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).

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.

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.

I’m In With All The Swells!

Divided back postcard. Postmarked December 18, 1913 from Wichita, Kansas. Publisher:  Williamson-Haffner Co., Denver, Colorado. Artist name unknown.

Price:  $12.00

Addressed to:   “Mrs. Ida McFrederick, Harper, Kans, Route 3.”

The sender wrote:  “Dec 18 – 1913. send my mail up here. Hello Ma, Guess I won’t be home Sat. so don’t look for me until you see me. am working now. by by   Florence.”

Per Walter E. Corson’s, Publishers’ Trademarks Identified, the publishing house is the Williamson-Haffner Company, of Denver. So, the initials appearing at the bottom left corner of the illustration must be those of the artist. (Name unknown at this point, but maybe we’ll find out later.)

Thanks, Florence (for passing along) the wonderful phrase on the card, “Don’t look for me until you see me.”  Might remind you of the conundrum we find ourselves in when we contemplate time travel…..and some of the great comedic vignettes we’re familiar with:  Two that come to mind are Joe talking to Frito at the Costco Shuttle in Idiocracy, and one of Big Bang’s segments, something along the lines of, “Okay, we agree that if one of us invents a time machine, we’ll meet right here at exactly (whatever o’clock.)” They look around the room, and then….damn, disappointment. (Not sure – President Not Sure? 😉 ) what episode this was from and this is only from memory, but you probably know the one I mean.)

From the 1905 Kansas State Census, the family is parents, William and Ida McFrederick, and their children, Carl, William, Roy, Earl, Florence and Fern. With the family is a young McDowell (possibly) couple (who may or may not be related) by marriage to the McFredericks. Florence would have been about eighteen when she sent this postcard to her mom.

Sources:  Corson, Walter E. Publishers’ Trademarks Identified. Ed. James Lewis Lowe. Norwood, PA:  1993. (print).

Kansas State Historical Society; Topeka, Kansas; 1905 Kansas Territory Census; Roll: ks1905_62; Line: 13. (Ancestry.com).

A Formal Occasion, Onboard Ship

Photo, white border. Circa 1910s – 1940s.

Price:  $6.00         Size:  About 2 x 2 and 7/8″

A snapshot found in a loose box of photos, location and ship name are unknown, and the date is unknown. If you enlarge the photo you’ll see three men in non-military type hats, that are walking with the officers. Maybe they are dignitaries of some sort.

Thunderbird Park, Vancouver Island, 1958

Photo, snapshot with white border, June 1958, Vancouver Island, BC

Price:  $5.00       Size:  About 3 and 1/2 x 3 and 1/2″

Tourists in June 1958 posing at the foot of a totem pole (not sure if this particular one is still there) and in front of the Mungo Martin House which was built in 1953.

Mungo Martin. n.d. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mungo_Martin. (accessed March 14, 2020).

Carl Stockdale and Mary Dowds

Old photo, circa 1900 – 1920s.

Price:  $7.00      Size:  About 3 and 3/4 x 2 and 1/2″

Here’s a great one for New Year’s Eve, a couple of partiers…..even though probably this was not taken in winter. Is that an open window? In any case, it’s Carl Stockdale and Mary Dowds seated on the floor and having a great laugh. We’ll have to research for the possible year according to Mary’s style of dress, for starters. But for now, just to get this one posted…..and Happy New Year!

It’s fun to pick out the details in old photos. Notice the photo within a photo on this one, top right, and the nail pattern in the sole of Carl’s shoe. (Another possible clue for the age of the photo?) And that’s a nice wallpaper pattern and then there’s the beautiful lace on the curtains.

Borealis and Sleigh Ride

Antique circular print. Artist and publisher unknown. Circa 1880s – 1900.

Price for circular print without background:  $5.00        Size:  About 3 and 3/4″ across.

This was just a circular cutout from somewhere, that someone had saved, back in the day. It had made its way to one of the paper fairs or maybe an antique store, I don’t remember. The top and bottom had gotten a little scrunched but you can’t notice it in the image. And in looking for a background to scan it on (always a fun search!) I noticed our wall calendar for this year which was all photos of the Aurora Borealis. So, I got kind of enamored of the idea of this couple, and their team and sleigh, sort of floating in space in a sky of magical Borealis colors and lights (What would be the translation into music? Surely something so beautiful!)

And note in the closeup below, the carved figurehead with draping wings of what is probably a peacock. Searching online we find that there were many stunningly ornate sleighs crafted in prior centuries, including those with figureheads. Click here to see some examples that others have posted.

Source:   Google.com search result for “ornate antique open air sleighs with figureheads.” Accessed 12/29/19.

Young Hockey Players

Vintage photo, white border, circa 1950s.

Price:  $4.00         Size: 4 and 7/8 x 3″

It’s hockey season again, yay!

These guys are happily posing with their sticks on a frozen stream, by the looks of it. There’s a rustic wooden bridge behind them. Easy to miss in the background is an Esso gas station sign. No writing on the back but this photo was found (at the paper fair in San Francisco) in a large box of loose photos next to other ephemera of French-Canadian origin, which we’ll be posting next…..But hey, where are the guys’ skates? And one more question:  Could the sticks have been handmade? Just wondering because of the lack of any company name appearing on them, especially on the goalie’s, the wider one, in the front center. And in googling Esso we discovered a major connection to the sport.

Cropped shot of the Esso sign appearing in the photo:

Some trivia….

First of all, did you know that the name Esso is just the pronunciation of the S and O for Standard Oil?

The first NHL game broadcast on the radio was in 1936 and was sponsored by the Esso brand.

The three stars awarded in NHL games originated as a way to advertise Imperial’s three star brand of gasoline.

See the Imperial/Esso/Mobil link for more.

Source:  Esso and Mobil:  Our History. https://www.esso.ca/en/our-history. Accessed October 27, 2019.