Extraordinary Stories

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Friday, August 18, 2017

The "Images, Images And More Images - Photographic Documentation" Story

It was an ordinary day.  Just opened an email and was greeted by the faces of many famous people; a couple of notorious outlaws, a scientist, a few famous artists and the list goes on and on.  Most of the faces are in black and white due to the age of the photographs.  Some lived before black and white photography and are only sketches of the person.  And a few whom I didn't know their names because their portraiture's were taken when they were much younger than when I would have known theme for their contribution to history.  Got me thinking about one of my favorite topics: photography.  The word photography is derived from the Greek words photos ("light") and graphein ("to draw).  Word came about in 1839 when used by Sir John F.W. Herschel for the first time.  It is really a method of recording images by the action of light or related radiation onto a sensitive material.  The photographs and cameras first used are nothing like what you use today.  
The camera obscura
The Camera Obscura, known as a pinhole camera, was invented about 1000 AD, but it wasn't until 1827 that Joseph Niepce developed the first photo- graphic image with the camera obscura.  On a summer day that year Niepce coated a metal plate with an semi-solid form of petroleum known as bitumen and created the world's first image, or photograph.  But, it wasn't until 1839 that Louis Daguerre, friend and fellow Frenchmen of Niepce, invented the first practical process of photography and named it after himself.  Daguerre's daguerreotype process was done using silver-plated copper.  Then along came Matthew Brady who opened his first daguerreotype studio in New York in 1844 and made Andrew Jackson and John Quincy Adams some of his first subjects.  When the Civil War started he took a mobile studio to the battleground.  Without this photographic pioneer we may never have had images of the Civil War.  One of the photos I will show you today was taken by Brady.  So, for now, your history lesson in photography is complete, or at least as complete as it will be.  Now, if you had been a student in my photography class in high school you would have had a much more in depth history lesson than you had today.  I just didn't want to lose you or you may not have gotten to the photos.  So, here are the images, mostly in black and white, that I will share with you.  I must give credit to my daughter-in-law's mother, Etta, who knew I would thoroughly enjoy the photographs when she sent them to me.  It was another extraordinary day in the life of an ordinary guy.  PS - See how many of the images you can identify before reading the note under it.

Photograph of Edgar Allan Poe and Abraham Lincoln taken in Matthew Brady's Washington D.C. Studio in 1849.
Albert Einstein
Alfred Hitchcock taken in the 1920's.
Amelia Earhart
Bonnie Parker & Clyde Barrow
Hans Christian Anderson
Ernest Hemingway as an American Red Cross volunteer during WWI
John Wayne
Mahatma Gandhi dancing
Mark Twain at the age of 15 taken in 1860
Mother Teresa
Artist Paul Gaugin
Actress Sophia Loren
Artist Vincent van Gogh
William, Diana and Harry
Winston Churchhill
Confederate General Robert E. Lee, probably taken in black and white and hand tinted
Elizabeth Taylor
Her Majesty and Prince Philip - Same brooch, same pearls, same love
Paul Newman during WWII in the Pacific

Thursday, August 17, 2017

The "Lancaster: My City - Part II; The 21st Century" Story

It was an ordinary day.  Searching my desktop file titled Soldiers/Sailors Monument looking for photographs and postcards that can tell the story of Lancaster, Pennsylvania's historical monument that stands in the center of the city at the crossroads of the oldest inland city in the United States.  Lancaster was founded in 1730, and with the advent of photography in the early 1800s, many photos can be found of the early years of Lancaster if you search hard and long enough.  That's just what I did since I began writing this blog and have used a few of those photos in earlier stories, but also have quite a few that I have never shared with you.  Yesterday I posted a few that recorded the monument from early photos until the end of the nineteenth century.  Today I will begin with photos from the early 1900s up to a few years ago.  Many of the photographs and postcards are not dated and I have estimated the date based on store fronts and the year of the vehicles in the photos.  May have a few out of order, but if I can't figure it out, I doubt you will know anyway.  Hope you enjoy what I have had the chance to see on an almost daily basis during my life in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.  It was another extraordinary day in the life of an ordinary guy.

1906 postcard showing the Watt & Shand department store to the left of the monument.  The old car in the center of the postcard helped me estimate the date of this image.  Remember to click on the images to enlarge them.
This postcard was dated 1907 on the reverse side.  It was taken from the area where the monument stands looking down West down King Street, one of the intersecting streets in the center of town along with Queen Street.  On the far right of the image would be Lancaster's City Hall.
Early 1900s showing the F.W. Woolworth 5&10 cent store in the distance on what is North Queen St.  Woolworth is the yellow building with the high corner towers.  The trolley and clothing in the photo helped me date the postcard.
This postcard is looking east on King Street from the monument.  Again, the cars helped me guess that this probably was taken circa 1918.  Notice the Policeman standing in the directional unit in the front of the postcard.  I never saw anything such as that during my lifetime.
My guess for a date for this photograph would be 1930.  Town is crowded and busy with all the trolley's around the monument.  This too is looking north on Queen Street with the Woolworth store in the background.
I guess this to also be 1930 and shows Watt & Shand decked out for a holiday with flags all around the building.  Clothing and vehicles can also help date the postcard.  In this postcard Watt & Shand is now it's final size stretching to the right as well as to the left.
This black and white photograph has a date of 1932 on the rear of it.  It also has the Watt & Shand Department Store featured in the photo.  Another crowded day with heavy traffic.
Penn Square in 1936.  This postcard was a black and white photograph that was hand-colored.  It looks east.
This postcard was dated 1937 on the postmark.  On the far right top is an advertising sign with Pensupreme Ice Cream on it.  Penn Dairies began in 1929 in Lancaster.  This is a view looking north on Queen St.  I'm puzzled why the Woolworth building doesn't have the tall pillars on the top of the building in the background.  There are no buses in the photo, but the tracks still remain.  I guess the green enclosed unit in the center-right is a Police platform for traffic control.  
The monument would be on the far right in this photograph.  The building on the right side is the Greist Building which was Lancaster's first skyscraper which was build in 1925.  I guess that the photograph is circa 1939. 
Photograph of the Watt & Shand Building taken from the Greist Building.
A photograph taken about the same timeframe showing a woman and boy in traditional Amish or Mennonite garb.

"Welcome home Our Heroes" says the sign over the Service Star on the Soldiers and Sailors Monument in Penn Square in 1945.  Red, white and blue bunting is also visible on Old City Hall and the Griest Building in the background.

This postcard is titled "The Square, Lancaster, Pa." and is probably in the mid-1940s.  It shows a trolley car and once again you can see the F.W. Woolworth building on North Queen Street.
This I believe is a photograph from the local newspaper showing the removal of the trolley tracks in the center of Lancaster.  The monument can be seen to the right-center of the photo.  The date of this photo is 1947.  I was born in 1944 and have no recollection of the trolley running in the city of Lancaster.  I lived to the south of the city and my mother would bring me to market which is to the left on the photo.  I was too young to remember much about the city at this time.
The  monument can be seen in this color photo looking east.  Cars and truck helped me identify that the photo was taken around 1950.
1950s photo looking east with an Amish man in the foreground.  Lancaster's Central Market would be to the left front of the photo and the man may be a farmer who was working at the market.  There are streetlights that can be seen in this photo.
A 1957 postcard showing the Greist Building on the right with Central Market in the center of the photo, behind the Greist Building.  Behind the monument is what at one time was City Hall and in this photo is the Heritage Center.
Taken in 1969 on a snowy evening in the center of town.  The Christmas lights behind the Policeman in the foreground are decorations on the monument as well as the Watt & Shand building.
About 2000 and shows the monument in the left-center of the photo.  This is looking north on Queen Street and the Woolworth building had been removed years ago.
This photo was taken from Lancaster's newest skyscraper, The Marriott Hotel.  The shorter Greist Building is in the background and Central market is next to it behind The Heritage Center.  In the foreground can be seen the monument. The photograph was taken last year and is the final photograph in my story on the Soldiers and Sailors Monument.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

The "Lancaster: My City - Part I; The Beginning" Story

Foreword:  Just clicked on the file on my desktop marked PennSquare/Soldiers and Sailors Monument.  It opened and for the next couple of hours I attempted to sort the photographs and postcards that I had been accumulating since I began writing this blog eight years ago.  Over the years I have written quite a few stories about Lancaster, Pennsylvania, the town in which I was born and lived my entire life.  I wrote stories about Lancaster's CentralMarket, Lancaster's first skyscraper and even Lancaster's Soldiers and Sailors Monument, but over time have found many more photos of these places and have saved the photos to feature as a visual story by themselves.  Always neat to see photographs/postcards so you can understand what the written word is really about.   Lancaster is the oldest inland city in America, having been founded in 1730.  So, you can see why I have accumulated over 100 photos while looking for information on different aspects of Lancaster.  I tried to sort out my photographs and post cards based on a few logical criteria; at least it seemed they were basic criteria.  Things such as: (1) when was the monument placed in the center of the square, (2) the year they added the metal fencing around the monument, (3) the year when the trolley tracks were added, (4) the years of the automobiles in the photos, (5) the types and lengths of dresses the woman were wearing in the photos, (6) the year when Woolworth building was opened, (7) the years city hall was built, (8) the year Watt & Shand Department Store was completed, (9) the year the trolley tracks were removed and (10) the year the current Central Market building was built.  As I looked at all the pictures I realized that I had more than one of quite a few of the pictures and even had seven of one of them.  By the time I had tried to add a date to what remained, it was a couple of hours after I began.  Now, I must admit I was watching a young couple look for a home on HGTV while I was working on my project.  So, my story today will give you a bit of the background on how the city of Lancaster began, as per the center of the city, illustrated by the photos I have of that era, while tomorrow will give you a look at Lancaster's center square by decades, as close as I could estimate what decade each photo should be placed.

It was an ordinary day.  Looking at an old book I purchased a few years ago titled "Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, Postcards."  The 128 page book features postcards dating from the mid-to late 1800s.  Photography was developed in France in the late 1830's and by 1840 the first Daguerreotypists were active in America.  Photography gave the common person a better chance to share their lives and knowledge with the world.  One of the best ways to do that was thru the picture post card.  It was on May 19, 1898 that the United States Congress, by means of an Act of Congress, authorized the American picture postcard and three years later set a standardized size with message space.  It gave people unable to travel a chance to see other parts of the world as well as the United States.  The fascination with picture postcards remained strong into the 1970s.  Postcards were our nation's first commercial greeting cards.  Many scenes from Lancaster County are pictured in the postcard book and may be the only photos that exist of certain places and locations in the county.  The photographs and post cards I will show you today will take you to the end of the 20th century, while tomorrow I will usher you through the 21st century.  So enjoy the photos and post cards that I have found that give the history of the town in which I have grown up; one of the best towns in the United States.  It was another extraordinary day in the life of an ordinary guy.
The center of the city of Lancaster before 1874 when the Gothic Revival memorial known as the Soldiers and Sailors Monument was placed in the center of the square bordered by Queen and King Streets.  It was in 1744 that the Treaty of Lancaster between the British and Iroquois was signed in the old Lancaster Courthouse which stood on the site of the monument.  That would be in the right-center of the photograph pictured here. Needless to say this photo was taken before the automobile, since all vehicles in this photograph are horse-drawn buggies.
The Soldiers and Sailors Monument shown here features a 43-foot tall Rhode Island, rectangular granite pillar topped with a statue of a robed woman on a pedestal known as the "The Genius of Liberty."  The woman holds a drawn sword and a shield and her head is crowned with stars.  She faces north which, according to legend, allows her to turn her back on the former Confederate States of America which were defeated in the war.  Stockade fencing and dirt streets surround the monument. 
Iron fence and granite wall enclosure were added to the monument in 1877.  A plaque containing the Gettysburg Address and a picture of Abraham Lincoln were added on June 8, 1931.  Statues of four men representing the four branches of the American armed services surround the granite shaft near the base. The names of several Civil War battles are carved on the monument's central granite pillar.  At the base of the monument is carved the inscription: "Erected by the people of Lancaster County/To the memory of their fellow citizens who fell/in defense of the Union/in the War of the Rebellion/1861-1865.  
This photo is dated 1899.  I have no idea why everyone is gathered on the one side of Lancaster's Square.
This photo is from around 1900.  The building on the right-center of the photo, behind the boy that looks as if he may be selling newspapers, was the Watt & Shand department store.  To it's right is construction that will enlarge the building.  The expansion was completed in the early 1900s. 
This statue is an Artillery man, one of the four statues that depict the four branches of the Armed Forces. This statue is located on the North-East corner of the monument.
A member of the Calvary located on the South-West corner of the monument. 
A member of the Infantry located on the North-West corner of the monument.
A member of the Navy and is located on the South-East corner of the monument.
A picture postcard which is approximately 1905 and shows the square and Watt & Shand with the addition completed.  The Soldiers and Sailors Monument stands on the exact spot where the Second Continental Congress met during the American Revolutionary War on September 27, 1777 in the old Lancaster Courthouse.  The courthouse later burned down in 1784.  The monument has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places since April 2, 1973.
Another postcard from approximately 1905 and shows the Woolworth Department Store in the background which was in the first block of North Queen Street.
This is similar in date and position to the last postcard.  Next to the trolley car on the left are people in this photo.
This looks to be the exact same postcard scene as above, but written by a different person.