An Alpine Christmas

Divided back, embossed, unused postcard, dated December 25, 1907.

Price:  $7.00

Merry Christmas….

“Dec. 25-07. Dear Cousin. I received yor pretty Christmas greeting we are having an easy time shut down last night until Jan 2-d. I found funston St. today did not stop. hope you had a Merry Christmas Both well. Will look for you on the 8.59  Cousin A.B.B.”

Addressed to:   “Miss Katie S. Covert, 730 Centre St., Trenton N. J.”

This card was printed for the change in postal regulations in the U.S. that took place in December 1907. You’ll note how the publisher included instructions on the back of the card, as to which side to write the message on, and which side for the address.  The ivy, holly, clover, and horseshoes (great detail on the horseshoes) are embossed and in the background there’s a framed alpine mountain scene of a shepherd’s hut.

Katie S. Covert shows up on the 1908 Trenton city directory as Kate S. Covert, clerk, residence address 730 Centre St., and on the 1900 Federal Census for East Windsor, Mercer County, NJ:  a single boarder, working as a clerk and cashier, born in New Jersey, May 1875, living with C. S. and Mary B. Appleget.

What is the reference in the message about “Funston St?” Possibly the sender is referring to the Philadelphia street by that name. This seems to be the closest match to the Trenton area, and the cousins probably lived fairly close to each other, as A.B.B. was looking for Katie on the 8.59 train.

Sources:  Fitzgerald’s Trenton and Mercer County Directory, 1908. p. 308. Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995.

Year: 1900; Census Place: East Windsor, Mercer, New Jersey; Page: 11; Enumeration District: 0047; FHL microfilm: 1240981. (Ancestry.com).

I Hope You’re Happy, Too.

Divided back postcard. Postmarked December 22, 1920, Oakland, California. Series or number 425A.

Price:  $8.00

“I Hope You’re Happy Too

I feel so fine and Christmassy

And generally good,

I want to share the feeling

As a good friend rightly should.”

Signed, Florence Thickle.

These postcard captions are funny sometimes, which is definitely part of the charm of the old cards. And well, imagine trying to come up with something slightly different for yet another Christmas postcard….As for the illustration, it’s beautiful – a full moon lights a wonderful view looking up a set of steep steps (be careful on the way down!) toward a manor house, we presume (due to the grandeur of the approach).

The sender, Florence, wrote:

4427 Evans ave., Oakland, Calif. Dec. 21, ’20. Dear Grandma Waiters:  This is to wish you happy Xmas, and a fine new year. I’m not doing much for this Xmas; but hope I’ll be able to be at work again before very long. How are you all? Hope old Santa treats you all real good. Lots of love from – Florence.”

Addressed to:   “Mrs. V. C. Waiters, Paso Robles, California.”

V. C. Waiters is Vesta C. Waiters, wife of William A. Waiters (second marriage for both) found on the 1910 Federal Census for Paso Robles, born Iowa, about 1847. Her name at birth was Vesta Catherine Fry. On the 1920 she is widowed, head of household in Paso Robles; with her is her brother William H. Fry and granddaughter, Sarah E. Gesser. Curiously, nothing definitive was found for Florence Thickle in records, though we did not trace the grandmother-granddaughter relationship as that tends to be quite time-consuming. Florence must not have been at the Evans Avenue, Oakland address for very long as city directories show a different family in 1920.

Sources:  Year: 1910; Census Place: Paso Robles, San Luis Obispo, California; Roll: T624_104; Page: 7A; Enumeration District: 0038; FHL microfilm: 1374117. Year: 1920; Census Place: Paso Robles, San Luis Obispo, California; Roll: T625_144; Page: 15B; Enumeration District: 45. (Ancestry.com).

A Waterwheel Christmas

Antique embossed, die-cut Christmas card. Date and publisher unknown.

Price:  $10.00              Size:  About 2 and 1/2 x 2 and 3/4″

This is a beautiful little card of a wooden waterwheel, the water having frozen, showing icicles hanging from the rungs. The details of the wood and ice are gorgeous, not to mention that of the snow-covered lettering with the message:  “A hearty Christmas, greeting.”  Yes, that appears to be a comma after the word, Christmas. I think they sometimes forgot themselves when making cards….made the mistake and just left it in. The blue background was used for scanning purposes and not part of the card. Click the image to enlarge.

Frank Corbyn Price Christmas Postcard

Divided back, unused, artist-signed postcard, dated 1923. Raphael Tuck & Sons “Oilette” postcard. “Wonderful White Winter.” Copyright London, Printed in England. Artist:  Frank Corbyn Price.

Price:  $12.00

Christmas Greetings…..

At sunset, a farmer has opened the gate for a shepherd and his dog driving their sheep along a snow-covered road. This Tuck postcard was one of a set of six, under the series title “Wonderful White Winter.” The scene is by British artist Frank Corbyn Price (1862 – 1934). And though the card is dated by the sender at Christmastime in 1923, the work was first used in December of 1914, according to the website, TuckDB Postcards.

On the reverse, the unknown sender writes:

“To Chuckie – Good old Santa Claus greets you & wishes you the very happiest time possible in the present, & in the future. Christmas 1923.”

Sources:  Ancestry.com. England & Wales, National Probate Calendar (Index of Wills and Administrations), 1858-1966, 1973-1995.

Census Returns of England and Wales, 1911. Kew, Surrey, England: The National Archives of the UK (TNA), 1911. (Ancestry.com).

“shepherd in bright green driving sheep along road in snow, greeting old man gate, red sunset.” TuckDB Postcards. https://tuckdb.org/items/71829. (accessed December 25, 2018.)

Santa’s Aeroplane

Vintage Christmas card, publisher unknown.Circa 1917 – 1930s.

Price:  $4.00           Size:  3 and 1/2 x 4 and 1/2″

“I hope that Santa’s aeroplane

Is coming straight your way,

To bring you lots of good things

And a happy Christmas Day.”

Signed,  “Carrie R. Libbey.”

The biplane in this artwork may have been inspired by the Sopwith Camel, due to the bullseye designs under the lower wing. (Maybe these designs have a specific name per Camel aficionados, and someone can let us know.) Note the lack of landing gear on the plane, but the pilot was Santa so maybe he didn’t need any! And hey, the initials S.C. on the hull work for both Santa Claus and Sopwith Camel!

Source:  Sopwith Camel. n.d. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sopwith_Camel (accessed December 25, 2018).

Merry Xmas From 2305 Oahu Ave

Divided back, Real Photo Postcard. Postmarked December 15, 1937, Honolulu, Hawaii.

Price:  $15.00

“Dear Mrs. Fisher: Our recent visit is still like a dream – it doesn’t seem possible that we were over there & had such a grand time. We’re going to miss the snow again this Xmas. All we have is a good rain. Merry Xmas & a very Happy New Year to you, Kirk & Rea. We still hope some day you can visit us here. Do try. Much love, from Nita, Nils and Shirley Ann.”

Addressed to: “Mrs. Mae E. Fisher, 803 Kingsley St., Ann Arbor, Michigan.”This postcard is the perfect segue from our last post, set in Honolulu, to welcome our Christmas offerings for this year. And from an internet search, it appears this home, sadly, no longer exists. But it was a beauty, cozily nestled between two grand, I’m thinking oaks, but no idea really, and a beautiful big evergreen. Don’t you love the striped effect on the curb, and is there a sidewalk in there somewhere? Anyway, the family living here at this time is attorney Cyrus Nils Tavares, born in Hawaii about 1904, his wife Unita (Gillet) Tavares, born in Michigan about 1908, and their daughter Shirley Ann, born in Hawaii about 1928. The recipient of the postcard is Mae E. Fisher, widow on the 1940 Federal Census, born in Michigan, about 1873, her son Kirkland, born in Ohio, about 1905, and Kirk’s wife Rhea, born in Michigan, about 1908.

Sources:  Michigan Department of Community Health, Division of Vital Records and HealthStatistics; Lansing, MI, USA; Michigan, Marriage Records, 1867-1952; Film: 223; Film Description: Washtenaw (1927 – 1933).
Year: 1940; Census Place: Ann Arbor, Washtenaw, Michigan; Roll: m-t0627-01823; Page: 19B; Enumeration District: 81-25.
Year: 1940; Census Place: Honolulu, Honolulu, Hawaii; Roll: m-t0627-04585; Page: 1A; Enumeration District: 2-43.

Crossroads Of The Pacific

Photo, white border. Circa 1938 – December 1948.

Price:  $10.00                Size:  2 and 3/4 x 4 and 9/16″

H. P. “Sunny” Sundstrom’s famous neon sign adjacent to his restaurant Kau Kau Korner, located at the corner of Kalakaua Avenue and Kapiolani Boulevard, Honolulu, Hawaii. Arrow markers point the way and give the distance to some of the major cities around the world. The sign was up from about 1938 to 1960. Photographed here prior to the addition of the “Kau Kau Korner” portion that was later added on top.

From a Google search, images of Kau Kau Korner Crossroads of the Pacific sign:

I don’t know about you, but whenever I see an arrow sign (virtual or in real life) pointing to a far away place, I picture myself earnestly embarking on the journey, deviating off course only to skirt obstacles, until finally arriving at the stated destination. Maybe it’s a carryover from the signposts I saw on family trips as a child, or some subconscious bird flight path thing. Anyway, while scrutinizing different photos of the sign I noticed that the same city in one shot sometimes is at a different angle than another (compared to its counterparts). I had that instant flash of “Hey, wait…..” like, if we’re using the bird example, a feeling that my flight path’s messed up. 😉 Of course, the markers were not meant to be necessarily precise. In addition, signposts in general just beckon to be climbed and hung on, (such a great photo op!) so even it they were correct when placed, the arrows would naturally tend to get moved around a little, or maybe you get some wiseacre deciding to change the arrows all around for fun.  But this was a sidetrack, I was scrutinizing various images in order to try to pinpoint when the “Kau Kau Korner” part got added to the top of the sign, in order to try to date the photo.  Then got to thinking, for such a well-known landmark (at one point the public bought more Kodak prints of the Crossroads of the Pacific sign, than those of the King Kamehameha statue, the signpost having also appeared in newsreels and in the magazines Time, Life, Look and Fortune) and (getting sentimental here) for one that oversaw a lot of life in its 20-plus years, including during WWII, wouldn’t there be a timeline somewhere? We didn’t find one, so decided to include a partial one below.

Back to the photo

Our image above, circa 1940s, and must have been a commercial-type photograph rather than someone’s snapshot. There’s currently one for sale on eBay under the title “Vtg 1940’s B&W Photo – Crossroads Of The Pacific Sign Honolulu Hawaii #827” that has the exact same angle, placement of the arrow markers and the clincher:  cloud formation. The eBay one is black and white while ours has a sepia tone. Not sure if the eBay seller had cropped their image or not.

The Hamburger King of Hawaii

A self-made man, Hanley Paul “Sunny” Sundstrom (1909 – 1965) was a Minneapolis native who grew up in Kingsburg, Fresno County, California before coming to Hawaii about 1932. He sold magazines door-to-door before he and a partner opened a burger shack in 1935 for the cost of $900.00, for want of a “decent hamburger.” At that time a burger in this neck of the woods was a just a grilled patty “thrown together” with a bun, minus the usual accompaniments we expect today. About five months (reports vary) after the 3-person operation started, with Sunny as dishwasher, his partner as cook, and the partner’s girlfriend as waitress, Sunny bought out the partner. His restaurant Kau Kau Korner, along with the Crossroads of the Pacific sign, went on to make him famous, as evidenced in postcards he received from all over the world, including one addressed to “Hamburger King of Hawaii” and another to “Sunny Sundstrom, Pacific Ocean.”

An icon is born

It was about 1938 that a friend of Sundstrom’s approached him with the idea that would make him famous. From journalist, Jane Evinger’s article “Kau Kau Burger King Abdicates To Take Over Pancake Palace” that appeared in The Honolulu Advertiser, February 21, 1960:

“A friend of mine told me that he had a fantastic idea that would make me famous from the North Pole to the South Pole, but that it would cost me $100….I’ve always been a good gambler, so I gave him the $100, and all he said was ‘Crossroads of the Pacific.’ I figured $100 was pretty expensive for that, since the Islands have always been known as Crossroads of the Pacific, but I kept thinking about it and sure enough it has paid off.”

Onward and outward….1941 expansion ad and photos

Sunstrom expanded Kau Kau Korner in 1941, at the cost of about $45,000. Below, an ad and photo appearing in The Honolulu Advertiser, August 14, 1941. Note the many missing letters for “Broiled Steak” and “Fried Chicken” on the restaurant exterior, and you can see a ladder on the right, so the photo must have been taken when they were still putting on the finishing touches.

Below, beautiful waitresses in new uniforms, from The Honolulu Star-Bulletin, August 13, 1941.

Sydney was Sydney, then Sidney, then Sydney

Back to the question….when was the top part of the sign “Kau Kau Korner” added? Sometime between about December 1941 and December 1948. The exact date was not found, but articles on a misspelling provide the estimate:

Above left, a photo that appeared with a short news clipping December 4, 1941 in The Algona Upper Des Moines. If you enlarge the image you’ll see that the sign for Sydney (Australia) situated on the top left among the markers, has the correct spelling for that city. The sign in this photo, is minus the “Kau Kau Korner” portion that had been added to the top of the sign later on. Note the larger marker at the bottom that says “Elks Fiesta” and the number of blocks to get there, indicating the signpost was sometimes used for local events.

Above, on our right, a photo that appeared December 24, 1948 in the Lubbock Evening Journal. This image shows the misspelled “Sidney” signpost, as well as the addition of “Kau Kau Korner” portion on top. That’s airline stewardess Marge Tolosano posing in the shot.

Above, from the front page of the “Hawaiian Holiday” section of The Honolulu Advertiser, May 22, 1955:  Models in swimsuits, Sally Lee and Charlene Holt (atop ladder) replace the “Sidney” arrow with one showing Sydney. The correction was made at the request of Mrs. Yvonne Coopersmith, of Australia. And, though the story ran in May, evidence posted on the website Tiki Central indicates the marker was corrected in March.

Kau Kau Kitchen

Kau Kau Korner closed February 21, 1960, due to loss of lease. That following July, Sunny Sundstrom opened Kau Kau Kitchen. At that time the Honolulu Star-Bulletin ran a nice big article (rightly so, of course) for the new pancake house, but we particularly like this short clip from 1961, also from the Star-Bulletin. It’s rather touching, and gives a partial description of the interior. We’d love to see any old photos that someone might have of the mural.

A partial timeline

1935 Hanley P. “Sunny” Sundstrom and partner open a burger shack, a counter restaurant with six stools; Sunny buys out partner after about five months.

About 1938 Crossroads of the Pacific Sign goes up for the cost of $100.00 at the idea and offer from a friend.

August 1941 Kau Kau Korner restaurant re-opens after a $45,000.00 upgrade and expansion. To the menu is added sirloin steak and fried chicken. Menus from that time show the restaurant was open 24/7 and that the menu was a pretty extensive one.

December 1941 photo showing that the arrow for Sydney (Australia) was spelled correctly. Sign is without the “Kau Kau Korner” addition on top.

December 1948 photo showing the “Kau Kau Korner” portion on the top and the sign for Sydney is now incorrectly showing “Sidney.”

March 1955 the marker for Sydney, Australia is corrected. The Honolulu Advertiser, runs the photo on the cover page of its “Hawaiian Holiday ” section, dated May 22, 1955.

February 21, 1960, Sunday evening, Kau Kau Korner restaurant and drive-in serves its last meal. The property owner decided not to renew the lease. Per Sundstrom, much of the equipment was planned to be auctioned off. Crossroads of the Pacific sign “probably” to go up outside his upcoming pancake and Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurant, Kau Kau Kitchen.

Kau Kau Korner restaurant is being converted to Coco’s Coffee House by the new renters, the firm Spencecliff (Spence and Cliff Weaver.)

July 1960 Sunny Sundstrom opens Kau Kau Kitchen at 2154 Kalakaua Avenue, Waikiki, the site of the former Melting Pot restaurant. Specializing in Sundstrom’s twenty best pancakes recipes from his stash of over 100 recipes and also offering Kentucky Fried Chicken. The Crossroads of the Pacific sign is not found mentioned in any newspaper articles for Kau Kau Kitchen or in any for Coco’s Coffee Shop.

October 1960 Coco’s Coffee House opens at site of the former Kau Kau Korner Restaurant.

November 11, 1965 Hanley P. “Sunny” Sundstrom dies in Tijuana, Mexico, while undergoing treatment for cancer, leaving a wife and two daughters, and a sister.

August 1986 Coco’s Coffee House is torn down.

July 1987 the Hard Rock Cafe opens at the site of the former Coco’s location. In 2010 the business moves to Waikiki Beach Walk.

Currently, a replica of the Crossroads of the Pacific sign, with arrow markers primarily showing distances to military bases, is up outside the Pearl Harbor Visitors Center.

____________________________________________________________________________

Sources:  “images of Kau Kau Korner Crossroads of the Pacific sign.” Google.com search. Accessed December 15, 2018.

Evinger, Jane. “Kau Kau Burger King Abdicates To Take Over Pancake Palace.” The Honolulu Advertiser. February 21, 1960. Sunday, p. F-4. (Newspapers.com).

“New Kau Kau Corner Opens Thursday.” Honolulu Star-Bulletin. August 13, 1941. Wednesday, p. 10. (Newspapers.com).

“Crossroads of the Pacific.” The Algona Upper Des Moines (Algona, IA). December 4, 1941. Thursday, p. 7. (Newspapers.com).

“Wither Away?” Lubbock Evening Journal (Lubbock, TX). December 24, 1948. Friday, p. 5. (Newspapers.com).

“National Dignity Restored.” The Honolulu Advertiser. May 22, 1955. Sunday, cover page. (Newspapers.com).

Tiki Central (www.tikiroom.com). Accessed December 22, 2018.

Sigall, Bob. “Crosswords, sign marked popular Honolulu drive-in.” Honolulu-Star Advertiser. April 27, 1912. Friday, p. B2. (Newspapers.com).

“Pancakes Reign in Kau Kau Kitchen.” The Honolulu Advertiser. October 3, 1960. Monday, p. 13. (Newspapers.com).

“Love Thy Competitor.”  Honolulu Star-Bulletin. May 28, 1961. Sunday, p. 76. (Newspapers.com).

“H. Sundstrom Dies; ‘Kau Kau’ Owner.” The Honolulu Advertiser.”  November 13, 1965. Saturday, p. 20. (Newspapers.com).