The Leichtweißhöhle Cave

Divided back, unused postcard. Publisher or printer:  Carl v. d Boogaart, Wiesbaden, 1906.

Price:  $7.00

What magical place is this?…..In a German forest, around 1906, two “sentinel” trees guard (or maybe proudly display) a location marked off by a rustic wooden fence:  Three people, relaxed in demeanor, pose for the camera on a porch-like space, in front of a doorway. (To what?) The entrance way is covered by a small pointed roof, and seemingly attached, or partially surrounding, is a jungle-gym-like mass of wooden branches. We’re intrigued and charmed.

Of course, we know it’s a destination of some sort from the signs that are posted (and note the graffiti on the tree trunks, most prominently from someone with the initials, “A. A.” in 1869) but we like the mystery and anticipation leading into the discovery, and the stories that weave their way through our minds before that discovery –  that get enhanced and embellished, or sometimes change completely, upon enlargement of the photo. In this case, (click to enlarge), the tangle of branches have sorted themselves out from jungle-gym to a rustic railing for a walkway leading up and down a hill, and from a quick search we find that the doorway we see is the entrance to the Leichtweißhöhle Cave. This cave, the word is höhle in German, has a varied history.

Google translation to English from Wikipedia entry with photos:

“The Leichtweißhöhle is a cave in the Wiesbaden Nerotal . Its name can be traced back to the poacher Heinrich Anton Leichtweiß , who used the cave as a shelter from 1778 to 1791. Forest workers discovered the cave and light white due to rising smoke.

Access to the Leichtweißhöhle

Source at the Leichtweißhöhle

The Leichtweißhöhle is originally a small natural cave and not much more than a large rock overhang, a so-called abri . The local shale is not suitable for karstification . There are no other caves.

The cave was forgotten until Wiesbaden gained international renown as a spa and the cave developed into a popular excursion destination. It represented one of the new attractions that were to be offered to visitors to Wiesbaden. The Wiesbaden Beautification Association expanded the cave in 1856. A second entrance was created, a room on the side and a niche padded with moss, which was declared as a place to sleep. The cave was also decorated accordingly, including old weapons and pictures. A romanticization followed . The Schwarzbach coming from the Rabengrund and passing the cave received an artificial waterfall and a wooden bridge was built to cross the stream. A viewing pavilion was built above the cave, and the access paths to the cave were equipped with railings and the cave entrance with a wooden porch. These changes were so extensive that the original state can hardly be recognized today.

In 1905 Kaiser Wilhelm II visited the cave with his wife.

In 1934 the Gestapo used the Leichtweißhöhle as a torture cellar .

With the decline of the Wiesbaden cure, especially after the end of the Second World War , the cave lost its importance and was closed. The outdoor facilities were badly affected by vandalism and lack of maintenance. The cave was often used as a shelter. In 1983 the entrance was completely renewed. Since then, the cave has been regularly opened to visitors every six months.”

Sources:  Leichtweißhöhle. n.d.  https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leichtwei%C3%9Fh%C3%B6hle. (accessed August 30, 2020).

Google translate (accessed August 30, 2020).

Joseph Northrup and Olive Branch Marriage Record

This post is under our “Unusual First Names” category. Olive, of course, is not an unusual given name, but along with her maiden name Branch…..well, one can’t help but do a double-take. We came across this record while researching the spellings Northup versus Northrup for the prior post. I’m guessing the name was chosen, how would one say, to sort of have biblical connotations rather than whimsical, but this is just a thought. And in Ancestry.com searching for the name Olive Branch in birth records yields 134 results. Of course, some of these will be duplicates, but that gives us a rough idea. Their birth years range from 1727 to 1931.

Below, from the Massachusetts Town and Vital Records compilation, this particular Olive Branch married Joseph Northrup May 22, 1785.

G. W. Jenks, Boots and Shoes, Shelburne Falls, Mass

Trade card, circa 1870 – 1900. Shelburne Falls, Massachusetts.

Price:  $10.00        Size:  5 and 7/8 x 2 and 3/4″

Was looking thru boxes this morning for anything 4th of July related, and nothing. So, taking a break from the offerings from Germany, here’s at a trade card from the U. S., Shelburne Falls, Mass., to be precise. No American flags or anything in there (imagine some red-white-and blue bunting draped along the porch rail, if you like) but it’s a beauty with an old-timey feel, in rural America:  an artist’s scene of a mill or home with a waterwheel, a woman shepherding a little girl across the wooden footbridge and another lady on the porch (if you enlarge, you can see her). Stamped on the card is:

“G. W. Jenks, Boots and Shoes, Shelburne Falls, Mass”  and  “Buy the light running ‘domestic’ “

G. W. was George W. Jenks, boot and shoe dealer who, according to the card, also sold sewing machines. A Massachusetts native, he was born about 1840. He appears on the 1880 Federal Census along with his wife, Abbie L., and their two children, Charles E. and Mabel L. Jenks. Also in the household is Maggie Chandler, a domestic servant. George must have had a successful business as he appears under this occupation as early as 1870 and as late as 1910 on census records.

He and Abbie (Northup) married on September 12, 1865 in Cheshire, Mass. After Abbie died in 1886, he married Mary Ellen Blanchard October 18, 1888 in Shelburne Falls.

Sources:  Year: 1880; Census Place: Shelburne, Franklin, Massachusetts; Roll: 533; Page: 221D; Enumeration District: 259. (Ancestry.com).

Year: 1870; Census Place: Shelburne, Franklin, Massachusetts; Roll: M593_615; Page: 382B; Family History Library Film: 552114. (Ancestry.com).

New England Historic Genealogical Society; Boston, Massachusetts; Massachusetts Vital Records, 1911–1915. (Ancestry.com).

Year: 1910; Census Place: Shelburne, Franklin, Massachusetts; Roll: T624_589; Page: 3A; Enumeration District: 0517; FHL microfilm: 1374602. (Ancestry.com).

Year: 1850; Census Place: Cheshire, Berkshire, Massachusetts; Roll: 305; Page: 101B. (Ancestry.com).

Treehouse In The Black Forest

Photo, deckled edge. Circa 1950s. Photo printing paper company:  Leonar.

$7.00

“In the Black Forest. Near Wildbad.”

Baumhaus is the German word for treehouse. And this one is a narrow wooden structure setting atop numerous tall poles which are criss-crossed in the center for stability. Wonder if it could have been a ranger station (reminded now of Ranger Gord on The Red Green Show 😉 ) But, for sure, it must have been great fun to climb up the ladder, enter the rather narrow “house” and wave down below to your family, like the boy in the photo is doing. We presume the shot to be from the 1950s; a detailed look at the family car might narrow the time-frame, maybe we’ll get to that in the near future.

The printing out paper used for the photo appears on the back as Leonar – a German company with lots of history. Here’s a great blog article for them:  Leonar-Leigrano photographic paper, R. I. P.?

Source:  Collins, D. “Leonar-Leigrano photographic paper, R. I. P.?” D. nonfigurativephoto, August 20, 2014. http://nonfigurativephoto.blogspot.com/2014/08/leonar-leigrano-photographic-paper-rip.html (accessed June 28, 2020).

To Fräulein Hedel Mandel, Halle, Germany

Divided back postcard. Postmarked December 9, [1901-1909] from Striegau (Strzegom, Poland). Publisher unknown.  Number and/or series:  1117/18.

Price:  $10.00

Addressed to:   “Fräulein Hedel Mandel, Halle a/Saale, Leipziger St. 73 [?]”

A colored (hand-colored?) card of a beautiful young fräulein holding a bucket, and smiling, head tilted. We might automatically think “milkmaid” but note the potatoes? at her feet.

It’s a good guess that the publisher is German, but we didn’t find a match online for the logo below. I’m sure someone knows; I just did not want to spend too much time searching. We’ll update in future, hopefully, but here’s the view:

The postmark indicates Striegau which is the German spelling for Strzegom, Poland. And was addressed to Halle, a.k.a Saale, Germany. Here’s a map link for the postcard’s journey, as the crow flies, though it must not have been that straight-forward!

And if anyone can read the note that was sent to Hedel, please send us a comment.

Source:  Distance from Halle (Saale) to Strzegom. distancefromto.net.

Couple On Steps

Real Photo Postcard. Unused. VELOX stamp box. Circa 1907 – 1917.

Price:  $4.00

A moment in time, somewhere in rural America…..

According to the particular VELOX stamp box on the reverse, this would have been taken around 1907 to 1917. The building the steps lead up to is not a house, but maybe rather a grange hall, a train depot, a hotel. Note the metal screening on the windows, and the possibility of various small signs (enlarge the image twice – see the nails?) that had once been posted to our left of the doorway. But, I was drawn to this postcard from my impression of two people, caught in a great, candid moment of laughter – the woman seems to be, doubled over would be overstating it, but how do you describe, when someone says something unexpected, maybe ridiculous, and you have that reaction, turning off to the side in mirth, a little bent at the waist? The gentleman’s pose is in wonderful contrast, with arms folded, looking into the camera. We can’t really tell if he’s laughing, but we do take in the working clothes, the heavy gloves, the dried mud on his boots (he’s probably listed as a farmer on the 1900 and 1910 census), and of course, the metal bucket to his right.

Zola I. Proudfit, April 1916

Real Photo Postcard, unused with writing. April 1916. AZO stamp box.

Price:  $12.00

“Miss Zola Proudfit, 8 years 4 months, Taking in April 23, 1916.”

A cute moment:  Zola posing on her front porch step, (assuming she was at home) in a white lace dress with a scalloped hem, dark tights and black shoes (they look new). The home is wood-framed and sided, with a wooden sidewalk leading up to it. There may have been electrical wires nearby, note the pattern of the two parallel lines, which must be shadows, appearing on the eave.

Zola, an Oregon native, is the daughter of Fred Proudfit and Rose Fitzgerald. She married California native, Robert Blake Galbraith, on November 25, 1926 in Oakland, California. At the time of their marriage, Zola was a telephone operator, and Robert a locomotive fireman. His parents are Joseph Galbraith and Elizabeth Blake.

Source:  Marriage records, select counties and years. California State Archives, Sacramento, California. (Ancestry.com).

A Snap Of John Taken Unawares

Old photo, white border. Circa 1900s to 1920s.

Price:  $2.00          Size:  3 and 1/8″ x 4 and 1/4″

I bought this one for the rather poetic description written on the reverse (We imagine it was his wife that wrote it.) But here’s John, in vest and suspenders and the inevitable hat, his surname and location unknown. He’s deep in thought, and holding what looks to be a tape measure. Maybe he was out looking at property lines. You can see some short wire fencing behind him, and then a nice view of some hills in the distance. The term snapshot came into use in the photographic sense around 1890. We found the short version, “snap” for snapshot (also written snap shot), in historical newspapers as early as 1907, (though this was from a quick search so it may have been in use a little earlier.)

Sources:  snapshot (n). https://www.etymonline.com/word/snapshot (accessed June 14, 2020).

Marshall, Carrie. “A Trip To Idaho – No. 3.” Woodford County Republican, (Eureka, IL) Thursday, September 26, 1907, Vol. 13, no. 34. (Newspapers.com).

Grandpa McInnes

Real Photo Postcard, unused. AZO stamp box.

Price:  $5.00

A beautiful photo-turned-postcard of a handsome guy in profile, with white beard, in suspenders, one hand resting on hip, the other holding his straw hat and with what we might think of as the “old homestead” in the immediate background. The only identification is written on the back as,  “Grandpa McInnes.”  The stamp box is an AZO, two triangles up and two down, which is estimated anywhere between 1910 and 1930, per Playle’s. See https://www.playle.com/realphoto/photoa.php.

Another Log Cabin

Old photo, circa 1920s – 1930s.

Price:  $4.00     Size:  2 and 1/2 x 3 and 1/2″

Might as well use the blank bar space for the watermark, kinda cool! So, here’s another cabin. We need the Barnwood Builders on this one, but from our inexpert eye, it looks like most of the chinking is gone or very hard to see (rather than a new cabin not yet chinked). Seems pretty tall, and then also there are no windows, so maybe it wasn’t finished yet? No, but then some of the logs have rotted or are bug-chewed so, that doesn’t make sense. Maybe this was the view from the back and all the windows were in the front. And that supposed door there is kinda weird-looking, it almost looks like (click to enlarge) it’s been Photoshopped on – where is the door frame? Still, it’s a cabin with rather a majestic look to it. A beauty with some stories to tell.