Friday, July 1, 2016

Five random old postcards
(Besh tasodifiy eski otkritkalar)

(Besh tasodifiy eski otkritkalar is "five random old postcards" in Uzbek, as a courtesy to the 27 million folks on Earth who speak that language. Also, "Paper-great" in Uzbek would be something along the lines of Qog'oz-ajoyib, which is actually awesome.)

Up first is this mid-century linen postcard showing the "Grand View Peak" near Port Jervis, New York. Other postcards of the era refer to this as Grandview Peak (one word). The additional text on the back of the postcard states: "1800 feet above sea level; 6 counties; Shawangunk Mountains; 200 miles of scenery."

The Shawangunk Mountains are also known as The Gunks, not to be confused with The Gonk.

I don't know if this building still exists or what highway it is/was on, so any help in that regard would be appreciated. I do know that I'm generally opposed to entering cliffside dwellings that are held up by stilts.

The only handwriting on the back of this Genuine Curteich-Chicago/Imperial Press postcard is "March 30, 1953."

This unused Dexter Press postcard features what was then known as the National Wax Museum of Lancaster County Heritage. The waxy scene on display is William Penn receiving his land grant for what would become Pennsylvania from King Charles II in 1681.

The museum opened in 1969 and was the brainchild of Dutch Wonderland founder and potato farmer Earl Clark. The museum scenes depicted many famous elements of Lancaster County history, including the Ephrata Cloister, Thaddeus Stevens, the Christiana Resistance and James Buchanan at Wheatland.

The museum was eventually renamed the Discover Lancaster County History Museum. It was closed for good on December 30, 2006. Its wax figures and other fixtures were auctioned off in 2007. According to a story on, Davy Crockett sold for $925 and the full scene of Ben Franklin visiting Lancaster in 1755 sold for $4,100.

This cute illustration of a cat eyeing two chicks is the oldest postcard in today's batch. The postmark is difficult to make out, but I believe it's August 1910. The card was mailed with a one-cent stamp to a man named Carl in tiny Millhousen, Indiana.

The cursive message on the back of the card is difficult to read and perhaps not entirely in correct English. It's something about who does and doesn't like chickens. And it ends with "I bet not."

If I ever have another blog, it's going to be called "Oh! You Chicken!"

This Dexter Press postcard shows some period cars parked in front of United Witch Hazel Distillers in Trumbull, Connecticut. Going by the trees, it's either late fall or early spring.

Here's a little bit about witch hazel and the fate of this factory from Trumbull, which was published by Arcadia Publishing in 2004:
"Witch hazel, an alcohol-based lotion used to treat bruises, sprains and minor skin problems, was produced in Trumbull for over half a century. Located on the site of the former Tousey Shirt Factory on Broadway in Upper Long Hill, the witch hazel operation began in 1923 when the Stepney Witch Hazel Company, owned by Chester G. Emack, purchased the property. They Hoyt Brothers, Inc. continued to operate at the site from 1935 until 1951, when Humphreys Pharmaceutical Company of Rutherford, New Jersey, took over. ... Operating from November to May, the company manufactured 1,000 gallons of witch hazel per day and as many as 185,000 gallons per season. ... Disaster struck the United Witch Hazel Distillers on November 1, 1974. A spark from a defective switch to an electrical pump connecting two alcohol tanks caused a flash fire. The first, which broke out three days into the processing season, resulted in a total estimated loss of $325,000. ... The factory was demolished and was never rebuilt."
I wonder if witch hazel was used in the production of Witch Cream.

This card was postmarked in 1973 in Bridgeport, Connecticut, and mailed to Mr. and Mrs. Aldo Del Bene of Yonkers, New York. The short note states: "Hi Bev & Aldo. Having a fine time. Thanks for taking care of things. Best wishes. Love, Mom."

Last up: This unused postcard shows some people who are braver than I standing atop the "Frankenstein Trestle," across the Crawford Notch in the White Mountains of New Hampshire.

First reaction: "Nope, nope, nope, nope."

According to the Wikipedia page for Hart's Location, New Hampshire: "In 1875, the Portland and Ogdensburg Railroad completed its line up through Crawford Notch. Passengers thrilled to traverse the Frankenstein Trestle, 520 feet (158 meters) long and 85 feet (26 meters) above the ravine floor, and then the Willey Brook Bridge, 400 feet (122 meters) long and 94 feet (29 meters) high."

The line was abandoned in 1983, but parts of it are still used for the Conway Scenic Railroad. One of its excursions goes across the Frankenstein Trestle.

Here are some 2012 views of the trestle from photographer and blogger Erin Paul Donovan.

No comments:

Post a Comment