Thursday, September 21, 2017

If this is Thursday it must be postcards, 317

Mount Rushmore, 1937

Although there was a postcard Thursday about Mount Rushmore on 21 August 2014, I am putting up another one now because every so often I am lucky enough to find a series of postcards with old pictures that tell a story.  This week four cards shared are from Mount Rushmore, South Dakota.  All four cards were found at the Mount Rushmore gift shop.  All have black and white photographs from the Denver Public Library Western History Collection and are Impact, Designed and Distributed in the U.S.A., printed in Korea publications.  The card above has the identifier #26383 at the upper left on the reverse.  Not all the heads had been completed when this picture was taken in September 1937 for the unveiling of the Lincoln face.  The cards show the progress of the monument from the bare mountain face to the completed project and include some of the workers as well.  The fifth card is a modern photograph of a worker cleaning the surface of one of the heads.

Mount Rushmore, ca 1923

This second card shows Mount Rushmore before work on the sculpture was started by Sculptor Gutzon Borglum.  The photograph dates to about 1923.   On the reverse, upper left, is #26384.

The Lakota Souix called the mountain, “The Six Grandfathers.”  Among American settlers it was known variously as Cougar Mountain, Sugarloaf Mountain, Slaughterhouse Rock and Keystone Cliffs.  There are at least two stories about how the mountain got its current name of Mount Rushmore.  Charles E. Rushmore (1857-1931) was a New York businessman and attorney who visited the Black Hills of South Dakota in 1885 to check titles and properties of an eastern mining company owned by James Wilson concerning the Etta tin mine.  

In one story he is said to have made friends with the miners and prospectors.  When he asked what the name of the great granite peak was he was told it did not have a name but it would be called Rushmore from then on.  The other story related by rancher, Jerry Urbanek, is that Rushmore went to the Black Hills each year to hunt big game.  One day he asked the name of the mountain and was told it was called Slaughterhouse Rock.  Rushmore joked that his frequent trips gave him the right to have the mountain named after himself.   More or less as a joke the locals started called it Mount Rushmore.  Forty years later in 1925, Rushmore made the largest single contribution of funds, $5,000, towards Borglum’s sculpture on the mountain.  The United States Board of Geographic Names officially recognized the name Mount Rushmore in 1930. 

Mount Rushmore, in process, ca 1934

This third card with a photograph from the early 1930s shows the beginnings of the project.  It has #26380 on the reverse.

Originally Borglum planned to put Jefferson to the left of Washington but the lack of carvable stone and the poor quality of the rock led to the removal of the partially completed head in 1934.  The white section on the stone next to Washington shows where the uncompleted Jefferson head was removed.  Construction on the monument began in 1927 with the faces completed between 1934 and 1939.   Borglum had planned to depict the figures from head to waist.  After he died in March 1941 his son, Lincoln Borglum took over as leader of the construction but due to lack of funding the project was forced to end in October 1941. 

Mount Rushmore with some of the almost 400 workers, ca 1941

The fourth card from about 1941 has the number #26381 and shows some of the almost 400 workers who spent 14 years creating Borglum’s sculpture known as the “Shrine of Democracy.”  Gutzon Borglum’s son, Lincoln, is shown at the far right of the second row.

The mammoth size of these heads, 60 feet or 18 meters, is shown on this fifth card with a modern photograph showing a worker plugging natural fissures in the rock face.  New improved sealant has also replaced material used by Borglum in the 1930s.  This postcard has RP427 on the reverse and is from the South Dakota Department of Tourism, 2015.

This summer Bob and I decided to drive across the country to Marietta, Ohio, where my son and his family live, instead of flying.  We planned to visit parks and monuments as part of the trip and also stop in Salt Lake City, Utah to visit with Bob's son and his family.  It had been 17 years since I last visited Mount Rushmore.  We didn’t see any mountain goats near the monument this time but despite the extremely hot weather we did walk part way around and took several pictures from different angles.  The visitor center area includes Borglum’s workshop with models of the sculptures.

Mount Rushmore, 2017

There is a half-mile loop trail and boardwalk in the front of the mountain that we walked.  Behind the heads is a chamber with a vault holding 16 porcelain enamel panels with the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, biographies of the four presidents and Borglum and the history of the U.S.  The chamber and vault were installed in 1998 as part of a planned “Hall of Records.”  There is a trail up around the back to where the chamber is located, but it was too hot to try that hike the day we were there.  The Hall of Records has not been completed as yet. 

 Somewhat by accident we spotted this marker along the loop trail.

Inside Gutzon Borglum's workroom with models of the presidents

Inside the workshop there are models of what the sculptures were to look like.  Due to lack of funding, only the heads were ever completed on the mountain.

Gutzon Borglum by Lincoln Borglum

For additional information and pictures, see:

21 August 2014, Beware of the Rug, Thursday postcard -- Search:  Mount Rushmore

Thursday, September 14, 2017

If this is Thursday it must be postcards, 316

Irma Hotel aka Buffalo Bill’s hotel in the Rockies, 1902

Continuing from the theme of last week’s postcard is this new card using a vintage photograph the Buffalo Bill Hotel, otherwise known as the Irma Hotel, in Cody, Wyoming, published by Shoshone Distributing Co. Inc.  The original photograph comes from the Park County Archives.   It has the identifying code, PC-SHO 075 at the lower left on the reverse side of the card.

The hotel is still open for business today as both a hotel and restaurant.  It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1973.  Built by William (Buffalo Bill) Cody, it opened in 1902 and is named after his daughter, Irma.  The hotel quickly became a social center for the town of Cody.   Under pressure from creditors Buffalo Bill signed the hotel over to his wife, Louisa, in 1913.  After Cody’s death in 1917 the property was foreclosed and sold to Barney Link who sold it back to Louisa within a year.  Louisa kept the hotel until she died in 1925 at which time new owners, Henry and Pearl Newell, took over expanding the hotel and building an annex in the 1930s.  Pearl died in 1965.  The hotel collection of Buffalo Bill memorabilia was given to the Buffalo Bill Historical Center and proceeds of the estate were used as an endowment for the museum. 

For additional information, see:

Thursday, September 7, 2017

If this is Thursday it must be postcards, 315

Buffalo Bill Cody & Annie Oakley

This modern day postcard found in the gift shop of the Buffalo Bill museum, Cody, Wyoming, shows pictures of western legend Buffalo Bill Cody and sharp shooter, Annie Oakley together with a photograph by Dewey Vanderhoff of the Buffalo Bill sculpture titled “The Scout or Buffalo Bill – The Scout” by Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney.  Shoshone Distributing Co. Inc. of Cody, Wyoming published the card that has an identifying number of #67364. 

The statue in the center of the card was dedicated in 1924 and is located at the end of Sheridan Avenue in Cody, Wyoming not far from the Buffalo Bill Historical Center.  It stands on a large stone base that represents nearby Cedar Mountain where Cody wished to be buried.  He was buried at Lookout Mountain in Colorado instead. 

Even though Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney was persuaded by Cody’s niece, Mary Jester Allen, to sculpt the piece she also funded most of the approximately $50,000 cost out of her own pocket.  Later she would go on to establish the Whitney Museum of American Art in 1931.  Her son, Cornelius Vanderbilt Whitney funded the establishment of the Whitney Museum of Western Art at the Buffalo Bill Historical Center.  The statue was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1974. 

Phoebe Ann Mosey (1860-1926) who was born in Ohio became known as Annie Oakley and was an American sharpshooter and exhibition shooter.  Annie was one of nine children born to Jacob and Susan Mosey.  Her father died when she was 6 years old and she began trapping before she was 7 and shooting then hunting by age 8 in order to help support her siblings and widowed mother.  Because of poverty Annie did not have opportunities to regularly attend school until she was in later childhood and as an adult.  When she was 15 years old she won a shooting competition with Frank E. Butler, a traveling show marksman and dog trainer who had offered $100 to anyone who could beat him. 

She later married Butler and they joined Buffalo Bill’s Wild West show in 1885.  Annie adopted the stage name of Oakley when she began performing with Butler.  Just barely 5 feet tall, in advertisements for the Wild West Show she was called “Little Sure Shot.”  One of her more famous tricks was to split a playing card held on edge and put several holes in it before it touched the ground.  She performed this trick from 90 feet away using a .22 caliber rifle.  She believed it was important for women to know how to use a gun and it is estimated that during her lifetime she taught approximately 15,000 women how to do so.

William Frederick “Buffalo Bill” Cody (1846-1917) was born in Le Claire, Iowa Territory, lived for a time in Toronto, Ontario Canada, moved to the Kansas Territory and was in Denver, Colorado at the time of his death.  His story has many similarities to that of Annie Oakley including the fact that both came from Quaker families; although, it does not appear that Cody was raised a Quaker.  When Cody was 11 years old his father died and he began working to help support the family.  He claimed to have been a trapper, bullwhacker, Pony Express rider, wagon master, stagecoach driver, and hotel manager.  Historians, however, have not been able to document all of the claims and suspect that he may have fabricated some as publicity for his traveling Wild West show.   He got his nickname of Buffalo Bill when he contracted to supply Kansas Pacific Railroad workers with buffalo meat. 

When Cody was 23 years old he met the writer Ned Buntline.  Buntline published a story based on Cody’s adventures and his own imagination that was serialized in the Chicago Tribune.  There were subsequent sequels by Buntline and others beginning in the 1870s and continuing on into the early 20th century.  The Buffalo Bill Wild West traveling show and the legend were born in part due to these stories.  Cody took his show around the United States, Great Britain and Europe where audiences were entranced with being able to view a piece of the American West.  Performers acted out Pony Express rides; Indian attacks on wagon trains, and stagecoach robberies.  The finale was usually an Indian attack on a settler’s cabin with Cody and a group of cowboys riding in to defend the settler and his family.  Many of the re-enactments from this Wild West show later found their way into 20th century cinema and literature. 

For lots more additional information about both Annie Oakley and Buffalo Bill Cody, see:

Thursday, August 31, 2017

If this is Thursday it must be postcards, 314

Hoary Marmot
[photo:  Ronald G. Warfield]

When I saw this new postcard with a photograph of a hoary marmot by Ronald G. Warfield, #MORA-2145, I had to get it.  I enjoy seeing these creatures and listening to their sharp, piercing whistles when we are out hiking. 

This big variety of marmot lives in the mountains of the northwest and is the largest of the North American ground squirrels sometimes called rock chucks.  Other types of marmots that live in this area are the Olympic, and the Vancouver Island marmots.  The hoary marmot males are significantly larger than the females.  Marmots hibernate in the winter and need to double or triple their weight during the summer when they forage on grasses and flowers.  We have seen them in Mt. Rainier National Park when we have been hiking and often they have their noses in fields of lupine, poking up to look around every once and while before returning to dine on the flowers.  The average size of a fully grown adult is about 22 lbs or 10 kg but some have been known to get as heavy as 30 lbs. 

We saw several marmots in Mt. Rainier National Park last summer and took a few pictures. 

Hoary marmot

We just returned from a road trip that included visiting Yellowstone National Park where we saw yellow-bellied marmots.  Smaller, 11 lbs or 5 kg being the average weight, than the hoary marmot but they still like to sit up the same way and pose for photos.  This one does have some yellow but is mostly dark reddish brown.  It was sitting near a hot thermal pool that smelled of sulfur; however, that didn’t seem to bother him at all.  Here are some pictures of a yellow-bellied marmot to compare with the hoary marmot above.  As can been seen they both like to hold the same pose to look around and both have roundish bodies and tails.

 Yellow-bellied marmot

We also came across other similar marmot-like animals in the form of prairie dogs in a large prairie dog town near Devil's Tower and ground squirrels at a rest stop in Montana.  Both are smaller than marmots but all live in underground burrows. 

Prairie dog town

 Prairie dogs

I had never seen ground squirrels before.  Unlike regular squirrels that make homes in trees these live in a burrow.  Since their home was right at the rest stop and they were used to people and hand-outs; therefore, they were a not shy about begging for food.

 Ground squirrels

For additional information, see:

Thursday, August 24, 2017

If this is Thursday it must be postcards, 313

Fay Fuller, 1890 – first woman to climb Mt. Rainier

This is a new postcard made from an 1890 photograph of Fay Fuller who was the first woman to climb Mt. Rainier.  We found the card at the Visitor Center at the campground and trailhead to Silver Falls in the Mt. Rainier National Park.  It is produced the R. & B. Warfield Photography of Eatonville, Washington.  The number stamped at the upper right on the reverse of the card is D10692.  The photograph is from the Washington State Historical Society.

In the picture Fay Fuller is wearing her climbing garb consisting of heavy flannels (the bloomers and skirt), woolen hose, warm mittens and goggles.  To make the climb she blackened her face with charcoal to reduce glare from the sun, drove brads into her shoes, and is carrying two rolled blankets and provisions for 3 days.  Her “trekking pole” is an “alpenstock” made from a shovel handle.  She had resolved to climb until exhausted.  It is hard to nearly impossible for me to think of climbing a mountain or even hiking a trail in this outfit. 

The late 1800s and early 1900s was an era of intrepid women explorers and adventurers and Fay Fuller seems to fit the mold of such an individual.  This remarkable woman was born 1869 in New Jersey.  When she was 12 years old her family moved to Tacoma, Washington where she began to explore the wilderness.  After completing high school she started to teach school at age 15.  It was while she was teaching in the town of Yelm that she met P.B. Van Trump, one of the first climbers of Mt. Rainier, who encouraged her to climb the mountain.

In 1887 she made her first attempt to climb Mt. Rainier and reached about 8,600 feet or 2,600 m.  She set a goal to make to the top and in 1890 she was invited by Van Trump to join a climbing party for second try at it.  On August 10, 1890, Fuller and four other climbers reached the highest summit; Columbia Crest, and she became the first woman to have scaled the 14,400 ft mountain.  She refused any special help and spent the night in the steamy summit crater.  When the next climbing party found some of her hairpins they joked that the pins proved that a woman had really made it to the summit.  She is reported as saying. “I have accomplished what I have always dreamed of and fearer impossible.”

Fay gave up teaching to become a journalist and was the first female reporter for the Tacoma Ledger.  After her successful climb of Mt. Rainier she had wrote a column, “Mountain Murmurs,” that covered mountaineering social events near Paradise, Washington, and featured accounts of early Rainier climbers.  She helped found the Washington Alpine Club, 1891, the Tacoma Alpine Club, 1893, and the Mazamas mountaineering club in Portland, Oregon, 1894.  She became an editor for Tacoma papers and in 1900 moved on to Chicago, Illinois, Washington, D.C., and New York City to continue her newspaper career.  While in New York she met and married Fritz von Briesen, who was an attorney.  They later moved to Santa Monica, California where she died in 1958.  Fay Peak in Mt. Rainier National Park is named for her.

For more information, see:

Bragg, Lynn (2010) More than Petticoats:  Remarkable Washington Women, (2nd ed.).  Globe Pequot.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

If this is Thursday it must be postcards, 312

Church of Our Lady of Penha, Rio de Janerio, Brazil

Recently Bob and I took a short trip to Orcas Island and while we were wandering around in the Village one afternoon we stepped into a small secondhand shop where this photo postcard caught my eye and curiosity.  It is an unused card with photo credits to Wilson Gelatti.  It is an Impresso o Brasil por:  Ediotra Litoarte Ltda.  This Roman Catholic Church is known as Ingreja de Nossa Senhora da Penha or in English, the Church of Our Lady of Penha.  Card identifiers on the reverse of the card:  RPC  RJ-031.

Archbishop José Bothelho Matos of São Salvador da Bahia, had the church built in 1742 as an extension to his summer palace.  After his death in 1767 it was left to the Archdiocese.  Between 1813 and 1916 various Catholic brotherhoods used the church and grounds.  Today it is the property of the Archdiocese.  The church, located on the end of the Itapagipe Peninsula faces the Bay of All Saints.  The National Historic and Artistic Heritage Institute added the church and the palace to its listings in 1941.

Constructed in stone and brick masonry the church exterior is Roccoco style decorated with pieces of azulejos.  The church has a single tower.  Inside are three Baroque-style altars and there is an elaborate painting by an unknown artist in the nave.  The church and palace grounds also include lovely gardens.  The palace is connected to the church by a roofed gallery.  Unlike other churches in the area it is surrounded by beaches and in a tamarind tree lined residential neighborhood. 

For additional information, see:

Thursday, August 10, 2017

If this is Thursday it must be postcards, 311

The Breakers, Newport, Rhode Island – facing the Atlantic Ocean

This unused, deckle-edged color postcard was labeled “International” published for John M. Twomey Distributing Co., of Newport, Rhode Island using Curteich® 3-D natural color reproduction.  Deckle-edged cards were popular from the 1930s to the 1950s.  The card also has B-3 and D-14406 as an identifiers located in the upper right of the reverse where the stamp is to be placed.  The blurb at the lower left on the reverse describes the picture as “The Breakers facing the Atlantic Ocean, Cornelius Vanderbilt Mansion, Newport, R.I.  Open to visitors, May thru October, under auspices of the Preservation Society of Newport County.”

Built between 1893-1895 as the summer home for Cornelius Vanderbilt II, this 70-room mansion was designed by Richard Morris Hunt with interior decoration by Jules Allard and Sons and Ogden Codman.  It is a five-story structure with 62,482 square feet (5,804.8 m) of living space.  The estate covers 14 acres with the house occupying about 1 acre.  It sits on the cliffs overlooking the ocean.  Although not visible on the card there are sculpted iron gates at the Ochre Point Avenue entrance, and 30-foot high walkway gates as part of a 12-foot high limestone and iron fence that borders the property except on the ocean side.  It is one of the most visited house museums in American with almost 500,000 visitors last year.
At the time Vanderbilt purchased the property in 1885 there was an existing mansion that burned in 1892.  Following the fire Vanderbilt commissioned Richard Morris Hunt to rebuild it in splendor.  The house was to be as fireproof as possible with steel trusses and no wooden parts.  The boiler was to be in an underground space below the front lawn and located away from the house.  The interior designers used imported marble, rare woods and mosaics from all around the globe.  This mansion is considered a representation of the “Gilded Age” and was the largest most opulent house in the Newport area built to rival the European aristocratic lifestyle. 

When Vanderbilt died in 1899 the estate was left to his widow, Alice Gwynne Vanderbilt who lived until 1934.  At her death it passed to her youngest daughter, Countess Gladys Szechenyi, who had always loved the estate and had no other American property and whose other siblings had no interest in it.

Like European mansions The Breakers also has formally landscaped gardens with clipped hedges and tree-shaded foot-paths. Flowering plants like rhododendrons, alyssum, ageratum and dogwoods are among the plants that grow in beds that make designs or screen the grounds from street traffic and provide seclusion.

For detail information about the rooms and furnishings and photographs of the grounds and the interior, see: