Twin City Lines Early Twentieth Century Streetcars

Union Station, Minneapolis, Minn.

These postcards show early 20th century streetcars operated by Twin City Lines (Twin City Rapid Transit Company) of Minnesota. These streetcars ran in and between the cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul, west to Lake Minnetonka, and east to Stillwater.

The postcard above shows the old Union Railroad Depot  that was built in 1883. It was replaced by the new Great Northern Station (shown below) that was built across the street on Hennepin Avenue in 1913.

Great Northern Passenger Station, Minneapolis, Minn.

Hennepin Avenue is one of the main streets of downtown Minneapolis.

Hennepin Avenue, East from Sixth Street, Minneapolis, Minn.

Robert Street is one of the main streets of downtown St. Paul.

Robert Street, St. Paul, Minn. (Ryan Hotel to the left)

“Twin City Sight Seer” Car at Indian Mounds Park, St. Paul, Minn.

The next two postcards show views along the way from Minneapolis to Lake Minnetonka, a distance of about 15 miles.

Among the Cornfields on Minneapolis- Lake Minnetonka Electric Line

Gibbs Lake, on Minneapolis-Lake Minnetonka Electric Line

The last postcard shows a view between St. Paul and Stillwater.

Rattlesnake Curve at McKusicks Lake Near Stillwater, Minn. (Twin City Lines)

These postcard views were all published by V. O. Hammon Publishing Company of Minneapolis and Chicago. V. O. Hammon also published additional views of Twin City Lines streetcars as well as the streetcar boats operating on Lake Minnetonka. Below is a display board I entered at the Minnesota State Fair in 2013 that includes some of the other views.



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Iowa Children in Snow–May 1920

This real photo postcard is dated May 1920 and  shows five children standing in the snow.

The handwriting on the back of the postcard seems to be by two different people, with the first asking “Do you know any of these?” and the second replying with the names of  four of the five children: Ruth Clausen, Carl Clausen, Hazel McMullen, and Alice McMullen.

By starting with the name “Carl Clausen” and the year 1920, I was able to find the name of the fifth child and the location of the photo.The location is Glidden, Carroll County, Iowa, and the name of the fifth child is Gladys McMullen. Glidden is in west central Iowa and had a population of 867 in 1920.

The Clausen children were aged 10 (Carl) and 9 (Ruth) at the time of the 1920 census; the McMullen children were aged 8 (Alice), 7 (Gladys) and 3 (Hazel).

It seems likely that this photo was taken to record an unusual May snowstorm. I couldn’t find a record of a 1920 May snowstorm–1920 was not one of the years with record May snowfall in Iowa.

The following is a listing of central Iowa and statewide records that were surpassed in May 2013, along with previous records listed in parentheses. (Source: May 1-3, 2013 Historic Spring Snowstorm)

– Highest May Storm Total Snowfall: 13.0″ in Osage
(10.0″ in Le Mars on 5/28/1947)
– Biggest Iowa Snowstorm based on Average Statewide Snowfall: 3.3″ **
(1.2″ on 5/28/1947)
– Latest Spring Storm to produce more than a Foot of Snowfall: 5/1/2013 to 5/3/2013
(4/20/1918 and 4/20/1992)

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Happy Holidays from Shapleigh Hardware Co.

This holiday postcard advertising Shapleigh Hardware Company’s Diamond Edge tools was sent on December 24, 1915.

Hardware Dealers’ Magazine, Volume 46 of 1916 had an article on Hardware Christmas Greetings in which Shapleigh’s Christmas card and its verse were mentioned. According to that magazine, The Shapleigh Hardware Co., St. Louis, Mo. furnished their salesmen a handsomely colored Christmas card in the shape of an open book, upon the pages of which greetings were inscribed. The timeless message of sharing bears repeating:

Merrie Christmas!
When at this little card you look
You’ll smile to see so big a book,
With earnest wishes–verse and prose,
That we to you and yours would send
For happiness that has no end,–
For health and wealth and joy of living
For power of having and of giving.
Happy New Year!
One New Year’s wish we would include,
Lest vain regrets some day intrude,–
‘Tis that while life runs still and smooth
You’ll ne’er forget this simple truth,–
That what you have and what you get
Will bless you most if you will let
Your good be shared by other folks
Whom old Dame Fortune aye o’erlooks.

The Shapleigh Hardware Company of St. Louis existed in various forms from the mid-19th to the mid-20th century. For its history, see Brief History of The Shapleigh Hardware
Company published by The Hardware Companies Kollectors Klub.

Hardware Dealers’ Magazine, Volume 41  reported in 1914 that the  company was celebrating the Fiftieth Anniversary  of its Diamond Edge trademark. The slogan “Diamond Edge is a Quality Pledge” was of more recent origin, said to have been first used in 1909.

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Heatherbloom Petticoats for Christmas

This advertising postcard suggests giving a Heatherbloom Petticoat as a Christmas gift. The back is imprinted with an advertising message from Senson Brothers of Clay Center, Kansas.

Below is a magazine ad that promoted Heatherbloom Petticoats for Christmas gift-giving. According to the ad, many stores were offering Heatherbloom Petticoats in “handsomely decorated Christmas boxes.”

Below is a  closer view of the ad’s text and a picture of the label that was put in Heatherbloom petticoats. A. G. Hyde & Sons manufactured Heatherbloom cotton taffeta that was used in the petticoats, but not the petticoats themselves. The fabric was said to have “the lustre, swish, and beauty of silk with three times the wear at one third the cost.” A. G. Hyde advertised the fabric, which was considered superior to similar petticoat fabrics, in publications aimed at the ultimate petticoat customer. Potential customers were asked to look for the Heatherbloom label in every petticoat. The petticoat manufacturers were required to include the label in their petticoats manufactured with the Heatherbloom fabric as a  condition of using the fabric.

Near the bottom of the ad was a line offering s FREE series of “beautiful Souvenir Post Cards.” It didn’t say anything about the type of postcards, and I haven’t been able to find anything online about them. Were they holiday cards, advertising cards, or something else?

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Cranberry Harvesting

Looking down into a cranberry bog.

Cranberries grow on low lying vines planted in bogs composed of peat soil topped with a layer of sand.  After planting, the first crop is ready for harvesting in 3-4 years. They are harvested in the fall from mid-September until mid-November. A closeup of a cranberry bog ready for harvest is shown above. There is a closely grown mat of green vines and red berries.

Most of these cranberry postcards were published from the mid-1950s until the 1970s, so some of the information and views  shown are outdated. The majority are from Massachusetts, the state that was formerly the largest cranberry producer. Wisconsin has been the leading producer since 1995.  Approximate current percentages of cranberry production by state are Wisconsin 63%, Massachusetts 24%, New Jersey 7%, Oregon 4%, and Washington 2%.

Sign ar Edaville Station — Edaville, So. Carver, Mass.

There are two methods of harvesting cranberries: wet and dry. Dry harvested cranberries are sold as fresh fruit and are most often used for cooking and baking. Dry harvesting formerly used hand held scoops like the ones shown below on the next postcards. The N.C.A. letters on the crates stand for National Cranberry Association.

Frosty September nights and Indian Summer days color the cranberry to a rich, ruby red and the cranberry harvest is on, scooping from the low-lying vines in Massachusetts, New Jersey, Wisconsin, Washington, and Oregon. Circa 1950s.

Cranberry bog at picking time, Cape Cod, Mass. Originally published 1954.

Harvesting cranberries on Cape Cod. (when Massachusetts produced about 50% of the national cranberry crop.

Cranberry picking time, Cape Cod, Mass.

The next postcard has a handwritten “Cape Cod Christmas Carol” (to the tune of O Christmas Tree) on the back:

O Cranber-Ree, O Cranber-Ree
All gourmets, they know ya
O Cranber-Ree, O Cranber-Ree
To think dear Cape Cod grows ya.
The finest fruit twas ever grown
Yes, you deserve a heavenly throne.
O Cranber-Ree, O Cranber-Ree
Thy taste is just Ambrosia

Cranberry harvesting on Cape Cod.

Picking Cranberries on Cape Cod. postmarked 1968

A typical “Cape Cod” Bog with pump house which is used when flooding is necessary. The old fashioned SCOOP as shown has now been replaced by a mechanical picker.

The next postcard shows both the older and newer methods of dry harvesting. The newer method uses  mechanical pickers resembling lawnmowers to comb the berries off the vines.

Replacing the picturesque wooden hand scoop are various types of mechanical picking machines.

Cranberry harvesting on Cape Cod with a mechanical cranberry picking machines.

Cranberry harvesting in Northern Wisconsin.

Wet harvesting is used for the majority of the cranberries. Wet harvested cranberries are used for juices, sauces, sweetened dried cranberries, and ingredients in processed foods. The bogs are flooded with water and  water reels, nicknamed “egg beaters”, are used to stir up water and loosen the cranberries from the vine. Cranberries have air pockets inside  which allow the berries to float to the surface of the water. The floating berries are then rounded up  with a boom

Wet cranberry harvesting on Cape Cod, Massachusett

Wet cranberry harvesting in northern Wisconsin. In this scene the water reel picks the fresh berries from the vines.

Wet cranberry harvesting in Washington state. Berries are loaded on trucks by conveyor for transportation to processing plant near Long Beach, Wash.

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Photo Enthusiasts

:pwer Tahquamenon Falls in Michigan's Upper Peninsula

The camera enthusiast can have a “field day” when visiting the Majestic Tahqamenon River.

I took the title of this post “Camera Enthusiasts” from the caption on the postcard of  Lower Tahquamenon Falls in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. One of the main attractions of postcard collecting is that collectors can collect any topic that they wish and categorize their collections in any way desired. Other collectors might file a postcard like this under Michigan, waterfalls, or families. I file it under the topic of “People with Cameras.” This is a rather narrow topic, but enough examples exist to make it fun .

I think that postcard views that include people as observers or participants are more interesting than plain views, and the “People with Cameras” category is a subcategory of that. Seeing people in the scene invites my vicarious viewing and participation.

One can’t really search for this topic, so collecting it is mainly a matter of recognizing it when one sees it. Sometimes the photographer is obvious, and sometimes it is just a tiny figure among many in the scene. Some variations show the camera person shooting a group of people, a scenic attraction, an unusual natural phenomenon, posed in front of a man made attraction, or at a spot designed for  tourist picture taking.

Here are a couple of views of what I assume are families posing in a wide angle view:

White House Sightseeing Tours of Washington, D. C.

El Capitan, Yosemite National Park, California-.

an sutumn scene at Peacham, Vermont

The inclusion of people can help establish the scale of the main subject of the postcard, as in the following examples.

The world’s largest and most photographed cacti are the Giant Saguaro of Arizona.

Old Faithful, one of the larger petrified logs in the Rainbow Forest of Petrified Forest National Monument is a popular backdrop for snapshots.

Balanced Rock in Texas

Entrance to world famous Silver Springs in Florida

The Pioneer Woman Statue, the “most photographed statue in the Southwest” at Ponca City, Oklahoma, symbolizes the spirit of frontier women whose energy and faith helped turn the wilderness into wonderland.

Next I have two postcard views that I can especially relate to, because they are from places that I have visited and photographed myself.

The Public Gaol at Colonial Williamsburg in Virginia,  a restoration and re-creation of an 18th-century colonial American city.

Glacier Park railroad station at Glacier National Park in Montana.

I never went on a road trip to a National Park back when feeding the bears was a common practice among tourists. If I had done so about 50-60 years ago, I might have had an opportunity to photograph some traffic stopping begging bears like the ones on the next postcards.

Bear Beggars in Yellowstone National Park. These bears have become so tame they waylay the motorists begging for handouts.

Mother and bear cubs on Logan Pass Highway, in Glacier National Park, Montana.

My final card is one of my favorites. I think it is the most fun, and it also features the type of roadside attraction that I like to collect.

Hansel and Gretel,
The Gingerbread Castle
Hamburg, New Jersey

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To the Loved Ones at Home

This week’s Sepia Saturday 389 prompt, which shows a young girl sitting at at a desk writing, has given me a good excuse to post one of my favorite old postcards. My  postcard above shows a cute little girl writing a post card to her “dear Father and Mother.” This postcard not only shows a cute little girl, but embodies two of my favorite postcard collecting themes: postcards about postcards and letter writing. In addition, the little girl reminds me of my mother’s childhood, when big hair bows were the style for little girls, and my childhood, when I had a play letter writing set with fake stamps.

Another related theme is what I call “To the Loved Ones at Home” or “To My Dear…” Several different postcard publishers issued series with cards especially for various family members, “dearest friends,” sweethearts, etc. These postcards featured designs made up of large letters and colorful flowers. A few of these cards are shown below.


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