Posts Tagged ‘history’

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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Going beyond an antique or vintage postcard’s image can sometimes lead to some of the juiciest historical tidbits.  Insert a couple of quick eyebrow raises.  A rather stilted recitation of Manchester, NH  history (but still a good source of historical info), was where I found my juicy tidbits this time – Manchester, Hillsborough County, NH – History and Genealogy .

Antique train postcard of Manchester, NH railroad station

Antique train postcard of Manchester, NH railroad station

The page starts out in 1604, but let’s jump to 1839.  You ask, “What happened in September, 1839?”  I’ll tell you.  Jeremiah Johnson was killed by Elbridge Ford.  Elbridge was tried the next year and found guilty of manslaughter.  He was sentenced to five years in prison, but pardoned after three; not much justice for Jeremiah.  Why was this murder notable?  The page’s entry just previous to this tells of a vote to establish a system of police – in October, 1839!  There is nothing like a murder to light a fire under a town’s butt.  Unfortunately, this was too late for poor Jeremiah.

Let’s jump ahead to 1853 to when Bayley, Blood, and Company, or Vulcan Works, was established.  Sorry Trekki fans, no relation to Spock.  In 1854, Vulcan Works became Manchester Locomotive Works.  By 1875, Manchester Locomotive Works had turned out 786 locomotives (beyond capacity).  That’s a lot of trains.  I wonder if any of them are still around.

Where does Levi come into this story?  Around 1873, Levi Strauss started making what became their famous “blue jeans” or riveted clothing.  The denim for them was made at Manchester’s Amoskeag Manufacturing Company.  Cool.

* You can find more railroad station postcards in my store, Remember When Vintage Postcards.

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Camp Logan Real Photo Postcard

Feb 1918 real photo postcard (AZO 4 triangles up) of soldiers at army Camp Logan in Houston, TX

I just bought a collection of real photo postcards that has me going, “Wow”; talk about a piece of social history.  In this collection were three real photo postcards of soldiers at Camp Logan.  This World War 1 army training camp in Houston, TX gained notoriety in August 1917 for a race related riot, and again the following year for the first widespread local outbreak of the Spanish Flu.

I kept thinking, while reading an article about Camp Logan on Wikipedia, why wasn’t this taught to us in American history class?  Yes, it was one of the saddest chapters in the history of American race relations.  If we are to learn from what happened during the Houston Riot of 1917 we need to be told about it.  History was not meant be swept under the rug.  This is why postcards are so important.

As for the soldiers in the real photo postcard above…  Hopefully they weren’t amongst  the 48 soldiers from Camp Logan that died during the Spanish Flu outbreak of 1918.

** Be sure to stop by the blog, The Best Hearts Are Crunchy, to view the many postcards shared on Postcard Friendship Friday.

** You can find the above real photo postcard and others  for sale in our store, Remember When Vintage Postcards.

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1909 Antique Christmas Postcard published by B.W., no. 370

 The mother on this antique postcard is making the traditional dessert served on Christmas Day, Christmas Pudding or Plum Pudding.  It is a dark, steamed pudding, with sweet spices, dried fruit and nuts, and usually made with suet that originated in England.  This pudding is definitely not for those on a diet. 

History of Christmas Pudding 

Christmas Pudding can be traced back to the 1420s.  Back then, it was not a confection or dessert, but a way to preserve meat (dried fruits acted as the preservative).  I wonder how long this preservation method lasted.  

The ancestor of the modern pudding was the pottage, a meat and vegetable concoction.  During Queen Elizabeth 1’s reign, plums were added (a popular ingredient).  As the sweet content of the Plum Pottage increased, it became increasingly known as Plum Pudding.  Around the 1830’s, it became more and more linked with Christmas. 

Christmas Pudding Traditions 

Traditionally, Plum Puddings were made four to five weeks prior to Christmas (usually the last Sunday before Advent) as they needed to age in the traditional pudding cloth.  The household members (at least the children, see pictured antique postcard) took turns making a wish while stirring the concoction.  This is why the day became known as Stir-up Sunday. 

Tokens (initially a silver coin) were included in the pudding.  Whomever’s serving included it, kept the token. 

The Christmas Pudding is ceremoniously brought to the table after being doused in brandy and flamed.  It was greeted with applause. 

This Week’s Bit of Ephemera Trivia: 

The Plum Pudding was originally eaten at the Harvest Festival, not Christmas. 

Note:  Marie over at The French Factrice blog is hosting Postcard Friendship Fridays.  Hop on over to Marie’s and check out all the postcard enthusiasts sharing this week. 

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