Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Images of America's past:
Two old mystery photos

Nothing elaborate this morning. Just a pair of interesting old photos from the Mystery Files...

First up is this abused real photo postcard. According to the design of the AZO stamp box on the back of the card (which was never used), it was produced sometime between 1910 and 1930.

Here is a closer look at some of the young men's faces.

This second photograph, featuring a group of old men in chairs and one young lad, is dated September 7, 1941, on the back. There is no other identifying information. All of the older men must have been born in the 19th century, while the boy, if he's still alive, would be in his middle to upper 70s today.

Interestingly, the first few times I looked at his photo, I did not see the man in the straw hat lurking in the background. Here's a closer look at him.

Share your thoughts and speculations on these two photos in the comments section.


  1. The soldiers look like First World War Soldiers drilling. They could also be WWI era National Guad soldiers. They don't look quite like Pennsylvania National Guards. The second photo looks like a small rural Fire House with the fire engine parked in the firehouse. The volunteer firmen are sitting on chairs in front of the firehouse. When I was a child, most firemen sat out on chairs in front of their fire departments especially in the warm Spring and hot Summer. Often these firemen sat out all night on their chairs just talking and joking. The guys in the picture don't really look like they are dressed to fight a fire. Some are wearing ties. I especially like the guy on the far right. Could you imagine fighting a fire with a tie and black and white saddle shoes(although brown and white saddle shoes were more popular during this period). Those saddle shoes would not be very white after fighting the first fire. Speaking of saddle shoes, I wish they would come back into style. If you search the internet, you will see that saddle shoes are beginning to make a comeback with many new color combinations. The one thing that seems to be missing in this photo is a Dalmatian dog. As kids we often stopped and talked with the firemen who sat outside the firhouse and chatted with them -- they were always very friendly and seemingly appreciative of their young visitors and they always had a Dalmatian firehouse dog.

    1. Oh, I almost forgot the guy on the far left. He is wearing pure white bucks and what appears to be pure white slacks and shirt. Could you imagine fighting a fire dressed in white buck shoes, white pants and a white shirt -- all that is missing is a white hat!