Thursday, September 26, 2013

If this is Thursday it must be postcards, 109

Second Avenue, Seattle, Washington, 1906 -- tinted version

Second Avenue in downtown Seattle was the heart of the shopping district when this photograph was taken in 1906.  As a result there are several cards of this era showing the street from different angles.  A couple of other cards have been previously shared.  The sidewalks are crowded and the street has streetcars and trolleys as well as horse drawn vehicles and a couple of automobiles.  The black & white picture above has been partially tinted but still mostly grayscale.  

Black & White version of the photo with the billboard advertisement

A famous northwest photographer, Asahel Curtis, took the photo.  The Curtis family had come to Seattle in 1888 from Minnesota when Asahel was about 14 years old.  Both Asahel and his brother Edward were photographers.  Edward documented the traditional life of the native people while Asahel photographed Washington’s natural resources, industries, early cities, historic events and the general population.  In 1897 he left Seattle to spend two years in the Yukon recording the Gold Rush.  Asahel was also one of the founders of the Mountaineers and even led climbs up Mount Rainier.   The Asahel Curtis Nature Trail named in his honor is located near Denny Creek just west of Snoqualmie Pass.  He died in 1941 leaving over 60,000 images that are now held in trust by the Washington Historical Society, Tacoma, Washington.

For more information about Asahel Curtis, his life and work, see:

There are a couple of interesting things about this card.  It is unused, has a divided back, but was pasted in an album so the reverse is somewhat damaged.  It was published by the Globe Novelty Company of Los Angeles, California but printed in Japan.  I have seen several of these old cards printed in Germany but this is the first one from Japan.  In the process of tinting, I think, the advertising billboard has been left as a blank box.  Another copy of this exact picture shown above has the advertisement for Wilson Whiskey.  Wilson's adopted the slogan "That's All" in 1904.  The Wilson Distillery was later bought by Seagrams.  The card is not numbered but does have the official Alaska Yukon Pacific Exposition of 1909 logo at the upper left corner.

I think I counted about 9 streetcars and perhaps one cable car or trolley in the picture and began to wonder when they first started using them in Seattle.  The first streetcar line was built by Frank H. Osgood in 1884, was horse drawn, and ran along Second Avenue.  It was a huge success.  Osgood changed to electric streetcars in 1889.  A second type of similar transportation was the cable car constructed in 1887 by J.M. Thompson and Fred Sander that ran from Pioneer Square to Leschi Park by way of Yesler and Jackson Street.  The cable car used a pulley like a ski lift.   By 1898 there were approximately 22 different independent lines that connected business and suburban areas.  Many of the city buses today still follow these routes. 

The firm of Stone & Webster began quietly acquiring the independent lines and founded the Electric Railway Company.  There was an outcry and concern about the creation of a monopoly but the company managed to win a 40-year city franchise in 1900.  Stone & Webster also invested in other lines linking Tacoma, Seattle and Everett.  Eventually the consolidated company became Puget Sound Power, Light & Traction Company, the forerunner of Puget Power and Washington Energy. 

For additional information, please see:

As a family history note, at the time he met and later married Maggie Landaas, Edd Lorig worked on the streetcar line that ran from West Seattle to Ballard.  Edd hung the lantern on the back car and Maggie would watch the light on the streetcar as it pulled away after he had seen her safely home in the evenings.  Edd and Maggie were married in Seattle in 1894. 

Edd Lorig & Maggie Landaas, 1894

Thursday, September 19, 2013

If this is Thursday it must be postcards, 108

Washington State Woman’s Bldg., 1909

The central building shown on this postcard from the Alaska Yukon Pacific Exposition held in Seattle, Washington the summer of 1909 was then the Washington State Woman’s building but is now known as Cunningham Hall.  It was built for the Fair in 1909 and later named for Imogen Cunningham a 1907 graduate of the University of Washington who later went on to become one the first female professional photographers.  She began her photographic career taking pictures of plants for the botany department as a way to help pay for her education.   She graduated with a degree in chemistry but is best known for her photographs; most of flowers and plants, human portraits, hands and nude studies.  She worked for both Edward Curtis and Ansel Adams two well-known western photographers who had their own studios. 

One of the few buildings to survive beyond the Fair, originally in 1909 it was located near where the Chemistry Library and the Molecular Engineering and Sciences buildings are on the University of Washington campus today.  In 2009 the building was successfully moved to the grassy slope just south of Parrington Hall.  It is the home of the Women’s Center and once functioned as a meeting place for suffragists fighting for women’s voting rights.  It continues to serve women on campus and in the community.  

I went to the University campus and walked to the present site to take a couple of photos of the way the building looks today.  It is a lovely old wooden structure that has been restored, painted a soft yellow color with white trim and preserved in near pristine condition.  It was fun to see something 100 years old looking so timeless and beautiful with a bed of roses in front, a garden in back and green grass all around.   One change I noted was the little annex to the side of the building shown on the card is now a series of stairs or fire escape with metal fencing instead of the wooden porch shown on the card.  It also looks as if the front porch roof may have been changed slightly. 

The front of Cunningham Hall, 2013

Cunningham Hall, 2013, taken from approximately the same angle as the postcard

The back of Cunningham Hall, 2013

The card has the AYPE seal in the upper left, is numbered as X101 in the series of official Post Cards for the exposition, is unused, has a divided back, and was published by the Portland Post Card Co., of Seattle, Washington and Portland, Oregon.  There is a notation stating the postage for the United States and Canada as one cent, foreign postage was 2 cents.  This is another example of a black & white photo that has been tinted to appear as a color picture and then published as a color postcard.   The postcard shows the building as white but I am not sure if it was originally white or a soft yellow with white trim as it is today.  The roof seems true to color as it is the same blue-gray depicted on the card. 

The photographer is not credited on the back of the card but is thought to be Frank H. Nowell.  In 1909 Nowell, the official photographer for the Fair, took a picture of several women posed on the building steps and labeled as the Ancient Order of United Workmen members that appears on the site providing historical information about the Women’s Center.  The AOUW was a fraternal order that had mostly male members but did also have a female division.  Another photo taken by Nowell shows the interior of the building, which had wood floors, a fireplace and several wooden chairs including rockers but not much else. 

For more information, please see:

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Hægeland, Norway - class of 1928

Hægeland bible course 1928

Several years ago I took my scanner when I visited Agnes Allpress, the daughter of Gunnie Osmun Gåseflå.  Agnes had many old photos, some unidentified, and gave me permission to make digitized copies.  Some of them I hoped to later identify and others, like this one shown above, do have names under the faces giving us some clue as to the people but no other information.  The photographer is given at the lower right corner as Hangård and the picture seems to be a graduating class in 1928 of individuals who were perhaps training to be teachers.  At first glance I originally thought it was a confirmation class but then realized that the people pictured are much too old for that and look more like a college graduating class of some type.   I do not know how many others in the family may have a copy of this particular picture and post it here hoping that perhaps one of our Norwegian cousins will recognize the photograph and give us more details. I did see several of the farm names that are familiar and connect in different ways to the extended family.

The heading at the top says Bibelkurset på Hægeland 1928 or in English "the Bible Course at Hægeland 1928." It is difficult to read all the names under the pictures but here is a list beginning at the left, top row:

 The church at Hægeland looks somewhat similar to the one at Hornnes and may have been built about the same time.  Once Øvrebø, and Hægeland together with at least part of Vennesla formed one parish. Øvrebø and Hægeland were divided in 1896 and later Hægeland and part of Øvrebø were recombined with Vennesla to form one unit called Vennesla in 1964.   I thought it might be interesting to see the comparisons between the church buildings at Øvrebø, Hægeland and Hornnes.

Hægeland church
Hornnes church

Øvrebø church

The Øvrebø church is a slightly different style as seen in the old sepia tone postcard above.

For a little more information about Hægeland see:ægeland

Thursday, September 12, 2013

If this is Thursday it must be postcards, 107

 Saint Tropez, Côte d'Azur, France


About 100 years ago Saint-Tropez in Southern France looked as it does on this week’s postcard.  The local shipyards built these tartanes or small three-masted ships that could carry 1,000 to 12,000 barrels of goods.  It is possible to see how large these barrels were by comparing them and the people on the dock in the photograph on the card.  The town trade included fishing, cork, wine, and wood.   Today the primary industry is tourism as the town is located in what is commonly referred to as the French Riviera (Côte d'Azur) and very popular with vacationers from all over the globe. 

The photograph was taken by Yvon of Paris and is one of his La Douce France or Sweet France series.  It shows part of the port of Saint-Tropez from the water looking up toward the street and buildings.  The card has a divided back and is unused.  

Two more recent photographs appear in the Wikipedia article about the town and are used here to show the view from the town looking out to the harbor and a panoramic view of the harbor as it is today.  Notice all the pleasure boats in place of the working boats seen on the card.  Also note that the church remains prominent on the horizon today as it did 100 years ago. 



There are colorful stories about the town.  One says that the town took its name from a martyr named Saint Torpes.  According to what I read the legend says that “he was beheaded at Pisa during the reign of Nero, and his body was placed in a rotten boat along with a rooster and a dog.”  The body landed where the town is now.  Another says that after the fall of the Roman Empire in the 9th century pirates repeatedly attacked the area for the next 100 years.  The town changed hands several times and eventually became a small Republic with its own army and fleet.  Two large towers were built as protection.  These towers are still standing today.  In 1558 the city resisted attacks by the Turks and Spaniards.  Eventually, under the rule of Louis XIV, Saint-Tropez became part of France.  

For more information see:

Friday, September 6, 2013

Moran State Park, Orcas Island

Arched gateway to Moran State Park

In 1921 Robert Moran donated over 5,000 acres of land on Orcas Island in the San Juan Islands of Washington for use as a State Park.  The highest point in the park and on the island is Mount Constitution at 2,407 ft or 734 meters.  Charles Wilkes named the mount after the USS Constitution during his expedition of 1838-1842.  The panoramic view from the top is one of the finest to be found anywhere.  On clear days it is possible to see Mount Baker and Mount Rainier, many of the other San Juan Islands as well as several Canadian and American cities. 

In 1930s the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) built many of the trails, roads, bridges and buildings that are still being used in the park today.  Wood and stone found on the island were used as building materials.  The CCC also constructed an observation tower at the top of Mt. Constitution.  The tower was patterned after 12th-century towers and has views from all angles.  Inside the tower there are pictorial information displays telling about the building of the tower and about Robert Moran.  It is possible to climb all the way up to the top, which we did.  It is so solidly built that even I managed to get up to the top and look out without too much difficultly despite my aversion to heights. 

Looking out from the observation tower

 Two views of the observation tower on Mt. Constitution

Part of the forest as we climbed up 

 The forested park contains many old growth trees and about 30 miles of hiking trails through the woods.  The park also has areas for boating, biking, horse riding, and camping.   It is possible to drive almost to the top of Mt. Constitution.  There is a wide, short trail that winds from the parking area up the hillside to the observation tower. 


Although we did not see the variety of wild flowers we have seen on regular hikes, almost everywhere we looked there were these wild Foxglove flowers in full bloom.

This pretty white flower is called Fool’s Onion

We think this one is a Grass Widow.  It grew in patches and was small, only about 6 inches tall.

Hooker’s Onion


 Stopping to let a deer cross the road

Bald eagle on tree top

While on the island we also saw deer, geese, herons and eagles.  The eagles would fly overhead in the morning and late afternoon calling to one another and swooping down to feed.  We would occasionally see five flying together, some were young and others were mature birds with bright white heads.  One eagle would sit on the top branch of a tree not far from our window.

Geese in the early evening
Perhaps at least 50 geese swam in formation in the early evening.  The the sun was just beginning to go down, the light fading and reflections of the trees were in the bay.

Deer Harbor
One small community, Deer Harbor, was an ideal place to stop, enjoy a harbor view, and get an ice cream cone.

There were lots of sailboats too, both large and small.

The seagulls and cormorants waiting patiently with us for the ferry

For more information see:

Thursday, September 5, 2013

If this is Thursday it must be postcards, 106

 Rosario Resort, Orcas Island, Washington, 2013

The postcard this week is from Rosario Resort on Orcas Island in the San Juan Islands of Washington.  John Kaiser took the photo and the card was distributed by Smith-Western Co. of Tacoma, Washington.  The mansion was formerly the home of shipbuilder Robert Moran and currently serves as the centerpiece for the Rosario Resort. 

Bob and I took a short vacation trip to Orcas Island (before the broken leg incident) and toured the mansion museum, attended an piano and organ concert there, and also ate a couple of wonderfully delicious meals in the resort restaurant.   While there I picked up this card and also bought a book, Rosario Yesterdays by Christopher Peacock.  The book has early history together with photographs of the Moran family and the mansion.  Christopher Peacock was the musician who performed at the concert.   He also narrated the history of Rosario complete with photos that were displayed on a large screen while he played the piano and organ.  Many of the pictures used in the book and for the slideshow were taken by Moran who was an amateur photographer.  Upstairs in the mansion museum there is a library, living quarters and one room had examples of his photographic equipment.

Robert Moran and his brothers, Frank, William and Sherman, were born in the mid-1800s in New York and headed west at a young age.  Robert became a wealthy shipbuilder.  When he was in his 40s he became seriously ill and was not expected to live.  He left his business interests to his brothers and bought land on Orcas Island then built this beautiful home.  His health improved and he lived into his 80s, almost twice as long as the doctors expected. 

The interior of the home has beautiful woodwork throughout.  Everything from the floors to the custom closets were designed and made the way a quality shipbuilder would do things.  The architecture is unusual and the size staggering.   It is sometimes called the “Show Place of the San Juan’s.”  The attention to every detail is amazing.  I did not take many pictures but here are a few illustrations of the quality and grandeur of the mansion interior as well as one photo of one of the beautiful hanging planters filled with colorful flowers that were everywhere outside.

Hanging flower planter

Light fixture in the music room

The music room with the organ pipes and grand piano.  
There were two organs upstairs.  One was a "player" organ similar to a player piano that had music rolls but no longer worked as a player instrument.  This was the organ that Christopher Peacock played for the concert.  The other organ was a smaller pump organ. 

Closer view of some of the organ pipes and a little of the woodwork

There are 2,000 pipes for the large organ but these shown in the photo that are visible in the music room are actually just decoration and cover the working pipes that are housed behind them.

Stained or leaded glass window in the music room.

Moran owned a large parcel of land that later became Moran State Park.  While we were visiting the island we went to Mount Constitution located within the park.  A future post will have a little more information about the park and some photos of the views.