These postcards are New Years' greeting cards from the early 1900's, published by the Williamsburg publishing company.  Each year I post a few of them from my collection of over 100.  Take a look at the others that I've posted earlier, as they are interesting artifacts of years past, no matter what religion you affiliate yourself with.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Wagner's Ring Cycle

Gotterdammerung 3861
Next week, on many PBS stations, the Great Performances series will be showing the new Metropolitan Opera production of Wagner's Ring Cycle.  It begins on Monday night with a documentary about the new production, including the set, which is a 45-ton machine consisting of 24 planks that seesaw back and forth and act as screens for projections which evoke the settings in the operas.  Some loved it; some hated it.  We saw the first three operas in the movie theater during the live HD broadcasts, and then saw the last, Gotterdammurung, at the Met Opera house in person.  The entire thing is an amazing musical work, of epic proportions.  We were glad to have seen it, but it is difficult to get your arms completely around.

If you're not busy for about 15 hours (for the operas, not including the documentary), check it out!  In the meantime, this week's post is a nice illustration of the final scene of the whole shebang, where Brunhilde (of "the opera's not over until the fat lady sings" fame) sets fire to the pyre which she will then ride into on horseback, killing herself after singing a 20-minute aria.  Enjoy!

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Chinese Deco

Hoe Sai Gai, Chicago, IL 5103

A nice blend this week of an Art Deco interior, serving Chinese food in Chicago.  Hoe Sai Gai means "Prosperity," and this place certainly looks opulent.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Dogs and Bees at Church

These postcards are the later versions of what were called "Rally Cards," which were sent out to religious school children to goad them into attending Sunday school.  I have lots of them going all the way back to the early 1900's, but these more recent ones, probably from the 1960's, are good examples of the chrome variety.  If the dogs and the bees are attending Sunday School, can't you at least show up too?

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Fick's Drive Motel and Drive In

Love this old linen postcard from Brownsville, PA.  The Drive In Theater came first, then a restaurant, then the Fick's Motel, built by Isadore Ficks in 1953.  The ‘L'-shaped structure was constructed of concrete block and contained twelve units, each with a large window, an excellent view and beautiful ceramic tile baths. The motel included a ‘Honeymoon Suite.' There was also a businessman's unit which contains both desk and typewriter.  Speaker lines from the drive-in across Route 40 were connected to the motel, so the guests could also enjoy a movie by sitting outside in front of their room. They could see the screen and listen to the movie. What a nice image for a warm summer night!  In any event, thank goodness this motel existed before spray paint and graffiti, if you know what I mean!


Thursday, August 2, 2012

Don't Throw Stones

The Glass House Restaurant in South Hill, Virginia was unique, being built almost entirely of glass brick.  According to the website of the newer, Glass House Grill nearby, the original opened in 1937 and stood for decades in the center of South Hill, Virginia on Highway #1, the main north/south artery along the East Coast. It served as the town's bus terminal and was the center of activity for the area. The building of the I-85 Interchange in the mid-1960's changed the traffic patterns and the Glass House Restaurant eventually closed. The building was purchased and renovated in 1974 by long-time South Hill resident, R.T. Arnold, to serve as the town's new library. The original structure was razed in 1999 to make way for the construction of the current library facilities. Another amazing building of the streamline era gone.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Free Travel in Texas

From the back:  "Discover the fun, the contrast, the world of difference awaiting you in Texas -- America's Fun-tier!  A colorful packet of Texas travel materials -- where to go, what to do and see -- is yours free!  Just fill in your name and address below, and mail this postcard."

Just don't get sick while you're there:

Friday, June 15, 2012

An Exercise on the Piano

The caption is a little hard to read, but it says "An Exercise on the Piano."  Postmarked on the back in 1909, this was about as titillating as you could get at that time!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Three Little New England Libraries

Three old libraries with lots of character.

In Rockland, ME, the library was one of the Andrew Carnegie libraries, built in 1903-1904. 
Carnegie librariew were built with money donated by Andrew Carnegie, the Scottish-American businessman and philanthropist.  Almost 1,700 were built in the United States between 1883 and 1929, with money made available to towns through a grant system.  By 1919, half of the libraries in the US were built using Carnegie grants.

The Calais, ME library was built in 1892  .The yellow brick building, designed by A.H. Vinal, was constructed at the cost of slightly over $10,000 and was first opened to the public on July 4, 1893. Vinal was greatly influenced by the architectural style of Henry H. Richardson, designer of Boston's famed Trinity Church.

In Laconia, NH, the Romanesque Revival-styled library was originally a gift of Napoleon Bonaparte Gale, a local banker who died in 1894.  Construction began in 1901 and the buidling was dedicated in 1903.  

All three libraries are still in action today.  They have additions, but they're in the style of the original buildings.  Way to preserve these great architectural gems of the past!

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Pool Party!

Come with me to the Catskills for a Pool Party!

The top card is from the Hotel Zeiger in Fallsburg, NY.  The back of this card advertises "Best in entertainment -- sports -- accommodations and cuisine.  Dietary laws observed.  Beautiful Aquacade Pool and Sun Deck."  This resort later became the Eldorado, then the Palms.  Some say it then became a religious bungalow colony, but for the most part it's abandoned.

The middle card is from the Concord Hotel in Kiamesha Lake, NY.  At its peak, it had 1,500 rooms and was one of the larger hotels in the Catskills.  For sad pictures of this resort in ruins, use this link:  As of recently, however, Concord owner Louis Cappelli has been negotiating with the casino company Mohegan Sun to revive his defunct luxury hotel and racino plan on the site of the one-time jewel of Catskill resorts.  Let's see what the future brings!

The bottom card is from the Raleigh Hotel, in South Fallsburg, NY, another Catskill classic.  This one is still in business, focusing on Orthodox Jewish clientele.  Surprise!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Beach Time!

Memorial Day Weekend is the start of the Summer Tourist Season in Maine.  A great place to visit is Old Orchard Beach, a pristine white sand beach that has been hosting summer visitors since the 1860's.

The newest of this trio of cards is the linen one, with the dozen bathing beauties -- a dozen good reasons to visit Old Orchard Beach, so the card claims.

Slightly older is the middle card, the white border card of children enjoying their ponies on the beach.  Throughout its life, the beach has not only been home to ponies, but to airplane and automobile races as well.

The oldest card is postmarked 1908.  Like the first,it shows swimmers in the beach garb of the day.  Slightly more coverage than today!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Two Men - Two Guitars

I know nothing about these two men, posing with their guitars, in front of an old horse-drawn wagon.  They look proud -- the man on the right is nearly smirking.  I wonder how they sound?

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Twin Lobsters

Here's a pair of lobster postcards to whet our appetites for these delectable crustaceans!

The first is a nice linen card from Boone's Restaurant in Portland, Maine, my home town.  The locals don't eat at Boone's -- it's for the tourists, so the man with the bib on is definately "from away."

The second card is from Eugene's Seafood, at the Hotel Juneau in Milwaukee.  I have seen other postcards on the web for Eugene's, but this is the only one I've seen with a photo of him and his trusty manager Mrs. J. W. Pfeifer.  The back has a nice description of the place:

When in Milwaukee, Stop at...Eugene's Hotel Juneau.  Milwaukee's Lake Cooled All Modern Hotel.  807-15 East Wisconsin Avenue.  Downtown overlooking the Lake.  Beautiful Juneau Park, Elks Club and one-half block from C. & N. W. Depot.  Rates with bath $1.75 and up; without bath less.  Convenient parking space.  Famous for sea food.  No larger variety anywhere.  Air conditioned dining rooms. Coffee Shop, Tavern and Lobby.  Recommended by Duncan Hines.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Linen Hotel Trio

Here's a trio of great linen hotel postcards from a recent purchase.  All have interesting deco graphic design. 

At the top is the Hotel Connor of Joplin, Mo.  There's a fascinating, but tragic story that goes along with this hotel -- in 1978, it was being prepared to be demolished, and the day before the demolition a crew went inside to salvage some of the architectural details.  While they were inside the building, it spontaneously collapsed, having been purposely weakened in preparation for the demolition.  Two men died, and one survived, spending 3 days buried in the rubble of the hotel until being rescued.  More information is here:  Buried Alive , including a news report where they dragged the poor survivor to the original site (now a library with a display case of Hotel Connor lore), so he could reminisce for them. 

As a bonus, I included two more nice cards. There's the Hotel Chicagoan from the Windy City, showing off its sign, the Lounge, and a "typical bedroom."  And finally, it's the Battle House Hotel of Mobile, AL.  It's still there -- now as the Battle House Renaissance Mobile Hotel & Spa!  Enjoy!

Friday, April 27, 2012

Molly's Teenage Store

Molly's Children and Teenage Store was a fixture on Mission St. in San Francisco sometime in the late 50's, early 60's judging by the postcard above.  The storefront, which must have been impossible not to see,  was a peppermint-striped beaut.  The back of the postcard reads:

Molly's Children's Discount House.  2947 Mission St., Between 25th and 26th Sts. on Mission St.  BankAmericard.  open Friday nights until 9 p.m.  Special Sale for the New Baby.  Infant Seats.  Curity Diapers.  Curity Shirts.  Curity Gowns.  Even Flow Bottles.  Delux Reclining Stroller.  High Chairs.  6 Year Crib & Mattress

It's always interesting to look and see if the place still exists (thanks, Google Earth!), and here we see that the storefront (two, actually) is still there, stripes gone AWOL.  When Google drove by, the buildings housed a grocery and Cybermania store.  Take a close look, however, and you can see the original bones of the building.  The windows, the signage, the door to the alleyway on the right -- even the cornice on the left-hand building is still intact.  What do you like better?  The subtle earth tones, or the stripes?

Thursday, April 19, 2012

A Titanic Message, 100 years later

The front of this week's postcard is a view of the Bridge and Pond in Elizabeth Park, in Hartford, Connecticut.  It's a few miles from my house, and the park has an outstanding rose garden which is one of the world's largest.  The postcard is postmarked April 17th, 1912.  The date is important!  Why?  Three days earlier, on April 14th,  the Titanic sank en route to New York, on her maiden voyage.

The back of the card is a whole lot more interesting, because it refers to the wreck of the Titanic, without actually mentioning it by name.  It says:

Dear Mother, Went to the Post today, will begin next Monday to send 37.  On account of the ship wreck they said he might be able to get rid of the 40 this week.  Exchanged the dimmer box O.K. but had to get a 35 cent one.  All out of the 25 cent ones.  -- George
Although we don't know the exact details of what George was talking about, clearly his business transaction was affected by the wreck of the Titanic.  What a fascinating view into how the disaster affected many people, some in very humdrum ways! 

Thursday, April 12, 2012

A Calculating Post

Here's a great linen card from the New York World's Fair of 1939, showing the Marchant Calculating Company Display.  According to the back of the card, the exhibit was located located in the Business Systems and Insurance Building, adjacent to the Trylon and Perisphere -- the "Theme Center" of the New York World's Fair.

Back then, calculators were mechanical, noisy, and expensive.  I made the mistake of googling Marchant and came across tons of information on mechanical calculator history and "fan sites," spending a lot of time browsing as a result.  Here's a model of a Marchant calculator around the same year as the Fair:

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Look, Dad!

"Look Dad, spraying is easy...with a KWH mistblower!" says Stephen Yates of La Crescent, Minn, on the back of this advertising postcard. It was sent out by the Vandermolen Export Co. of North Caldwell, NJ, and goes on to tout the advantages of this Italian-made sprayer by Martignani: "Use a KWH mistblower and save up to 80% in spraying-'man'-hours, 90-95% in water. KWH mistblowers give deep penetration - better coverage -- at less cost. KWH Dusters assure steady output - instant regulation -- even spreading of granules."

I'm not sure what OSHA would think of little Stephen spraying pesticides or fertilizer around the farm without wearing any type of personal protection equipment, but what the heck, there's chores to be done. I noticed that Vandermolen Export as well as Martignani is still in business -- I wonder if Stephen is!!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Sleep at the World's Fair

Here's a great pavilion from the 1964 World's Fair in New York, from the Simmons company. It's called the "Land of Enchantment," and it's a great example of modern architecture, now gone of course.

From the back of the card: "Downstairs, the Sandman guides a fascinating tour through the Wonderful World of Slumber with its lovable animated characters of fantasy. Upstairs, worn out visitors can privately rest, relax - even snooze, on a Beautyrest Adjustable Bed - the Bed of Tomorrow - that automatically adjusts to any comfortable position at a finger's touch."

A comprehensive description of the exhibition is available here, at the outstanding NYWF64 website: Spread out over several pages, this article is one of many documenting the New York World's Fair by Bill Young, a great resource.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Slim to None

This is "Slim the Clown" a.k.a. Fred Raposa. Although Google is great for everything, Slim is apparently missing from the Internet. This greeting card was sent from Fall River, MA, but the rest is a mystery!