Wednesday, March 30, 2011

President Reagan Shot - March 30, 1981

© Aqua Ink inc. 1981

On this date thirty years ago, President Reagan and three others were shot and wounded by John Hinckley, Jr. as they were leaving the Washington Hilton Hotel. This postcard refers to that event. It has a real adhesive bandage stuck to the front of the card. The caption on the back is "WHAT A BOO-BOO!"

This video was made for the 25th anniversary of the assassination attempt.

The Village Blacksmith - Poem by Longfellow

My postcard is a souvenir of the Colonial Village at the 1934 Century of Progress Exposition in Chicago. This post with the image of the The Village Blacksmith and the famous words from Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's poem was prompted by the Sepia Saturday 68 image of the strong muscled mechanic at work in Lewis Hine's photo Power House Mechanic Working On Steam Hammer.

Longfellow's poem was first published in 1841. It is about a local blacksmith and his daily life. The first words are the best known part of the poem:
Under a spreading chestnut tree
The village smithy stands;
The smith a mighty man is he
With large and sinewy hands
And the muscles of his brawny arms
Are strong as iron bands.

Wikipedia has a synopsis and analysis of The Village Blacksmith:
The poem is about a local blacksmith who is noted as being strong and for not owing anyone anything, working by the sweat of his own brow. Children coming home from school stop to stare at him as he works, impressed by the roaring bellows and burning sparks. On Sundays, the blacksmith, a single father after the death of his wife, takes his children to church, where his daughter sings in the choir. He goes through his life following the daily tasks assigned to him and has earned his sleep at night.

The title character of "The Village Blacksmith" is presented as an "everyman" and a role model: he balances his commitments to work, the community, and his family. The character is presented as an iconic tradesman who is embedded in the history of the town and its defining institutions because he is a longtime resident with deeply-rooted strength, as symbolized by the "spreading chestnut tree".

Here is an illustrated version of The Village Blacksmith from Google Books:

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Monday, March 28, 2011

Prom Ballroom, St. Paul, Minnesota

The Prom Ballroom was located at 1190 University Ave. in St. Paul, Minnesota. It opened in 1941 and closed in 1987. Here is the description from MinneWiki, The Minnesota Music Encyclopedia:
The Prom Ballroom was a dance hall on University Avenue in St. Paul's Midway neighborhood. Glenn Miller and his Orchestra played the grand opening in 1941, to be followed by other well-known artists including Count Basie, and Tommy and Jimmy Dorsey.

Swing, polka, jazz, and rock n' roll groups played the space, spanning such diverse musical acts from Lawrence Welk to Buddy Holly and Crickets, to The Police. The house orchestra was the Jules Herman Orchestra.

The Prom offered a 9000 square foot hard maple floor. Small booths and tables ringed the edge, where dancers could rest and order food.
This postcard was originally published in 1941, the year the Prom Ballroom opened. The marquee shows the names of some fairly well-known orchestras: Cliff Kyes, Orrin Tucker - Bonnie Baker, and Ralph Slade. Dancing was on Wednesday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. The Park-N-Eat Fountain Grill sold hamburgers for 5¢.

The Orrin Tucker Orchestra and Bonnie Baker were featured in the 1941 movie You're the One, a 'B' movie that was written for the orchestra.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

March 8 Postcard and Belarus Stamps

This week I received this lovely March 8 International Women's Day postcard from a Postcrosser in Belarus. On the back of the card are three spring flower stamps in the same spring colors as the postcard. The names are given in both Belarusian and Latin. The Latin names are Paeonia lactiflora (Peony), Narcissus hybridus (Narcissus), and Tulipa gesneriana (Tulip).

Three animal stamps, not so springlike, but equally nice are also on the back of the card.

Belarus Post has a nice online catalog in English where you can see stamp issues since 1992, including these and other stamps in the Garden Flower and Wild Animal series.

I am participating in Sunday Stamps at Viridian's Postcard Blog

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Third Avenue Bridge, Minneapolis - Then & Now

The black and white photo above is from the MNHS Visual Resources Database and shows the construction of the Third Avenue Bridge over the Mississippi River in Minneapolis in 1917. This view is looking toward the milling district on the west bank.

The postcards below are from my postcard collection. The first card shows the completed bridge looking toward the east bank of the river. The large building in the center is the Industrial Exposition Building (1887-1940). The Third Avenue Bridge was originally called the St. Anthony Falls Bridge. The description on the back of this card is as follows:
ST. ANTHONY FALLS BRIDGE at Minneapolis, Minnesota, completed in June, 1918, at a cost of $865,000. It is the largest concrete arch bridge, built on a reverse curve, that spans the Mississippi River at any point from the source to the mouth. Designed and built by the Minneapolis City Engineering Department.

The next postcard shows another early view looking toward the Milling District on the west side of the river.

Here is some more information about the bridge from the Minneapolis Riverfront District website:
This 2,223-foot-long span was originally called the St. Anthony Falls Bridge, as it is built over the upper portion of the St. Anthony Falls Dam. Its alignment follows a shallow reverse S-curve in order to avoid fractures in the limestone bedrock supporting the bridge piers; it has the distinction of being the largest concrete arch bridge on a reverse curve. Much of the design work was done by Minneapolis city engineer Frederick W. Cappelen, who was responsible for a number of other local bridges and other structures, including the Cappelen Memorial (Franklin Avenue) Bridge. Construction of the $650,000 bridge used techniques which were state-of-the-art for the time, including the placement of water-tight cofferdams within which the bridge piers were poured. The concrete arches were formed against “falsework,” which supported and shaped the arches and then were removed after completion. A number of modifications have been made to the bridge over the years, including a major renovation in 1979- 80.
I didn't realize until I saw the description on the Lost Bridges page of the Minneapolis Riverfront District website, that the next postcard shows the "falsework" used in the construction of the Third Avenue Bridge. The falsework of the Third Avenue Bridge can be seen in the distance on the right side of the picture behind the smoke stacks. Here is the description of this card from that website:
Postcard showing the following bridges, heading upriver: Minneapolis Western Railroad, Lower (10th Avenue), Stone Arch, and falsework for the Third Avenue bridge, under construction; ca. 1917 .

The last postcard is a recent view of the Third Avenue Bridge. The bridge has not changed much, but the focus and style of the postcard have. This view is toward some of the downtown Minneapolis buildings on the west side of the river. The description does not even mention the bridge, saying only "A golden sunset casts its hue on the skies over Downtown Minneapolis and is reflected in the Mississippi River."

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Monday, March 21, 2011

Paul Bunyan, Iron Mining, & Hibbing, Minnesota

Paul Bunyan, the American folklore character, is mainly known as a giant lumberjack. This postcard "documents" his role in mining history. the description on the back of the card is as follows:
HIBBING, MINN. - Paul Bunyan was here with his blue ox “Babe.” Here the churning hooves of the great ox, as he pulled the kinks out of the Mesaba Range, gouged out the Hull-rust pit. The filings from the knives and axes at the Bunyan logging camp filled the great pit with a mighty reserve of iron ore which has provided the backbone of the U. S. defense effort in two world wars.
Hibbing Daily News is listed as the publisher of this card. The card was apparently distributed with a souvenir ore sample courtesy of Hibbing Chamber of Commerce.

Hibbing is located on the Mesabi Iron Range in Northern Minnesota. It is the home of the largest open-pit iron ore mine in the world.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Theodore Roosevelt's Sagamore Hill Home

This is a maximum card with a first day of issue cancellation. This stamp commemorates Theodore Roosevelt's home, Sagamore Hill, in Oyster Bay, New York. Theodore Roosevelt was the 26th President of the United States. Sagamore Hill was his home from 1885 until his death in 1919. It served as the "Summer White House" from 1902 to 1908 when Roosevelt was President. After Roosevelt died in 1919, his wife Edith lived there until she died in 1948.

Sagamore Hill was restored and opened as a national shrine in 1953. The stamp was issued on September 14, 1953.

I am participating in Sunday Stamps at Viridian's Postcard Blog

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

St. Patrick's Day - Lucky Shamrock

May St. Patrick's four-leaved shamrock bring you luck!

This postcard of a pretty colleen and her four-leaved shamrock is signed by artist HBG.

Old Brick House Tavern and Restaurant - Ste. Genevieve, Missouri

Following the theme of Sepia Saturday 66, I have a postcard of a tavern in a historic building. This is a real photo postcard on Kodak paper of the "First Brick Building" in Ste. Genevieve, Missouri. This view is probably from the 1950s. The brick building is also known as the Old Brick House and the John Price House. At the time of this photo the building housed a tavern and restaurant. The building currently houses the Old Brick House Restaurant.

Ste. Genevieve, Missouri is a French Colonial Village that was established about 1735. The town was named for Saint Genevieve, the patron saint of Paris. Most of the residents were originally of French-Canadian descent, though many had previously lived in Illinois east of the Mississippi River.

The Old Brick House was built by John Price, a local merchant and ferry boat operator. It is believed to be the oldest brick building west of the the Mississippi River. Different sources give different dates for the building, ranging from 1780 to 1804. The Brick House sign on the postcard gives the date as 1785, but the postcard caption has a 1799 date. The sign in the postcard photo also says the first American court was held there.

Below are enlargements of the signs on the buildings in the photo. To the left of the Brick House are Rutledge Rexall and Ste. Genevieve County Farm Bureau.

I was originally attracted to this postcard by the Falstaff Beer Sign on the corner of the building. Here is information about Falstaff Brewing Corporation from Wikipedia:
The Falstaff Brewing Corporation was a major American brewery located in St. Louis, Missouri. With roots in the 1838 Lemp Brewery of St. Louis, the company was renamed after the Shakespearean character of Sir John Falstaff in 1903. Production peaked in 1965 with 7,010,218 barrels brewed, and then dropped 70 percent in the next ten years. While its smaller labels linger on today, its main label Falstaff Beer went out of production in 2005.

The picture below is from the Library of Congress Historic American Buildings Survey. It shows the Old Brick House in 1935, when it also housed a tavern and restaurant.

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Monday, March 14, 2011

Pearce Cloak Company, Minneapolis, Minnesota

This postcard advertises the Pearce Cloak Co., which was located at 403-405 Nicollet Avenue in Minneapolis. The following information is from the back of the postcard:
MINNEAPOLIS has eight large Department Stores and five Specialty Stores for Women's Wear. The Pearce Cloak Co.--popularly known as "Pearce's"--is illustrated on the other side of this card. It is the leading and best ready-to-wear Women's Apparel Store in the Northwest.
There is a written message on the back of this card dated 1911. The Emporis website lists Pearce Cloak Company building as an alternative name for Fields Store. The building was demolished in 1962.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

International Women's Day Card & Stamp

March 8 is International Women's Day. This holiday is celebrated in Russia and other countries, but is little known in the United States. This postcard has a March 8, 1967 cancellation on the front. There is a 1967 Soviet stamp commemorating International Women's Day in the center of the postcard back. The stamp on the back also has the March 8 cancellation. The stamp is quite large--about 2" X 2".

The words on the front of the card are "The Holiday March 8." The words on the stamp are "International Women's Day" on the top and "Mail USSR 1967" on the bottom.

See my previous post International Women's Day - Russia Celebrates for another nice International Women's Day postcard with a woman delivering mail.

I am participating in Sunday Stamps at Viridian's Postcard Blog

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Gile Letter Service - Minneapolis

This postcard shows what are apparently employees in front of the Gile Letter Service storefront at 723 Third Ave. S., Minneapolis, Minnesota. The vehicle in the center looks like it could be an early horseless carriage that could have been used by the company in parades.

The postcard has an unused Minnesota Statehood stamp on the back. The 3¢ Minnesota Statehood stamp was issued on May 11, 1958. Postage rates increased on August 1, 1958. The letter rate was raised to 4¢ and the postcard rate was increased to 3¢, which suggests that the card dates from about 1958. The stamp would have been used for letter postage when first issued, but a few months later 3¢ was only enough postage for a postcard.

Below is an interior photo of Gile Letter Service Mailroom dated 1957 from the Minnesota Historical Society. The MNHS Database also has a photo of the storefront.

Further searching online turned up a first day cover published by Gile Letter Service with the Minnesota Statehoood stamp.

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Tuesday, March 8, 2011

International Women's Day - Russia Celebrates

March 8 is International Women's Day. This day isn't celebrated much in the United States, but is popular in Russia. This Russian International Women's Day postcard is dated 1982.

Russia celebrates International Women’s Day

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Gunflint Trail Entrance Sign

The above postcard of the Gunflint Trail entrance sign at Grand Marais, Minnesota was published by Curt Teich in 1958. In this picture, the bear sign on the left side of the road shows the bear standing.

The description on the back of this postcard is as follows:
The Gunflint Trail winds inland from Grand Marais, through virgin timber and along many lakes to the Canadian border. It leads to one of the few remaining wilderness areas. This land of lakes is noted for its fishing and wild life. The modern road follows an old Indian trail from Gunflint Lake to Grand Marais.
Another postcard I have of the Gunflint Trail entrance sign shows a bear stooping in a small motor boat.

Here is a description of the Gunflint Trail from
The Gunflint Trail is a legendary destination in the northeast tip of Minnesota's Arrowhead where you can explore nature from the edge of the wilderness and still enjoy all the creature comforts of civilization. In its long-ago history, the "trail" was a walking path through the deep forest, but it is now a paved, two-lane road winding for 57 miles through the Superior National Forest, beginning at Grand Marais. The route is one of Minnesota's designated Scenic Byways.
I haven't been able to determine what happened to this sign. The only pictures I found on the web showed the red lettering on the voyageur's canoe looking very faded.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Kids Care Postage Stamps

The theme for this week is Kids' Art on Stamps. I am showing a sheet of sixteen Kids Care stamps that I bought for postage and never used. I didn't feel like tearing up the sheet, but I have decided that I am going to start using these stamps now. I am also showing a Zazzle stamp that I couldn't find last week.

The Kids Care stamps were issued on April 20, 1995. They commemorate the 25th anniversary of Earth Day. The sheet includes four each of four designs. The designs were chosen in a contest for kids age 8 to 13 and depict ways to preserve, protect, or restore our environment. The four designs are:
• the earth being cleaned in a bathtub
• a beach clean-up scene
• man planting a tree
• solar power for a house
The Zazzle stamp below was sent to me on mail from Zazzle. It was sent in October 2010 and has a fall leaf design.

I am participating in Sunday Stamps at Viridian's Postcard Blog

Griffith's Portland Sightseeing Bus

This postcard of Griffith's Portland Sightseeing Bus (or "Seeing Portland Auto") has a handwritten date of February 22, 1913 along the top of the bus. Griffith's 20 mile tour through Portland is described on the back of the postcard. The picture shows an open air bus, but on the back the car is described as enclosed, steam heated, and as warm and cozy as your own home.

There is another version of a Griffith's bus that appeared on a postcard and is shown by University of Washington Libraries, Special Collections Division.

I couldn't find any information on this bus, but it appears to be similar the 1909 Seattle World's Fair Bus. That one had a two-cylinder engine mounted beneath the floor, a chain drive, and kerosene front-lamps.

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