Saturday, October 12, 2013

Slightly unsettling old postcard: Dungeon Rock in Massachusetts

I mentioned on Thursday that I had an old postcard of Dungeon Rock in Lynn, Massachusetts, and here it is. The unused postcard was published by The Metropolitan News Company in Boston and made in Germany. The back of those postcard is for the recipient's address only, so it was likely produced prior to March 1907.

Dungeon Rock is located within Lynn Woods Reservation, which is the largest municipal park in New England.

Dungeon Rock's improbable but (mostly?) true history dates to 1658 and involves pirates, treasure, caves, a deadly earthquake, spiritualists, and much more. You can read much more about it at these links:

One interesting thing I found in examining this postcard is that there are more people shown that I originally thought. I count at least five individuals, and I probably did not notice the man sitting on the rock until the 10th time I looked at the card. Also, what I originally believed to be a red ribbon tied to a branch is actually a partially obscured woman in a full-length red dress.

Finally, it doesn't take much imagination to see a face (or faces) within the foliage.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Great links: Explore the dark side of New England

For those seeking some spooky autumn travel, J.W. Ocker of Odd Things I've Seen recently put together a piece called "Explore the dark side of New England with these spooky sites" for The Boston Globe.

Ocker's article mentions creepy destinations ranging from the Sarah Winchester's grave to the Graveyard Shift Mill to Dungeon Rock (of which I have a vintage postcard that I haven't written about yet).

One of the sites Ocker mentions is the Walloomsac Inn in Bennington, Vermont, which is pictured at the top of this post. I wrote about that building, with a little help from Ocker, in July 2012 and September 2012.

For many more travel ideas, check out Ocker's full piece in The Globe.

Scary images from "a completely new guide to Gel-Cookery"

Gelatin molds, for some inexplicable reason1, have remained one of the running themes of Papergreat over the years.2

Today, I'm featuring some questionable images from 1962's Knox On-Camera Recipes, a staplebound book that bills itself as "a completely new guide to Gel-Cookery," as if that's something to aspire to. (Knox is still around today — it's a brand of NBTY (formerly Nature's Bounty) — and you can read about its history here.)

So, with Halloween just around the corner, here are some hellish images and suggestions from the world of gelatin molds. As always, I am NOT providing any of these actual recipes. That would just be too dangerous to the general public.

Green Salad Mold
"A new and deliciously different twist for a popular stand-by — green salad is molded for added pleasure."

Molded Avocado and Tuna
"A dreamy two-layered main dish salad with great eye appeal plus a divine combination of flavors."

Deviled Egg Mold
"Eggs take on airs and the result teams up wonderfully well with sliced cold meats or poultry."

Cottage Cheese and Kidney Bean Salad
"Hearty enough for a luncheon main dish, this salad has a tempting combination of flavors everyone will enjoy."

Gelatin molds were just one part of the Halloween Countdown that was held here two Octobers ago. If you're on the lookout for more odd and creepy ephemera3, here's a recap of that series:

1. Me.
2. Here, for those brave enough, are the links to Papergreat's past gelatin coverage:
3. And I honestly have no idea why you would be.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Thomas's Blanks for Written Spelling, as used in 1895

Here's a relic that was used 118 autumns ago in the classroom. Shown above is the cover of Thomas's Blanks for Written Spelling, a staplebound booklet. According to the inside front cover, the teaching aid was copyright 1890 by Julian P. Thomas of Richmond, Va., and, according to the front cover, it was published and sold by J.L. Hill Printing Company, also of Richmond.

Here's what's written in cursive on the bottom of the cover...

To me, that name looks like J. Brite Tavenner, who was a student at Philmont (Philomont?) School. The date is September 25, 1895.

That could be Jonah Brite Tavenner, a name that appears in the U.S. census in 1880 and 1910. There is also, intriguingly, a 1939 obituary for Mary Garrett Van Sickler, who died in Philmont (Philomont?), Virginia. One of her pall bearers was Brite Tavenner.

Ten pages of the booklet are filled with Tavenner's spelling lessons. Words were read aloud to students and written in the right- and left-hand columns of each page. Misspelled words were then rewritten correctly in the middle column.

The words Tavenner had to learn included apostle, apocrypha, anthracite, anthropology, archangel, auspicious, audacious, attenuate, cochineal, cockroach, codicil, cohesion, concave, concentric, confederacy, constipate, contemporaneous and countermand.

By my quick reckoning, Tavenner correctly spelled 288 of the 300 words that were dictated to him. That's 96 percent. Not too shabby! And these were not easy words. Certainly many of them would not be easy for contemporary grade-school students.

Here's one of the words that he missed and had to write correctly.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Hay llamas! 1950s illustrated map of Catskill Game Farm

Pictured above are the front and back covers of the "Illustrated Map of Catskill Game Farm." Scrawled in pen on the front is "July 1959," which seems about right for the age of this foldout guide.

The zoo was in operation for 73 years, from 1933 to 2006. It was owned and run by members of the Lindemann family (including founders Roland and Kathryn) during that entire time. It was officially recognized as a zoo in 1958, which allowed for it to expand its collection of animals. The entire site spanned more than 900 acres, but the Game Farm itself consisted of about 136 acres that were open to the public from spring through autumn.

I'm sure there are many of you who have fond memories of visiting this New York zoo. I would love for you to share your memories in the comments section below.

Here's an excerpt from the guide:

"Welcome to Catskill Game Farm, greetings our staff and from the thousands of animals and birds in our great wildlife collection. In this folder we show just a few of our many fascinating species and an illustrated map to guide you on your tour through the area. Often we have large herds of kangaroos and llamas; a variety of ostriches, antelopes, wild sheep and water buffalos, rare cranes, colorful parrots, giant tortoises, playful monkeys; many strange forms with stranger names, like the mara1 and the tahr, the aoudad, wombat and cassowary2; and other interesting and spectacular species of the bird and animal kingdom."

After Catskill Game Farm closed in 2006, a two-day auction that attracted more than 1,000 bidders was held. According to Wikipedia, these were some of the sale prices:

  • A 1951 Herschell merry-go-round with aluminum horses sold for $39,500
  • More than $12,000 worth of picnic tables and benches were sold
  • Ten alligators sold for $1,350
  • A white elk sold for $1,950
  • A pair of bison sold for $1,925
  • A pair of African porcupines sold for $1,220
  • Five reindeer fetched $4,725
  • Ostriches sold for $900 to $1,200 apiece

Today, there is hope that the Game Farm might have a rebirth in its future. According to a June 2013 article by Claude Haton in Hudson-Catskill Newspapers, "the new owners are looking at a broad plan including establishing an RV park, a petting zoo, and a museum honoring its history."

You can also check out this seven-minute video that examines what has become of Catskill Game Farm since its closure in 2006:

Here are some additional images from the 1950s guide.

(This seems like an extremely bad idea.)

And while we're posting pictures of llamas, here's a photo I took this past summer of a llama named Black Tie Affair leading a herd of alpacas to dinner at Alapacas of York, a farm that generously participates in York County 4-H.

1. I told Joan that I thought a mara (pictured at right) would be a good "starter cavy" before we work our way up to the capybara. She disagrees. "Its legs are too skinny," she said.
2. The cassowary will MESS YOU UP.