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Archive for August, 2013

I’ve always wondered what filled all those multi-storied buildings in big cities around the turn of the century.  The Terminal Building for the Pacific Electric Railway, shown in the below vintage postcard, was such a building.  One of its occupants I found to be as interesting as the building itself – The Jonathan Club.

PE Terminal Building Postcard

Vintage Postcard of Pacific Electric Railway’s Terminal Building in Los Angeles. Published by Cardinell-Vincent Co.; printed in Germany.

Pacific Electric Railway Terminal Building

The Pacific Electric Building, also known as the Huntington Building, opened in 1905.  This ten-floor height building was the largest building in floor area west of Chicago for several decades.  It was also the terminal for the Pacific Electric Red Car Lines south and east of downtown Los Angeles.

With the increase in auto traffic in the 1920s, shared streets became congested.  In 1922, the California Railroad Commission issued Order No. 9928, which required the Pacific Electric Railway to construct a subway that bypassed these congested streets.

In 2005, the building was converted into live/work lofts.  The lobby currently houses artifacts from it’s days as an active railway terminal.  It’s nice to know this piece of history won’t be forgotten.

The Terminal Building’s Top Occupant

The top three floors of the Pacific Electric Railway Terminal Building were occupied by one of Los Angeles’ leading businessman’s clubs – The Jonathan Club until 1925.  Historical evidence supported this private club’s roots as being named after Brother Jonathan, the caricature predecessor to Uncle Sam.

Brother Jonathan was a good natured parody of all New England who came into use during the American War for Independence.  He wore striped pants, somber overcoat, and a stove-pipe hat.  Interesting that a club based out west, names itself after a caricature with ties to the east.  After 1865, Brother Jonathan’s clothing was emulated by Uncle Sam.

(Many more antique and vintage postcards can be enjoyed by visiting my store, Remember When Vintage Postcards.)

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“Hello Harry.  We have given up football I I guess.  I had some time Thursday night.  Was over south of slater.  She ask all about you.  Will explain all when you come home.  We had a baseball workout last night I think.  We will fall or they fall from 11-2.”

The Fair Weather Fan

I read the above antique postcard message recently, which mentioned giving up football.  I know a little of how the writer must have felt.  Professional football has just started, and already I can’t wait for the humiliation to be over with.  My team, the Vikings, are 0-2 so far this pre-season.  OK, I’ll admit it.  I’m a fair weather Vikings fan.  Maybe I’ll change; maybe not.  I don’t think the writer would’ve been a fair weather fan though with an attitude of “we fall or they fall”.

Football, then Romance

The above message also mentioned a certain female someone asking after Mr. Harry Harrison of Toledo, Iowa – the recipient of the antique postcard.  Her name wasn’t mentioned, so we can only assume Harry knew whom the writer was referring to.  Let’s hope his bubble (romantic?) wasn’t busted when the writer explained all regarding that female someone.  I tend to think not as she cared enough to ask after Harry.

1912 Antique Bathing Beauty Postcard artist signed by C. Ryan

1912 Antique Bathing Beauty Postcard artist signed by C. Ryan

(Many more antique postcards, including artist signed, can be found in my store – Remember When Vintage Postcards.)

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Colonial-Thanksgiving-Postcard-Children_FB

Antique thanksgiving postcard. Postmarked 1911, Kelly Station PA.

I was about to post a thanksgiving antique postcard on my website, http://www.rememberwhenpostcards.com, when I thought, “why not read the message?”  Lucky I did, as I discovered a reference to something I hadn’t heard of before – a leap year party.  The message read as follows:

“Hello Orga:  Robert and I were up at Crisnans last night playing cards.  John is well so far as I know but he is very sorry he didn’t get telling you good bye.  We are having a Xmas entertainment at Brick Church  We are going to have a leap year party and mebby someone will get John.”

According to folk tradition, a woman was granted the privilege of proposing marriage to a man, instead of the other way around, only during leap year.  If the man refused, he owed the woman compensation in the form of a gown and kiss, or gloves – provided she was wearing a scarlet petticoat.  Sounds vaguely like the tradition of the Sadie Hawkins dance.

The “ladies privilege” tradition explains the reference to “getting John”.  Poor John.  I don’t think the socially acceptable venue of a church party will help John.  I hope he had an account at the local millinery (clothing) store.

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