Thursday, February 28, 2013

If this is Thursday it must be postcards, 80

 Sheppherd's Dell, Columbia River Highway, Oregon

 Viaduct, Columbia River Highway, Oregon

I am deviating a little this week, as these two cards are absolutely non-standard souvenir cards and couldn’t possibly be mailed due to their size of 2½ inches by 1¾ inch.  The stamp would almost be larger than the little card.   As shown above they are significantly enlarged.  I did think they were interesting, however, and decided to include them in the postcard Thursdays because as souvenir cards they are similar to postcards and the photographs are typical of those found on normal sized postcards.  These pictures are not dated but from the appearance of the automobiles on the top card I would guess they date from the 1920s.

Both pictures are from the historic Columbia River Highway.   The top card shows Shepperds Dell (sometimes written Shepperd’s Dell), a small canyon located in the Columbia River Gorge near Rooster Rock State Park in Oregon.  A creek that includes two fairly substantial waterfalls flows through the dell at this point and posed an engineering challenge during the highway construction phase that resulted in the bridge.  The bridge is usually featured on cards since the topography of the area makes it difficult to photograph the falls.   I did find this picture on Wikipedia that shows part of the creek and one of the waterfalls.

[photo source:]

The second card shows the Crown Point Viaduct on the same highway and a sternwheeler or paddlewheel steamboat on the river.   Steamboats were the most efficient means of transportation on the river during the late 1800s and into the 1900s.  These were passenger vessels and went up and down the Columbia River and its tributaries, the Snake and Willamette Rivers.  The rivers had reefs, sand bars, strong currents and rapids.  They also wind and twist making navigation a challenge.  An experienced riverboat captain could maneuver the steamboats through these obstacles and could land nearly anywhere thus making it the dominant means of travel along the river in this region.  The tradition continues today as modern travel companies still offer cruises along the rivers. 

The Viaduct is a concrete structure of approximately 600 feet in length located near the Vista House viewpoint area.  The viaduct provides a way to continue the highway around the rock formation at Crown Point that proved to be another serious obstacle during the construction of the Highway in 1914.   The Vista House previously underwent a five-year restoration project that was completed in 2005. 

The Columbia River Highway at almost 100 years of age is undergoing significant repairs and improvements that began in 2012 and will continued into 2013.  Without the improvements weight restrictions would have to be imposed and that could prevent buses, RVs and other large vehicles from using the highway.  “The Columbia River highway is one of only two roads in the United States designated as National Historic Landmark, National Scenic Byway, and a National Historic District.”

For more information and a few more pictures please see:

Thursday, February 21, 2013

If this is Thursday it must be postcards, 79

Norge. Fra Gaularfjellet

This color postcard of the Gaular mountain area in Sogn og Fjordane, Norway was published by Mittet.  The message on the card is dated 31 January 1955 and was sent to Petra Lee by the Lee’s friend Edward Olsen.  The picture shows a mountain scene with a cabin and outbuilding perched by a stream.  There is even a hint of a reflection in the quiet pool.


Sogn og Fjordane is the fylke or county just north of Bergen on the west coast of Norway.  The community of Gaular is often referred to as the land of waterfalls (Fosselandet).  Bordered by Askvoll and Førde to the north, Balestrand to the east, Høyanger on the south, and Fjaler to the west Gauler is located in the central part of the county.  The river flows west through the community emptying into the Dalsfjord.  The pictures I have seen of the Gaular River suggest that it is a moderate sized river.  In 1871 salmon stairs were completed along the river making them the oldest such stairs in the world.  There are 17 pools or stages for total of a 36 foot  (11 meter) change in elevation.   It seemed a bit odd to me but an Irishman, William T. Potts, initiated the fish ladder.  At the time the stairs were built an agreement with the local farmers was made to allow them 25 years of free fishing on this stretch of the river.  

This area is one of the designated tourist roads in Norway because of the waterfalls and picturesque scenery.  There are also several cultural attractions dating from the 19th century to present and the countryside has many typical western Norwegian farming communities.  There are hairpin turns on
the steep mountainsides from the top of Gaularfjellet to Vetlefjorden , winding roads and waterfalls. 

See this link for more:

The stamps are from the 1950s series and show King Haakon VII of Norway.   He became King in 1905 when the union with Sweden was dissolved.  King Haakon is the grandfather of the present King of Norway, Harald V.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013


 I have been trying to take long walks mostly in preparation for hiking later in the year but also as a good way to get some much needed current exercise.  A few days ago when it was a really nice day I took my camera and snapped a few photos along the way.  

The view from the top of the hill.

Crocus blooming in the parking strip.

Primroses by the gate.

Garden stone.

The route takes me up and over a steep hill, down to the natural food grocery store and back or it can be extended from there to another store, Metropolitan Market, where I can buy French pastries and put all those pounds back on that the walk is presumably taking off!  The short route is approximately 3 miles the long way adds an additional mile.  Still not quite the 5 miles (8 k) I am hoping to achieve but I think if I add a stop at the library that will do it.   Switching back and forth from block to block or by making a circle and returning on the bike trail instead of the streets can vary the route.  My face gets rosy from the cold and I feel terrific and full of energy when I return home.  I have heard of runners getting this type of feeling but I didn’t know walkers could get it too. 

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Somebody had a birthday!

Somebody had a birthday!

Today was a very special day for one little girl.  She turned one year old and had a real birthday party with balloons, food, cupcakes, games, songs, and presents. 

Happy Birthday little Miss . . .

Thursday, February 14, 2013

If this is Thursday it must be postcards, 78

President Warren G. Harding, 1923

There are a few of these political or famous person postcards in the trunk.  This one above shows the United States President, Warren G. Harding, riding in a car draped with flags and bearing the US presidential seal on the door.  Harding made a tour of the western United States and Canada shortly before his death in 1923.  The tour covered Alaska, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada and Seattle.  President Harding gave a speech at the University of Washington stadium where about 30,000 people attended.  Part of the visit included a stop at the Seattle Press Club and from the looks of the crowd gathered along the sidewalk must have also featured a parade or motorcade of some type.  He had intended to include a speech both in Portland, Oregon and San Francisco, California as part of this western tour but he ended up cancelling those appearances due to failing health.  He did make it all the way to San Francisco on the tour but died there on 23 August 1923. 

The photographer is not identified on this card but another picture from the Museum of History and Industry (MOHAI) that is very similar and taken on the same occasion is dated 27 July 1923 was by the well known local photographer, Frank H. Nowell, who also took the official pictures at the Alaska Yukon Pacific Exposition in 1909.  

President Harding is waving his hat to the crowd; sitting next to him is his wife, Florence.  Her hat and feathers are just barely visible in this photo the one at the history museum more clearly shows her.  The car has a driver and one other person in the front, possibly security detail, and two security men walking on either side of the car at the rear.  I have not been able to identify the two gentlemen sitting in the middle section of the car.  Usually, I think, there would be other local dignitaries riding in the car with the President.

It is an unused postcard so I am not sure if it was originally one of those from I.C. Lee or if it might be something collected by Dick Thompson.  Both were Seattle Policemen and could have probably been involved in the security or traffic detail for the President.   Most of the cards with political themes were I.C. Lee’s.  Since his brother, Hans Østerholt was a political journalist in Norway it seems likely that Lee would get one or two of these cards and send one to his brother keeping the other as a souvenir for himself.  

Please see these links for more about President Harding’s visit to Seattle in 1923:

Friday, February 8, 2013

Orchids -- Keikei

I love orchids and have been growing them for several years.  There is a spot above my kitchen sink that they seem to like so I have some flowers all year round.  Something I have read about but never seen is a keikei.  Keikeis are new little orchid plants that start from a node on a flower spike.  There is even a special keikei paste that can be applied to joints on the spikes to force a keikei to sprout but it is not always successful.  It is pretty rare for a keikei to spontaneously start growing from a spike so you can imagine my excitement when my friend, Bob, asked me to water his orchids and I noticed a keikei growing on one of his plants. 

I took a couple of photos from different angles.  Here above and below it is possible to see the keikei roots, those long silvery green things sticking out from the top of the plant.  Usually they are hanging out at the bottom of the plant like those draped over the lip of the pot. 

This picture above shows a closer view where the roots are below the brand new leaves.  The keikei should have been planted in its own pot before now but we will do that tomorrow and hope that the new little plant will thrive packed in a small container filled with soft moist moss. 

The baby orchid in its new pot

Then one day it will put forth its own flowers and look like this Phalaenopsis or Moth Orchid but probably be all white instead of purple/pink or polka dotted.  

Thursday, February 7, 2013

If this is Thursday it must be postcards, 77

Norge.  Kristiana.  Det kongelige slot /The Royal Palace, Oslo, Norway, ca 1908

As sometimes happens the plainest postcards will yield very interesting facts.  This aerial view of the Royal Palace in Oslo, Norway shows the residence of the royal family and the adjacent park.  It is a black and white photograph that has been tinted but only the red rooftops have been colored in.    Printed on the reverse lower right corner the card is identified as published by Norsk Kunstforlag Chr.  

The reverse side of the card contains a brief message to I.C. Lee from his brother, Hans Østerholt, and is dated 9 August 1908.  Hans was a journalist and political satirist who wrote articles and edited the magazine Hvespen (The Wasp) with a particularly sharp-witted political edge to it.  The message says that it was good that their candidate got a large vote and placed 7th among those who were running.  [If I am reading this correctly, I think it is supposed to be funny.]  He thanks his brother for a recent letter and says that they are doing well and have had a nice summer.  [Here I beg my Norwegian cousins to make necessary corrections in the translation.]   Note that the stamp on the card is one of the post horn stamps shown in last week’s postcard Thursday. 


The Danish born Norwegian architect Hans Ditlev Franciscus (Frants) von Linstow was commissioned by King Charles III of Sweden & Norway to design the palace in 1823.  Although construction on the palace started in 1825 due to budgetary problems and political issues it was not completed until 1849.   Modifications were made as the construction phase proceeded and what was once supposed to be a 2 story building with projecting wings became a less costly 3 story building without the wings.  Later wings were added to the structure to provide additional living space for the royal family.   Significant renovations have been made to the building in recent years.  Public tours are conducted during the summer months.  The palace has 173 rooms and is the official residence of the present Norwegian monarch.

There is more information about the architect and the palace at these sites:,_Oslo

Notice the large open green space or park around the palace.  This park was patterned after the German romantic gardens of the 1840s.  Approximately 2,000 trees were planted here in 1848.  There were also many beautiful flowerbeds and shrubberies.  Over the years the park has been simplified, paths and pools altered or reduced in number, and today there are fewer flowerbeds.  The large grassy areas are used for a variety of purposes.  Some of the original trees have been removed but the size and number of those that remain still provide a large forested area.  Notice also the roads connecting the palace and park with the city.  When the palace was built it was outside the city so Linstow proposed the connection that has become the main boulevard and tourist area called Karl Johans gate after the king who had the palace built but died before it was finished.

Looking at the upper part of the postcard in the center it is possible to see a large church.   I think this is Grønland Church.  It was built in 1868 and is located in Gamle Oslo (old Oslo).  The architect was Wilhelm von Hanno.  The church is brick and seats 800.  For more information about the church see:

I found two pictures from Wikipedia that I thought I would share here.  Like many royal palaces this one has guardsmen in front of it.

This second photograph from Wikipedia shows the palace square and the statue that can also be seen from a different angle on the postcard above.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Lydia Gabrielsdatter Marstad Hornnes, Update

Hidra, near Flekkefjord, Vest Agder, Norway
[photo courtesy of Stian Søvik]

On 15 February 2012 I posted information about my grandmother’s brother, John Mikalsen Hornnes, and his wife, Lydia Gabrielsdatter Marstad.  Recently I heard from Stian Søvik with more information about Lydia’s family.   Stian sent this beautiful photograph of the community of Hidra, Vest Agder, Norway that includes the church where Lydia and John were married, seen in the central portion of the picture.  As it turned out his wife’s great grandmother, Saldine Olava, a sister to Lydia, was also married that day in that church to Frederick Leonard Bøckmann.  Both Bøckman and John Hornnes worked for the railroad and were probably friends as they stood witness for each other at the weddings.  Also as witness for both couples is John’s older brother, Gunnar Mikalsen Hornnes. 

John & Lydia Hornnes, ca 1901
[photo courtesy of Alf Georg Kjetså]

I think this photo was taken about the time John and Lydia left Norway for America and could be dated about 1901. 

It would be nice to know which sister it was that lived in Boston, Massachusetts and helped Lydia when she became so ill and the exact date that Lydia passed away.  It is possible to narrow the death year to between 1908 when Sadie, Anna, and Lil Anna last saw Lydia and 1910 when the U.S. Federal census shows John as widowed.  It may prove to be difficult to discern the sister’s name since women in the United States took their husband’s surname and most of the records are indexed by surname but I am searching and will post an update if more information can be uncovered.  Below is what I know so far about Lydia’s family.

Lydia’s parents:

Her father, Gabriel Johan Sivertsen Marstad, was born or christened on 23 September 1836 in Hidra while the family was at Marstad.  His father was Sivert Gabrielsen Marstad and his mother was Gunhild Torine or Tobine Corneliusdatter. 

Her mother was Olene Elisabet Olsdatter born or christened on 9 June 1836 at Hidra while the family was living at Ulland.  Her parents were Ole Johannes Salvesen Ulland and Else Malene Larsdatter.

Gabriel and Olene were married at Hidra on 3 November 1859.  Their children:

1.    Sine Gardine, born 7 July 1860, chr. 22 July 1860
2.    Laurits/Lauritz Severin, born 25 Jan 1862,  chr. 9 February 1862
3.    Gardine/Gardia Elisbeth, born 14 March 1864, chr. 25 March 1864
4.    Oluf Emil, born 1 September 1867, chr. 7 October 1867
5.    Sivert, born 27 February 1869, chr. 29 March 1869
6.    Tobine Severine, born 25 May 1871, chr. 23 July 1871
7.    Georg Olai Johan Bernhard, born 13 December 1873, chr. 26 December 1873
8.    Lydia, born 23 April 1876, chr. 21 May 1876
9.    Saldine Olava, born 19 March 1878, chr. 5 May 1878
10.    Gabriel, born 4 May 1880, chr. 17 May 1880

Olene was 44 years old when the last child, Gabriel, was born.  I looked a bit farther in the church register to see if there was another child but stopped after 1884 because she would have been 48 years old and unlikely to have another child beyond that year. 

There are some lovely photographs of Hidra and the church, inside and out, at this link:

Thanks to Stian for contacting me and letting me share the picture.  I always appreciate hearing from blog readers and it is fun to make new connections to the family history.  



I had just posted this when I realized it was easy to figure out which sister it was who lived in Boston, Massachusetts.  Stian sent me a list of the siblings he knew of but he did not include Tobine Severine who was born in 1871.  Tobine married Reinert or Reynold Johnson (recorded in the Hidra parish register as Jonasen) on 27 April 1891 in Hidra and left for America the same year.  They lived in both Massachusetts and later in Queens, New York.  They were living in Melrose a suburb of Boston where John and Lydia had moved to after Lydia became ill in 1901.  Tobine and Reinert had seven children but only five survived.  The children:  Ruth, born 1895; William, born 1898; Wm. C., born 1899; Joseph born 1901; Ester, born 1905; Ester Pauline (married name Rylance) born 1906 died 1955; and Grace born 1910.  I have sent a query to and will post additional information if I can at a later date.