Los Banos, California, Waterfowl Scene


Divided back, unused postcard. Publisher unknown. Circa 1920s – 1930s.

Price:  $12.00

This is a seemingly rare postcard; old Los Banos area postcards seem to be few and far between, though there are some vintage ones out there at the moment…..A trip back to the beautiful San Joaquin Valley is now shimmering on the immediate horizon….But this wetland area is beautiful, especially in the early foggy mornings….The description on the back is:

San Joaquin Valley Water-Fowl Group. Donated by Mrs. Delia Fleishhacker to the Museum of the California Academy of Sciences, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco.

The Sacramento-San Joaquin Valley has long been noted for the great variety and abundance of its water fowl. A few species, such as the Cinnamon Teal, Mallard, Spring, Redhead and Ruddy duck, breed in the Valley, and may be found there in limited numbers throughout the year. The principal breeding grounds of most of our ducks and geese are north of the United States, in Canada and Alaska. After the breeding season, when the young are able to fly well, these northern breeding species come southward to their winter feeding grounds, one of the greatest of which is the San Joaquin Valley. This group shows a typical scene on the grounds of the Los Baños Gun Club, in February, just as the sun is setting beyond the Coast Ranges at Pacheco Pass, and just as a flock of white-fronted Geese is arriving.

At first it was unclear exactly what was donated according to the back of the postcard (a painting?) but the following newspaper clipping from 1936, appearing in The Brooklyn Daily Eagle points to the postcard showing off (though obviously not in the best detail) one of the museum’s displays of stuffed birds, part of a group of San Joaquin waterfowl exhibits.


As to the donator, Mrs. Delia Fleishhacker was a well-known San Francisco philanthropist and mother of eight, who also was distinguished through her poetry and travel journals. Maiden name Stern, she was born 1839 in Albany NY and at the age of seventeen, married German immigrant Aaron Fleishhacker. The Fleishhacker name figures prominently in both the history of San Francisco and Jewish pioneers in the American West. Below, Delia’s obituary from the Oakland Times, September 23, 1923:


By steamer, mule and wagon

The following excerpt is from Jeanne E. Abrams Jewish Women Pioneering the Frontier Trail:  A History in the American West (2006).

Some woman traveled by land, some by sea, and many combined the two modes of transportation. In 1857, Delia Stern Fleishhacker traveled to Virginia City, Nevada, from Albany, New York, with her husband Aaron, first by steamer and mule through the Panama route, and then by wagon from California. The discovery of the rich Comstock Lode in the area would for a time make Virginia City a bustling metropolis. Aaron and Delia operated a grocery and dry-goods store in the mining town, and the energetic Delia helped deliver babies born to miners’ wives. Before long, the couple, who would become the parents of eight children, moved to San Francisco, where Aaron Fleishhacker opened a thriving box company with a windfall from a miner he had grubstaked.

A very worthy restoration

Besides contributing to the West’s pioneer history, another of the Fleishhacker family’s historical legacies is The Mother’s Building, which was part of the former Fleishhacker Playfield and Pool complex, and now stands in need of some definite t.l.c. It was built in 1925 on land donated by two of Aaron and Delia Fleishhacker’s sons, Herbert and Mortimer, to honor their mother. (Herbert was the founder of what became the San Francisco Zoo.) And in viewing the photos of the grand and beautiful building we wonder what it was like exactly back when it was in use. What did they call it? (Nothing found in newspaper accounts.) And maybe this is romanticizing the past, but from our vantage point, it seems to have been such an oasis of beauty and spaciousness, compared to today’s pool and beach changing areas – struggling to change out of the wet bathing suit, in a small space where you’ve just discovered the door latch doesn’t work and you’ve got a million bags and your bigger kid in the next stall and a younger one crammed into the one you’re in, and oh by the way, there’s the toilet to contend with, too. (Weren’t there actual changing rooms here last time?) As for the Fleishhacker Pool – it was huge, accounts say it held six or 6.5 million gallons of filtered, heated sea water (heaven) and had a tall diving platform for the brave. The pool, it’s stated now, would not be feasible to re-build, but the Mother’s Building, when it’s restored (let’s say when) in our fast-paced, multi-tasking-is-the-norm world will, I like to imagine, restore a little bit of our sanity. 😉

Sources:  “Museums and Monuments.”  The Brooklyn Daily Eagle, June 21, 1936. Sunday, p. 50. (Newspapers.com)

“Mrs. Delia Fleishhacker.” Oakland Tribune, September 23, 1923. Sunday, p. 20. (Newspapers.com).

Abrams, Jeanne E. Jewish Women Pioneering the Frontier Trail:  A History in the American West. New York University Press, 2006. (Google eBook).

Pon, Elton. “Hope for Historic Mother’s Building.” March 23, 2016. (San Francisco Recreation & Parks).

“Tag Archives: Mothers Building.” July 27, 2016. The Living New Deal. (accessed December 1, 2016).

Historic Sites, Fleishhacker Pool. San Francisco Zoo & Gardens. (accessed December 1, 2016).

Giesecke Boot & Shoe Manufacturing Co.


Trade card for the Giesecke Boot & Shoe Manufacturing Co. Circa 1885 – 1901.

Price:  $12.00

Grand!  And it is, this lithograph from an unknown company showing two children riding a duck (or goose?) The girl, sitting “side-saddle” holds a parasol, while the boy sits astride holding the reigns and is turning back to gaze at her. The duck or goose, take your pick, is about to be happily paddling his way thru some lily pads. The reverse shows:

“Not how cheap, but how good

For Fit. For Wear. For Economy buy

‘Little Shoes for Little Men and Little Women’

None genuine unless stamped on bottom ‘Little Shoes for Little Men’  trade mark registered.

The Giesecke Boot & Shoe M’f’g Co.    Makers”

Owner and president of the company, William Frederick Giesecke, was born in Germany December 4, 1833. He emigrated to the U. S. around May 1, 1858. City directories show that he was manufacturing shoes and boots in St. Louis, Missouri at least from 1870, with addresses centering on Washington Ave. He paired (no pun intended) with Edward A. Meysenburg from about 1876 – 1881. And 1885 thru 1901 directories show the business name as it appears on this trade card. By 1904 the business is under the name of Giesecke – D’Oench – Hays Shoe Co., and the 1908 directory shows there were factories in both St. Louis and Jefferson, Missouri. The obit below from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, dated March 21, 1910, gives more information:


Sources:  Edwards’ St. Louis Directory, 1870. p. 360. Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995.

Gould’s St. Louis City Directory, 1876. p. 343. Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995.

Gould’s Street and Avenue Directory, 1881. p. 428. Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995.

National Archives and Records Administration (NARA); Washington D.C.; NARA Series: Passport Applications, 1795-1905; Roll #: 329; Volume #: Roll 329 – 20 May 1889-24 May 1889. (Ancestry.com)

Gould’s St. Louis Directory, 1895. p. 554. Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995.

Gould’s St. Louis Directory, 1901. p. 707. Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995.

Gould’s Street and Avenue Directory, 1904. p. 757. Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995.

Gould’s Street and Avenue Directory, 1908. p. 658. Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995.

“W. F. Giesecke, Retired Shoe Manufacturer, Buried Monday.” St. Louis Post-Dispatch. 21 March 1910, main edition. (newspapers.com)

I’m No Chicken But I’m Game

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A cute card from 1915 showing a couple of ducks dressed up in walking attire – hats, scarves, bags, umbrella. The male duck (the drake) is trying to pick up the female. Love that sideways glance from the lady, her feather boa scarf, the drake’s carpet bag, and his persuasive hopeful look. Note the bare outline of the smiling duck along with the word “DUCKS” on the advertisement in the background. The sender wrote:

“Dear Mo. I just got my policy the day after I got Ella letter. Bert is going to town and I want to mail this. tell Liz I will write soon all are well and hope you all the same love to all fro us all. Lara[?], Gen. Del. Upland Cal.”

Addressed to:   “Mrs. J. M. Ellison. Box 757. R.F.D. No 3. Sacramento Cal.”

Divided back, used postcard. Postmarked Jan 18, 1915 from Upland, California. Publisher unknown. Series or number 17 – 5.

Price:  $5.00