Friday, December 17, 2010

TV City Motel

This great linen postcard extols the virtues of the T V City Motel on Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood. Looks like a great place, and with free tickets to shows, who could ask for more? Well, you could ask for being across the street from the World's Largest Bowling Alley, and you'd get that too!

Friday, December 3, 2010

50,000 Employees

The largest group photo I've ever seen -- 50,000 employees of the Ford Motor Company. Can you beat that?

Friday, October 22, 2010

Big Fish

Here's the big fish hole at the "Wacky Golf" miniature golf course in Myrtle Beach, SC.

The back reads, "The entire family can enjoy a new and delightful game of carpet golf in an unusual setting." If you want to know more than you ever need to about the history of miniature golf, here's a great link:

Friday, October 8, 2010

Seniors and Drugs

This one is unintentionally funny (the best kind!) It's the interior of the West Mall, in Phoenix, Arizona.

According to the back, the spacious enclosed Mall, 1,000 feet long, offers a constant comfortable temperature, winter and summer. Park style benches and lush landscaping afford the shoppers rest and relaxation during their visits to the center.

The funny part is the hoarde of senior citizens loitering around outside the Pharmacy. They're probably its biggest customers, and they want to stay close by!

The Winnie Vee

An awesome linen motel card. All the better because the back says that the Winnie Vee has "the state's finest tile baths."

Wonder Cave

You're HERE...THIS IS IT! The Texas Wonder Cave is a natural cavern formed by an earthquake a long time ago.

This roadside attraction still exists today, with several rides and of course a tour of the cave. Check out the rave (and not-so-rave) reviews:

Friday, September 10, 2010

L'Shana Tova -- Happy New Year

The Jewish New Year high holidays are here...Rosh Hashanah has just passed, and Yom Kippur begins at sundown next Friday night. May it be a year of happiness, growth, tolerance and peace.
The greeting cards above were published somewhere around 1900-1920 by the Williamsburg Art Company. Each has the Hebrew inscription "L'Shana Tova Tikatavu" which roughly translates into "May you be inscribed in the Book of Life for a good year." The other wording on the postcards is in the Yiddish language, however I have translations for only a few of the over 100 different cards in my collection. Any Yiddish speakers out there want to translate?

Friday, August 13, 2010

Paramount Soda Shop

A great linen postcard with a full-on view of the Paramount Soda Shop, with some obvious photo cropping around the edges.

Here's what the back says: "To every Guest who comes through our doors we say "Welcome." It is our pleasure to serve you with quality food products..."

Friday, August 6, 2010

No Heat

This real photo postcard is of a street in Bingham, Maine. The owner of the postcard did not write any message on the back or mail the card, but he (or she) did take time to denote the two hotels in town, along with an indication of "My Room - No Heat." Maine can be very cold in the winter, so who can blame him for complaining?

Thursday, July 29, 2010

The Morrison Hotel, Chicago, Until 1965

This postcard shows the Morrison Hotel of Chicago, with a nice "x" marks the spot showing "our room."

The hotel was 46 stories high and stood 506 feet above the sidewalk, and every room had a bath, circulating ice water, and grille-protected servidor until 1965, when it became the largest building ever to have been demolished up to that date.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Tel Aviv Beach, circa 1971

Here's a nice view of the beach in Tel Aviv, Israel, from 1971. I'm posting it in honor of our son, who just returned from there this week after volunteering in a free health clinic for 5 months (and living a 15 minute walk from the beach!).

The back of this postcard has a very interesting message written by the sender, who was apparently non-Jewish but observant about the atmosphere in the country several years after the Six Day War in 1967. She says "there is a wonderful feeling of optimism here, despite the war, for the Israeli knows where he is going -- so different from the Western world!.." Regardless of our religious or political views, this "real" artifact of social history is intriguing!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Beautiful Post Offices of the Past

The United States Post Office building in Augusta, Maine, was designed by Mifflin Bell. Built of masonry and granite, it is a rare example of Victorian-era architecture in Maine. When first opened in 1890, the Portland Transcript called 295 Water Street “one of the most picturesque public buildings that the government has bestowed upon any city in the Union.” Built of Hallowell granite and complete with a corner tower, Roman arches, a winding staircase, and 32,000 square feet of space, it was built in response to the growth of Augusta’s publishing industry. It served as the city’s main post office until the 1960s. The original building, a classic example of American architectural style Richardsonian Romanesque, was altered in 1910, making the tower the center point, then again in the mid-twentieth century, adding a south wing. Now known as The Olde Federal Building, it was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1974.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Traffic on the Turnpike

The Turnpike ride at HersheyPark, Hershey, Pennsylvannia. The traffic is at the tollbooth, waiting to get on the ride --a half-mile tour in a little sports car.

Drive safely!

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Summer Time on the Beach

The "newest, most beautiful Oceanfront Motel" in Miami Beach. Ready for vacation?

Friday, June 18, 2010

Youngun's in the Hot Tub

Here's a postcard advertising the Desert Holiday Motel in Desert Hot Springs, CA. There's nothing like a picture of senior citizens uncomfortably close to each other in a hot tub to help sell the wonders of this resort!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Big Ol' Buffalo

The Jamestown Buffalo was erected in 1959, the brainchild of the Jamestown, North Dakota Chamber of Commerce. It's 46 feet long and 26 feet high. The statue is unchallenged as the World's Largest buffalo. According to the the "RealND project" (, every year thousands of motorists stop to visit this most famous buffalo - taking home fond memories and a one-of-a-kind photo opportunity.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

XIT Ranch Motel, Dalhart, Texas

According to the back, only three blocks to downtown! Inidividually controlled, refrigerated air, tiled showers, wall-to-wall carpeting, room television and controlled heat. AAA approved.

Note how the all-important TV was incorporated into the sign.

The XIT Ranch was a real cattle ranch in the Texas panhandle, operating from 1885 to 1912. It was 3 million acres big, and it was given by the state of Texas to landowners who owned the spot in Austin where the state wanted to build its capitol, as a trade.

Friday, May 21, 2010

The Pit - Revere Beach

This photograph is from inside the "Nautical Gardens" area of the amusement park at Revere Beach, Massachusetts. Postmarked in 1911, the postcard shows a turntable, which rotated and as it increased in speed threw people off to the edges. A viewer's gallery allowed people to watch as others tried to stay on. Many of these fun-house buildings at amusement parks were made entirely of wood and suffered many fires that burned them to the ground. Additionally, they may not have been especially safe, but in those days people just took the bumps and bruises in stride, pre-our litigious society.

Oh oh! Look what happened to the Pit, on August 28th, 1918 (as reported in the Lewiston, Maine Daily Sun.....

Monday, May 17, 2010

Post Office - Waterville, Maine

This beautiful post office, designed by Treasury Architect James Knox Taylor, was built in 1911. The building was placed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1977 and was sold at auction in 1980 for $112,000. It is now occupied by several businesses including the Mid-Maine Chamber of Commerce and Mainely Brews Tavern.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Mother's Day

Handwritten on the back of this postcard made at home: "My dear Mother, around 1909/10"

Happy Mother's Day!

Big Guy with Axe

This mammoth statue of the mythological, legendary giant Paul Bunyon is in Bangor, Maine. It pays tribute to the men that made this most northerly section of the country (and my home state) famous for its lumber industry.

Other statues of Paul Bunyan were erected in Bemidji, Minnesota, Rumford, Maine, Brainerd, Minnesota, Westwood, California, Del Norte County, California, St. Ignace, Michigan, Ossineke, Michigan, Enchanted Forest Water Safari, New York, and in Eau Claire, Wisconsin, Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin, and Minoqua, Wisconsin.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Making a Family Portrait

This family portrait includes everyone, even the dog. This card is an outstanding example of how you could "do it yourself," by taking a photograph and then developing it on postcard stock yourself. The firsthand account of the message writer, misspellings and all, tells the story:

"Dear Nephew, Received your card Monday, was glad to here from you. Hope your papa is well again. We got home OK Sunday. Hope you did. We have 84 little chick's. Now don't get scard at these pictures, i did this work, it was my first work. Floyd was busy and I was ancious to see the pictures so i did this work. i got them to dark. I did not print many because they are not good will print more later + send you + your mama some more later we are quite busy."

There is no postmark and the card wasn't mailed, so we don't know when it is from. We get a clue from looking at the box where the stamp would go, however. We can see it's AZO paper, which was an early Kodak paper product. When all the triangles are pointing up in the corners, we know the paper was produced from 1904-1918, a good indicator of age.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Weechi Wachee Springs

This roadside attraction about an hour north of Tampa, Florida began operating in 1947. The main feature of the park, which included a natural spring, was the Mermaid Theater, featuring lovely ladies who frolicked underwater, using special air hoses to breath. The place was at its most popular in the 50's and 60's when elaborately staged underwater shows regularly played to sold out crowds.
Today, the park is run as a state park, and there's water slides and flume ride. And the mermaids live on, since mermaids live forever.
Check out this video:

Friday, April 2, 2010

Another Fine Dining Establishment

In Bowling Green, KY, have lunch at Mayhew's, advertised on the back as Bowling Green's "Newest and Finest Restaurant, specializing in Broiled Steaks, Chops, and Fine Sea Foods."

(Sorry about the lack of recent posts. I was on vacation for two weeks!)

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

A Pair O' Ramas

In order to make anything sound catchier in the 50's and 60's marketers could just add the suffix "-rama" to it, and all of a suddent it sounded much cooler. The top postcard is the Bowl-a-Rama Bowling Lanes in South Portland, Maine. A cinderblock building with an empty parking lot is much more inviting with -Rama tacked onto the end.
The bottom postcard is a barge-based exhibit by the New York Trap Rock Corporation, one of the country's largest producers of crushed stone. Yep, there's no way you can generate interest in the wonder of crushed stone unless you throw in a little -Rama to liven it up!

Monday, March 1, 2010

Groovy, Baby, Groovy!

A postcard Austin Powers would have sent. The groovy 1960's border clashes completely with the stately architecture of the Tower Bridge, which opened in 1894, but it certainly helps date this postcard!

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!

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Hi Everyone!

I have been an active postcard collector for over 10 years. I've amassed many cards on a number of different topics, and it's time to share.

I've always tried to figure out for myself why postcard collecting is so fascinating. Partly, it's the thrill of the hunt, partly it's the idea that I'm taking care of original, historical artifacts that are worthy of preservation. With the postcards that show the places I've lived or visited, it's the reminiscence of past times along with the bittersweet notion that you can remember but you can't go back.

Postcards are appealing because they go beyond the original intention of someone sending a quick message to someone else, along with a picture. Over time, the pictures document the culture, the styles, the sociology of the age, and the messages on the other side document what was important to people, what they were like, and the spirit of the times. Some of the most fascinating images to me are the ones that over time have become ironic -- a brand new car model that to us looks ugly and dated, or a motel proudly advertised that would be your absolute last choice today.

What you'll find here will mostly be weighted towards my collecting areas of interest. They include the following places:
  • Portland, Maine
  • Old Orchard Beach
  • Manchester, New Hampshire
  • The Berlin Turnpike in Connecticut
  • New York City

and the following other topics:

  • Amusement Parks and Roller Coasters
  • World's Fairs
  • Offices and Office Equipment
  • Music -- Advertising and Band Photos
  • Hotels, Motels, Diners and Roadside Attractions
Every card is from my personal collection. I'll comment on the images as I include them, and I invite your comments as well. I'll shoot for at least one new entry a week, and we'll see how it goes.