Another Unusual House

Divided Back, Real Photo Postcard. Circa 1910’s – 1930’s. 

Price:  $12.00

The overexposure in this one makes it easy to miss at first, but there’s a chimney in our top right-hand view. (Click twice to enlarge.) And see how oddly it’s placed, cutting into the second-story roof eave? Probably the second floor and porch were later additions, right? Not that that would be unusual; it’s just the strangeness of how and where the chimney and roof intersect that gets us. (Maybe other examples are out there online but I didn’t see any). Then specifically it’s that very small overexposed bit (where the edge of the porch roof and chimney corner intersect) that tricks the eye so that the top portion of the chimney looks like it can’t meet with the lower portion (a fun-house-Alice-In-Wonderland-Dr. Seuss effect) or as if the chimney starts on the second floor. (Really not!) What’s the home style? Definitely there’s a Craftsman element from those deep eaves and exposed rafters and I’m not sure if this is considered Arts and Crafts but how about the charming wooden railings and those “rays of sun” extending up under the porch roof on the sides? Really, thumbs up on on the whole porch design. (The mind wanders….picturing the homeowners, admirers of Craftsman-style homes happily making requests of the builder……)

A Moment’s Rest

Real Photo Postcard, unused. Stamp box:  DOPS. Circa 1925 – 1942.

Price:  $8.00

Is this us? Finding a safe spot in a storm, surrounded by the chaos of life, just a breather for a minute, but drawing strength….Yeah, it feels like it, and I’m with ya.

The time frame on this one comes from the great Playle’s website re Real Photo Stamp Boxes.

Source:  “Real Photo Postcard Stamp Boxes – D-E.” https://www.playle.com/realphoto/photod.php (accessed September 11, 2023).

The Old Houseboat

Real Photo Postcard, unused. Circa 1907 – 1915.

Price:  $4.00

What confirms this structure’s status as a boat is the name at the stern – though very faint and indiscernible. And since the postcard’s image is so washed out, here’s a darker version:

So, unless someone is writing a book on old houseboats, I don’t see much monetary value here for this card. But we’ve had sales on items in the past – cover of a book on one, fashion example used inside another book, etc. – so, value is relative. Ha, it’s definitely true, sometimes I ask myself later, “Why did I buy this one?”  🙂 (No names, rather light…) Harkening back now to my mindset at the time, it was for the romantic notion of houseboats I’ve had since a child. (At least, I think this can be called a houseboat.) Woven in there somewhere is an antidote for a feeling – a lament, a long-running perception (that surfaces pointedly at times) that our present-day “expectation” is one of making everything ascetically acceptable (a nice lawn, nice-looking house, etc.) – an expectation that, in my opinion, often usurps the more important things in life – real friendship among neighbors, for instance….So it’s refreshing to travel back to the early 1900’s, to a time when a hand-built boat like this one would not automatically be viewed as an “eyesore” but rather, just simply for what it was.

The story from this captured moment….of course, we can speculate all day long, but my take….The houseboat belongs to the older gentlemen with the walking stick, having built it and lived on it for a time in his younger days. He’s got great anecdotes (that the rest of the family have heard a number of times – rolling eyes, 😉 ). He’s here to retrieve some items resting in storage, and he and the family have turned the trip into a nice outing and a photo op. (Note the three hats that have been removed and are laying on the ground in a pile.) Check out the expressions – the rather comical upwards glance of the lad toward the old man, the come-hither expression for the young lady (gorgeous lace collar), the straight-on pose for the woman (daughter or wife of the gentleman?), that air of history and ownership emanating from the old man, and never forgetting to mention, the family dog, happy to be out for the day with his “charges.”

Back to the boat – it’s quite long. I thought at first that the roofed portion on our left was from some building behind it, but no, that part is attached. Note the animal skins that lay draped over the top edge of the cabin (for keeping out the rain?). And the wooden or metal box attached to the cabin’s front wall, left of the doorway – the box meeting some type of practical purpose.

Young Woman Wearing Striped Sash

Divided back, Real Photo Postcard, wide border. Unused. Circa 1910 – 1920s.

Price:  $6.00

A dark-haired young woman with bangs and hair pulled up in a top bun, wears a loose-fitting white blouse and…..are those trousers? Possibly, but more likely the question’s come up just due to the way the skirt is hanging. Not that trousers would have been unheard of, especially with and after WWI (the vacated jobs being filled by women, the practicality of pants, etc.) But to continue – around her hips is a wide, striped cloth accessory, pinned in place, giving the outfit a nice bohemian look. (The “belt” in the limelight reminds me of the Ceinture fléchée, the cloth, arrow sash that the French-Canadian voyageurs used, though there is no arrow design in this one.) And she’s posed at the foot of a flight of wooden stairs – the setting is rustic, working-class, we see an opening to maybe a store or warehouse on the ground level behind her. Maybe the building housed a flat above a shop or was a two-story business. Also of note, the young lady’s jewelry – earrings, a bracelet of (presumably) gold or gold-tone, and two rings, one a possible wedding ring.

Dating the card:  The reverse of this Real Photo Postcard – no stamp box, with its simple lettering style and “Correspondence Here,” “Name and Address Here” and its very short Divided Back line doesn’t, as far as I’ve seen, and according to Playle’s, have any verified to-and-from dates, (that’d be a time-consuming project, for sure) so we’re just estimating by general experience with clothing style and RPPCs.

Sources:  Ceinture fléchée. n.d. See link for URL. Accessed February 16, 2023.

Real Photo Postcard Stamp Backs:  Unknown Manufacturers. Playle.com. (Accessed February 16, 2023).

Jorgen aka Jergen Vind

Divided Back, Real Photo Postcard. AZO stamp box. Circa 1922.

Price:  $15.00           Size:  5 and 1/8 x 3 and 1/8″

This one was slightly cropped it seems, but it’s almost full size for an RPPC. And a very cute portrait of one Jorgen Vind, age about five. Let’s see how many Jorgen Vinds there might be in records:

After a little searching, we can confidently say this is Jorgen aka Jergen Paulson Vind, born September 19, 1917 in Crockett, Contra Costa County, California. Crockett is located about 28 miles northeast of San Francisco. The 1920 Federal Census for Contra Costa shows parents, Jerry Vind, born about 1868 in North Schleswig, Germany, (now part of Denmark) native language Danish, and Elizabeth, born about 1885 in Ireland, and children, nine-year-old Anna and two-year-old Jorgen. From the CA birth records we learn that Elizabeth’s maiden name was Kerr.

Jergen P. Vind married Pat A. Peters, November 6, 1954 in San Francisco, California.

Jergen died in Reno, Nevada, January 21, 1998.

Sources:  State of California. California Birth Index, 1905-1995. Sacramento, CA, USA: State of California Department of Health Services, Center for Health Statistics.(Ancestry.com).

Year: 1920; Census Place: Township 12, Contra Costa, California; Roll: T625_95; Page: 9B; Enumeration District: 26. (Ancestry.com).

Schleswig-Holstein. n.d. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Schleswig-Holstein (accessed February 15, 2023).

National Archives at St. Louis; St. Louis, Missouri; WWII Draft Registration Cards for California, 10/16/1940-03/31/1947; Record Group: Records of the Selective Service System, 147; Box: 1872. (Ancestry.com).

Ancestry.com. California, U.S., Marriage Index, 1949-1959.

Nevada State Health Division, Office of Vital Statistics. State Death Index. Nevada Department of Health and Human Services, Carson City, Nevada. (Ancestry.com).

Jerome Drug Company, Jerome, Idaho

Real Photo Postcard, unused. Circa 1911 – 1920. Kodak stamp box “Velvet Green.” Diamonds in four corners.

Price:  $20.00

The stamp box on the reverse of this card, and described above, is one I’ve never seen before. It’s not listed on the wonderful Playle’s website, either. (Very surprising.) Often the stamp box helps to narrow down the date on a Real Photo Postcard, but luckily we get help elsewhere:

One of the keys to the location of this card are the names advertised on the second-story windows, Dr. L. G. Phillips, Dentist and Dr. Schmershall, especially the latter, of course. They were found in the 1920 Jerome County City Directory:  Leon G. Phillips and spouse Madeline and John F. Schmershall, county physician, and spouse Agnes.

Leon G. Phillips and Madeline are on the 1920 Federal Census in South Jerome. He was born in Illinois, about 1882, she in Illinois, about 1889, and sons, Leon G., about 1914 and Robert Ridgeway Phillips, about 1916, both born in Idaho. Leon Phillips and Madeline Ridgeway married in Lincoln, Idaho on August 22, 1911.

John and Agnes are also on the 1920, in Jerome, with son, Peter Clark Schmershall, along with boarder, Leland S. Johnson. John was born in Pennsylvania about 1877, Agnes in Colorado about 1889, and Peter in Idaho, about 1913. John Schmershall and Agnes Miller were married April 6, 1911 in Jerome.

When the drug store, or building that housed it, was built has proven hard to pin down, but mention in the local county paper was found starting in 1911. An ad for Dr. Schmershall, office above the store, was found for the same year:

Something different in a newspaper:  Interspersed throughout the town news are ads like these, in the Jerome County Times, from various businesses. Here are some from August 14, 1913, pertaining to the subject of this postcard:

That does sound good! And, one more. (I couldn’t resist.) This one from October 3, 1912:

Jerome Drug Co. is later listed in newspaper ads as “the Rexall Store.”

Lastly, if you’ve enlarged the image, no doubt something has struck you as odd, it’s in the block lettering for the doctors:  It’s rather funny, the “C” in Doctor (and in Physician, but not as striking) looking like a “G, ” so that we’re reading “Dogtor.”

Sources:  Year: 1920; Census Place: South Jerome, Jerome, Idaho; Roll: T625_293; Page: 7B; Enumeration District: 183. (Ancestry.com).

Ancestry.com. Idaho, U.S., County Marriages, 1864-1950.

Year: 1920; Census Place: Jerome, Jerome, Idaho; Roll: T625_293; Page: 17B; Enumeration District: 184. (Ancestry.com).

Ancestry.com. Idaho, U.S., Select Marriages, 1878-1898; 1903-1942. (Ancestry.com).

The Jerome County Times. August 14, 1913. Thursday, p. 5. (Newspapers.com).

The Jerome County Times. October 3, 1912. Thursday, p. 8. (Newspapers.com).

The Jerome County Times. March 16, 1911. Thursday, p. 4. (Newspapers.com).

Somewhere Out West

Divided Back, Real Photo Postcard, unused. Kruxo “divider line” no stamp box. Circa 1911 – 1922. Number 4313 appears in bottom right, front of card.

Price:  $5.00

I found this Real Photo Postcard in Nevada, so it’s possible that the photo could have been taken there. The original image is rather dark, so the second view is a lightened version from Photoshop. These obscure, maybe somewhat forgotten, or seemingly easy to overlook images are a draw for me, for some reason. Or it may have appealed due to the similar scene out multiple windows that we see from our new home. (Just a girl from Detroit who moved out to the Central Coast in Cali, then retired and moved one state over. I suspect my perspective of “Out West” will always be that of a Michigander 😉 )

Anyway, it’s always possible that someone will recognize this particular view of our postcard’s mystery range. And, you’ll notice the house, outbuilding and barn (or three houses?) and fence. Wonder what the story was. Was it a ranch? Not an easy life, especially in winter. On a related note: On our property I’ve found lots of remnants of cowboy campsites, circa 1920’s and ’30s – pieces of charcoal; flattened tin cans and small buckets; broken cups, plates; (including purple carnival glass) Mason-type jars and bottles – one intact, so far, a small, amber Hazel-Atlas. This intact bottle, if you want to make a case for alternate realities, had shown up out of nowhere in an area I’d already trod multiple times, (always looking for that “glint in the sun”). The universe’s answer to a small request to find something unbroken (and it was much appreciated!)

Source for postcard date estimate:

“Real Photo Stamp Boxes. K – L.” (https://www.playle.com/realphoto/photok.php). Accessed December 28, 2022.

Of interest for identifying old bottles:

https://glassbottlemarks.com/ Glass Bottle Marks (glassbottlemarks.com).

Happy in Winter

Real Photo postcard, unused. Cyko stamp box. Circa 1907 – 1920s.

Price:  $4.00

No name or location on the back, as you can see, and I think I just bought this one because the card made me happy. An older gentlemen in either a fur hat or a black sheepskin hat, (it looks kind of wool-y) and wool turtleneck sweater and jacket. A strong, handsome face with a fairly hefty mustache, and he’s standing outside, looking off to the distance; for me, his expression a mixture of kindness, satisfaction, warmth. The phrase, “a satisfied mind” comes to the forefront. A man of integrity that’s worked hard at taking care of the land and his family, maybe an emigrant to this country many years prior.

The estimated date for this postcard comes from Playles.com, (1904 – 1920s). But our 1907 start estimate is because both sender’s note and addressee info would have gone on the reverse, and postal regulations didn’t allow for that until the end of 1907. (Assuming Real Photo Postcards went by the same general rule, and I’ve never seen anything to the contrary.)

Source:  “Real Photo Postcard Stampboxes – C.” https://www.playle.com/realphoto/photoc.php (accessed December 23, 2022).

Pair of Seminole Indian Linen Postcards

Divided Backs, Linens, unused postcards. Circa 1940s. Publisher (top card):  G. W. Romer. A “Colourpicture” Publication, Cambridge, Mass. Series 12176.  Publisher (bottom card):  “Tichnor Quality Views.” Tichnor Bros., Inc., Boston, Mass. Series 69514.

Price:  $7.00 for the pair

Description (top card):

“Musa Isle, Home of the Seminole Indian. N. W. 25th Ave. & 16th St. Miami, Fla.

“The Baby Is Too Sleepy to Be Interested – See the Seminole Indians in Their Own Village at Musa Isle.” 

Description (bottom card):

“The only ‘Indian Nation,’ that has not signed a Peace Treaty with the U. S. A., still carries on in primitive fashion, the tribal lure of its ancestors in the Everglades, Florida.”

So, I’ve been away way too long from posting articles (chalking it up to “life – oy vey” 😉 and also working on my own family tree – having found a diary, of all things, for mine and siblings, 2nd-great grandfather. Yes, you guys, they’re out there. Proof, if we needed it, to never give up the search. People donate things to museums, snippets of such events get picked up on the internet….and we, for unknown reasons, Google a name we haven’t researched for years, and get blown away by the unexpected results. So, before moving to holiday cards, we’ll briefly continue with this “alligator morphing into Seminole Indian theme,” with a couple of the numerous tourist postcards from the Seminole Nation back in the day. And, we couldn’t even begin to do justice, in a short blog article, to the history of the land and people, so we’ll settle for some bits and pieces, sparked by a few forays into old newspaper articles:

Musa Isle – a little background

Musa Isle was part of a small “inland island” called Marshall’s Key, located between the north and south forks of the Miami River and near the city’s limits (according to an article from 1914). The area, boasting exceptionally good soil, was procured by a number of farmers and fruit growers. All the farms and groves had their own names but the “Musa Isle” endeavor ended up becoming so well-known that, as a misnomer, the name was often applied to the whole Key. Very understandable, as that particular grove became a popular tourist attraction famous for its fruit. Fifty-four varieties were raised there, as well as different types of palm trees.

Origin of a name

It’s been reported, in a very lengthy article written in 1921 (see first source below) the author having learned from “local history,” that the name Musa Isle was coined around 1896-97 by Charles O. Richardson. (The name comes from Musaceae, the botanical name for banana.) He and his wife were theater performers of twenty years who were looking for a change. They moved to Florida and established their tropical fruit plantation. C. O.’s father, James Richardson, was already in Florida, possibly on the property, or having started in another locale, farming. But accounts vary, so we’d be safe to say James and C. O. Richardson were the principles involved. Later the property changed hands.

The penalties of progress

Jumping to a March of 1922 clip, Musa Isle Grove was giving over to “progress”. Below, from a larger article that appeared in The Miami Herald, March 19, 1922.

Next, the Seminoles – a brief (we’ve been pogo stick jumping) “landing” with regard to tourism

A Seminole named Willie Willie started leasing a section of Musa Isle in 1919.  Toward the end of 1921, he turned the operation into a tourist attraction. Below, an article from the Miami News, October 25, 1921 (click to enlarge):

Lastly (for now) a jump to our 2022 perspective…..

Wow. If you’ve read the full article, you’ve likely been horrified, same as me:  As a tourist, you could purchase a baby alligator to take home as a pet. (Horrified both for tourist and baby gator and also in going further – simultaneously flashing on what must have been many similar instances happening at that same time, all around the globe – not that we’ve completely, or indeed, seemingly at all, learned our lessons between then and now. You’ll note also the additional dose of historical perspective needed when reading the descriptions above of the “vicious alligators” and their “cruel teeth.”) And, if it needs mention, and I’m aware this is a very simplified statement on my part, (and this is probably just to lead into the song) the Seminoles had, enterprisingly, turned to tourism in its many forms, for their continued survival……For the Everglades, I always think of John Anderson’s hauntingly beautiful, Seminole Wind.)

Sources:   Page, C. Clinton. “Abandon Theatrical Stage to Come South and Raise Fruits and Vegetables.” The Miami Herald. November 18, 1921. Friday, p. 4. (Newspapers.com).

“Musa Isle Grove, Early Showplace on River, Finally Yields to Subdivision.” The Miami Herald. March 19, 1922. Sunday, p. 27. (Newspapers.com).

Bananas. https://www.google.com/search?gs_ssp=eJzj4tTP1TcwNK7INjNg9OLILS1OTE5NTAUAP5sGUw&q=musaceae&rlz=1C1OKWM_enUS1015US1015&oq=Musaceae&aqs=chrome.1.0i355i512j46i512j0i512l2j46i512j0i512l5.5404j0j15&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8 (accessed December 19, 2022).

“Alligator Farm Will Be Tourist Attraction Soon.” The Miami News. October 25, 1921.Tuesday, p. 17 (Newspapers.com).

John Anderson Seminole Wind. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W8sh9P3X33w (accessed December 19, 2022).

Triple Royal Palm, Ridgewood Avenue, Daytona FL

Divided back, unused, embossed postcard. Publisher:  S. Langsdorf & Co., New York. Made in Germany. Series 618. Circa 1908 – 1914.

Price:  $35.00

This is what’s called an “alligator border” postcard. They were very collectible at the time and are pretty highly valued today. You can find them selling for around 30.00 or 40.00 dollars to in the hundreds, depending on content and rarity….And, imagine this particular card having been placed in an album after it was first purchased, because if you look closely (enlarge the image twice) you’ll notice the slightly darker coloration on each corner (so that when it was displayed in the album you were not seeing the corners). I like this kind of “physical proof” – it seems to add another layer or dimension to the card.

When looking for publisher S. Langsdorf, we found mention of him and (bonus!) the alligator border phenom in this Google book search:  America’s Alligator:  A Popular History of Our Most Celebrated Reptile, by Doug Alderson. You can also take a “Look Inside” for part of the book on Amazon.com right now. See the upcoming post for more on S. Langsdorf.

The “Triple” in Royal Palm is, I think, a description of a Royal Palm that has three trunks, or maybe multiple trunks, as in the most predominant palm appearing in our postcard above.

Sources:  Alderson, Doug. America’s Alligator:  A Popular History of Our Most Celebrated Reptile. Rowman and Littlefield, 2020. (books.google.com).

Royal Palm Tree. https://www.allaboutpalmtrees.com/royal-palm-tree (accessed October 22, 2022).