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Chapel, Hope Cemetery - Mama Arrived Home

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This little jewel box of a building, “Curtis Chapel” at Hope Cemetery, was designed by noted Worcester architect Stephen Earle, dedicated on January 1, 1891 and demolished by the City of Worcester in 1962. It was the gift of Albert W. Curtis, one of the original Commissioners of Hope Cemetery and an owner of Curtis & Marble, a local textile machine company.

Hope Cemetery Gates: June 29, 2018

Hope Cemetery Gates: June 29, 2018

According to Bill Wallace, Executive Director of the Worcester Historical Museum, "The chapel stood just inside the currently unused entrance at the top of the rise as you approach from Webster Square. The 'new' gates [seen above] are early 20th century replacements, built by the Norcross Brothers in the style of the chapel."

Postmark: 03/24/1906 - Millbury Mass.

Postmark: 03/24/1906 - Millbury Mass.

Sent to: Miss Lizzie Cullina
Address: Worcester, Massachusetts
Mama arrived home last night found everything all O.K.
Marion

 

 

 

 

THE MYSTERY
Punctuation on postcards from the early 20th century is often rather sparse. In this case, the lack of a dash, comma or period leads to some difficulty in understanding the true intent of the message. It might read, "Mama - Arrived home last night. Found everything all O.K." or "Mama arrived home last night (and) found everything all O.K." The correct interpretation is made clear by details provided below about the sender and recipient, neither of whom is "Mama."

THE SENDER
On June 19, 1900 the Federal census for that year records Marion Cullina living with her mother and five siblings in the town of Sutton, Massachusetts, roughly 10 miles from Worcester. Six years later, at the time this card was sent, she was 12 years old and, as the youngest member of a large family, was likely the one designated to communicate with her sister Lizzie.

THE RECIPIENT
Elizabeth ("Lizzie") Cullina was the sixth of ten children born to Michael and Ellen (Powers) Cullina. Her date of birth was August 11, 1874 and she died in May 1964. This card was almost certainly sent after a visit by her mother to Worcester where Lizzie (a "saleslady") lived at the time with her brother Edmund (a carpenter) and sister Nellie (a housekeeper).

REFERENCES

(1) Cullina Family History - Ancestry.com

THE CARD
Made in Germany
A. C. Bosselman & Co., New York.

Acknowledgements
Special thanks to Bill Wallace for his guidance on researching this topic, for essentially all of the basic information about Curtis Chapel (which is almost invisible on the Web), and for permission to use his words in the blog.
Also, thanks to Larry Abramoff for providing the postcard itself.

Franklin Square Theatre - F.L.C.

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The Franklin Square Theatre at 2 Southbridge Street was built by Ransom Clarke Taylor from a design by the local firm of Cutting, Carleton & Cutting and opened for business in 1904. The hall included orchestra seating for 658 people, a balcony and boxes for 459, and a gallery for 519. At that time, admission prices ranged from $1.50 for the best orchestra seats to $0.25 for the gallery.

In the first two decades of its existence, the theater hosted local and traveling performers as well as Broadway touring companies. However, in 1926 then-owner Sylvester Z. Poli developed a larger adjacent building (Poli's Palace) to cash in on the growing craze for moving pictures and this original structure was relegated to secondary uses.

2 Southbridge Street: July 3, 2015

2 Southbridge Street: July 3, 2015

Today, thanks primarily to the imaginative efforts of Ed Madaus and Paul Demoga, along with substantial contributions from many players in Worcester, this building has been restored and is now being used as part of The Hanover Theatre complex. Unfortunately, the original stained glass windows that once graced the facade of this building were lost or stolen at some point. Perhaps someone knows where they are now?

Sent to: Mr. Donald P. Lyford   Address:  Hudson, Mass.  Postmark:  08/20/1907 - South Berlin Mass.

Sent to: Mr. Donald P. Lyford
Address: Hudson, Mass.
Postmark: 08/20/1907 - South Berlin Mass.

THE MYSTERY

  • This card was postmarked in a town less than five miles from where the recipient lived and has, essentially, no content. Maybe it was sent, as so many postcards at the time were, simply as part of an exchange between people who collected the cards. Picture postcard collecting was a mania in the early 1900's and hundreds of millions of cards were mailed annually until the fad crashed at the beginning of the First World War.

THE SENDER

At best, given only the three initials on the front of the card, we may surmise that the sender was thoughtful . . . but he or she will probably remain forever unknown to us.

THE RECIPIENT

Donald Pierce Lyford was born on February 11, 1894 in Spencer, Massachusetts to Taylor C. Lyford and Nellie L. (Pierce) Lyford. He married in 1917 and had one son, but at the time of the 1930 census was divorced and living with his parents. Later in life it appears that he married Dorothy Avis Branigan. She died in 1969, he died in 1978, and they are both (Donald & Dorothy) buried at Prospect Hill Cemetery in Uxbridge, Massachusetts.

REFERENCES
(1) Franklin Square Theatre - The Hanover Theatre and Conservatory for the Performing Arts
(2) Seating - The The Engineering Record, Building Record and Sanitary Engineer, Volume 49, Number 13, Page 392 [ 1904 ]
(3) Admission Prices - Julius Cahn's Official Theatrical Guide, Volume 13, Page 492 [ 1908 ]
(4) Postcard History - New York State Library
(5) Local Birth, Marriage, Divorce & Death Records - Ancestry.com

The Card

Made in Germany.
A.C. Besselman & Co., New York.
[501]

Jonas Clark Hall - I like my work very much.

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The cornerstone of Jonas Clark Hall at Clark University was laid on October 22, 1887. The next day in The New York Times it was reported that "The building ... is 205 feet long by 65 feet deep. It is composed of a central structure five stories high, flanked on either side by four-story wings. The middle section is surmounted by a clock tower which rises to a height of 102 feet, while at the extreme end of the wings are corner towers 76 feet high."

Clark University was the brainchild of Jonas Gilman Clark, who organized a group of prominent local citizens to petition the state legislature and then personally donated $1,000,000 (roughly $25,000,000 in current dollars) to establish the school. This building was the first erected on campus and was designed by architect Stephen C. Earle in the Classical Revival style.

Jonas Clark Hall, Clark University: August 24, 2016

Jonas Clark Hall, Clark University: August 24, 2016

Jonas Clark Hall has today been joined by many other buildings on the expanded campus but is still the centerpiece of the University. Seen from the front gates at 950 Main Street, it announces both the school itself and the year of its founding in bold granite lettering.

Clark-University_JC-Hall_P_12-11-xxxx_BK.jpg

Sent to: Miss Marguerite Taggart
Address: Bartonsville, VT
Postmark: 12/11/1906 - Worcester Mass.
F: Marguerite Nothing else to do so I thought I would send you a picture (of my?) girl. I like my work very much. (Father?) (Fletcher?)

THE MYSTERY

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  • The paucity of letter-forms on any postcard often makes it difficult to tease out some parts of the written content. That is certainly the case here. Is the card signed, "Father" or "Fletcher?" We know from the census that Marguerite's father was living with his family in 1900 and 1920, but was not recorded there in 1910. However, since he was a railroad conductor, he might well have been missed during that particular census and no doubt traveled through Worcester on a regular basis.

THE SENDER

We may speculate that the sender was Marguerite's father, as above, but if that's not the case, then "Fletcher" will, no doubt, forever remain an unknown figure in this context.

THE RECIPIENT

Marguerite Esther Taggart, the daughter of Charles and Jennie Taggart, was born on March 23, 1891 in North Walpole, New Hampshire. She married Frank Snow on August 12, 1913 and at the time of the 1930 Federal census was living with him in Rockingham, Windham, Vermont. He owned a General Store, where she worked as a Sales Clerk, and they had one daughter, Marguerit Virginia Snow, born October 23, 1917.

REFERENCES
(1) (Jonas) Clark Hall - Massachusetts Cultural Resource Information System
(2) Jonas Clark's Gift - The New York Times (October 23, 1887) [ Paywall ]
(3) Postcard History - Smithsonian Institute
(4) 1900, 1910, 1920 & 1930 Federal Census Records - Ancestry.com

The Card

The Metropolitan News Co., Boston Mass.
Manufacturers of Souvenir Postal Cards.
Made in Germany.
[5595.]