posted

General Devens Statue - My Dear Annie

General-Devens-Statue_P_08-22-1907_FR.jpg

This statue, erected in 1908, honors “General Devens and the men of Worcester County in the war for the Union.” Charles Devens, Jr. was a lawyer practicing in Worcester at the onset of the Civil War and within a week of Confederate soldiers firing on Fort Sumter was appointed major in the Union Army. Despite incurring serious wounds in several battles, Devens survived the war and later served as an associate justice on the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court and as Attorney General of the United States.

General Devens Statue: June 29, 2018

General Devens Statue: June 29, 2018

Originally located directly in front of the old Worcester County courthouse, the Devens statue has since been moved to the northwest corner of that property at the intersection of Main and Highland Streets. The courthouse itself is no longer in use, having been replaced by a much larger, more modern structure nearby, and is currently undergoing renovation for adaptive reuse as affordable housing.

Postmark: 08/22/1907 - Worcester, Mass.

Postmark: 08/22/1907 - Worcester, Mass.

Sent to: Miss Annie M. Longwell
Address: Bernardston, Mass
Aug 21
My Dear Annie
Sorry not to be able to accept the very kind invitation from “The Longwells.” The spirit indeed is willing - another day. My love to all.
Sincerely your friend
Mr. H.

THE MYSTERY
Given the formalities of the time and a few sparse words, it is tempting to infer something about the relationship between this postcard’s sender and recipient. Indeed, the age of Miss Longwell (23) and the content of the message suggest something more than a friendship...or perhaps not. One phrase “The spirit is indeed willing…” may indicate a physical limitation that, during the month of August in 1907, could have made the 60-mile journey from Worcester to Bernardston quite arduous. At the very least, we know from further research (see below) that the two were never married.

THE SENDER
Regarding the mysterious Mr. H., a friend, we can discern, essentially, nothing.

THE RECIPIENT
Annie M. Longwell (aka Margaret Ellen Longwell) was born on March 3, 1884 and at the time of the 1900 Federal Census was working as a servant for David and Lucy E. Chapin, who lived in Bernardston. Ten years later, according to the 1910 census, she was living with her parents, Charlie and Margeret Longwell, in Leyden, Massachusetts and working as a teacher.

On September 27, 1913 she married George H. Foster and together they had three children, Herman A. Foster (1916–1982), Ralph Longwell Foster (1917–1996) & Thelma Margaret Foster (1921–1924).

Annie died in on January 21, 1967 and is buried alongside her husband (d. 1975) in
South Leyden Cemetery, Colrain, Massachusetts.

REFERENCES
(1) Worcester County Courthouse Renovation - Worcester Telegram & Gazette [ Paywall ]
(2) Family Histories - Ancestry.com

THE CARD
Made in Germany
A. C. Bosselman & Co., New York.
[ FRONT ] Card #1944

Chapel & Gateway, Hope Cemetery - Dear Sis!

Hope-Cemetery_Chapel-and-Gateway_12-15-1910_FR.JPG

This is the companion piece to an earlier post about Curtis Chapel, which is pictured above just inside the gates of Hope Cemetery’s (now disused) main entrance. According to Bill Wallace, Executive Director of the Worcester Historical Museum, The architect "(Stephen) Earle designed the (original) fence/gates many years before the chapel. Sections of this fence survive along Webster Street to the left of the current gates.”

Hope Cemetery Gates: June 29, 2018

Hope Cemetery Gates: June 29, 2018

Today, as seen above, both Curtis Chapel and the original wrought iron gates are gone. Again according to Bill Wallace, “The ‘new’ gates are early 20th century replacements; the bequest of Mary Nixon (she and her husband lived in the house formerly occupied by the Webster House restaurant). They were built by the Norcross Brothers in the style of the chapel.”

Hope-Cemetery_DSC-8296.JPG

ADDRESS OF HONORABLE Pehr G. Holmes, MAYOR OP THE CITY OF WORCESTER, 1917 WITH THE ANNUAL REPORTS OF THE SEVERAL DEPARTMENTS FOR THE FINANCIAL YEAR ENDING NOVEMBER 80, 1917:

A feature of permanent value and of special significance to every one having pride in the cemetery and its appointments, which calls for special mention in this report, is the addition of the Memorial entrance gates near Curtis Chapel, the gift of the late Mrs. Solomon Nixon, who, by will, provided the fund for their erection. The design for this memorial was the production of The Gorham Company, of New York; the stone was furnished by The Norcross Company, of Worcester; the iron work was provided and installed by The Gorham Company, and the engineering department of the City of Worcester, under the supervision of Frederick A. McClure, was responsible for the details of construction. The gate is altogether a most creditable production artistically, and a fitting memorial to the generous donor no less than to her husband, in whose name the gift was made. A suitable bronze tablet has been placed as a permanent acknowledgment of the gratitude of the citizens of Worcester.

Postmark: 12/15/1910 - Worcester, Mass.

Postmark: 12/15/1910 - Worcester, Mass.

Sent to: Miss E Blanche Poole
Address: Fall River, Massachusetts
Dear Sis! Haven’t heard from ma yet so as to know if they are coming down. Yes I will help you with the sweater(.) How much do you want? Do you want to go together on pa’s too? I thought a nice pin of his order would be nice. He has always wanted one. or a charm. Have you bought Nellie’s present? She wants a nice back (?) comb. If you want you can send me as much as you want to spend for her and I will put some with it and get her as good a one as I can for the money. I should think $1.00 ought to get a nice one. I know just what she wants. Grais  

THE MYSTERY
The limited space on a postcard and the public nature of their messages often leads senders to write elliptically. This particular card is quite the exception. We know that Grais was writing to her sister, that the two of them were planning joint gifts for Christmas (the card was postmarked on December 15th), and even what gifts they had in mind. The mystery then is whether ma got the sweater, pa got the pin (or charm) and Nellie got the comb.

THE SENDER
Grais Florence Poole was born on July 4, 1890 in New Salem, Massachusetts. The “Nellie” she mentions is apparently Nellie May (Simonds) Burrage, although the early connection between them is not clear. However, three years after Nellie died in 1941, Grais married Nellie’s widower, James Burrage, who died in 1947. Grais died in 1968 and is buried in North New Salem Cemetery, along with her mother, father, and husband.

THE RECIPIENT
Blanche Poole was born on August 19, 1880 and at the time of the 1910 Federal Census was working as a servant for Rufus P. and Sarah S. Walker, who lived at the address on this card. On March 8, 1914, at the age of 33, she married Milton M. McIntyre, a widower with one son. After Milton died in 1925, Blanche returned to live with her parents in New Salem. She died in 1965 and is buried alongside her husband in South Cemetery, Orange, Massachusetts.

REFERENCES

(1) Family Histories - Ancestry.com

THE CARD
THE HUGH C. LEIGHTON CO
MANUFACTURERS PORTLAND, ME., U.S.A. L374

Acknowledgements
Special thanks to Bill Wallace, Executive Director of the Worcester Historical Museum, for his guidance on researching this topic and for permission to use his words in the blog.

Chapel, Hope Cemetery - Mama Arrived Home

Chapel_Hope-Cemetery_LA_P_03-24-1906_FR.jpg

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.

Worcester Market - Having Splendid Time

Worcester-Market_P-09-09-1926_FR.jpg

The Worcester Market, an ornately adorned Classical Revival style building, was constructed by the J. W. Bishop Company from a design by its employee Oreste Ziroli, an Italian immigrant. It was completed in 1914 and opened for business in 1915. At that time, it was reported to be the largest food market in the United States, with 25,000 square feet of retail space on the first floor and storage space above and below connected to the each product counter by elevators.

Worcester Market: August 7, 2015

Worcester Market: August 7, 2015

Initially built for a regional grocer, Fayette Asyril Amidon, the building subsequently served as a store location for the Brockleman Bros. and Stop & Shop chains, before closing as a market in the mid-1960's. Thereafter, it was used for about a decade by Morgan Memorial Goodwill Industries as a store and then, after substantial renovation, was leased to the state for various departmental offices. The building was closed in 2014 and today has an uncertain future.

Main-Street_627_Worcester-Market_DSC-4843.jpg

Still, many people remember the Worcester Market in its heyday, including Mrs. Beverly (Marsden) Strom who said recently, "(I went) there every Friday night shopping with my mother and father after having a hamburger at White Tower nearby.  It was the only market in town at the time until United Fruit opened up across the street." That was a different world.

Sent to: Miss Maude Hupper
Address: Rockland, Maine
We are enjoying a week with Belle - having splendid time - B & W send love to you and your mother.
Sincerely, Louise C. Hewett

Postmark: 09/09/1926 - Worcester Mass.

Postmark: 09/09/1926 - Worcester Mass.

THE MYSTERY

  • Who were the B(elle) & W mentioned in the message on this card? What relationship did they have to the Sender and Recipient? Were they family or just close friends? One or the other most certainly.

THE SENDER

Louise Benner Curling was born in 1872 and, at the time of the 1930 Federal census, lived in Thomaston, Maine, just a few miles down Route 1 from the Recipient of this card. She married John Hewett in 1906 and it appears that they had no children. Louise died in 1951 and is buried in the Thomaston Village Cemetery.

THE RECIPIENT

Maude Louise Hupper was born in 1880 to Sidney G. & Eloise T. Hupper. According to the 1920 Federal census, at age 37 she was single and living in Rockland, Maine with her parents. At the time this card was sent, six years later, she was still single and thereafter never married. Maude died in 1971 at the age of 90 and is buried in Achorn Cemetery in Rockland, Maine.

REFERENCES
(1) Builder, Designer & Style - Massachusetts Cultural Resource Information System
(2) The New Worcester Market - The Worcester Magazine, Volume 18, Pages 53-56
(3) Recent History - Worcester Telegram & Gazette, February 24, 2018
(2) Birth, Death & Census Records - Ancestry.com

The Card

THE WORCESTER MARKET, the largest of its kind in the United States. The entire plant has an area of 90,000 sq. ft. and a storage capacity of 1500 tons. The actual floor space, all on one floor, for the convenience of patrons, is 25,000 sq. ft.

Pub. by J. I. Williams, Worcester, Mass., U. S. A. [86-19]

Acknowledgements

Special thanks to Bill Trutor for his research assistance on this topic.

Franklin Square Theatre - F.L.C.

Franklin-Square-Theatre_P-08-20-1907_FR.jpg

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]

Classical High School - Boys are planting the gardens ...

Classical-High-School_P-1943_FR.JPG

Classical High School was completed in 1871 from a design by the firm of Gambrill and Richardson of New York. This grand, soaring structure reflected the vision of H. H. (Henry Hobson) Richardson, whose signature style came to be called "Richardson Romanesque."

The Worcester firm of Norcross Brothers Contractors and Builders was engaged to construct the new school and subsequently worked with Richardson on many other projects throughout New England and beyond. In addition to classrooms, meeting spaces, and offices, it included a gymnasium in the basement and a large hall on the third floor, measuring 76' x 62'.

The building faced east on what is now called Maple Terrace (between Maple and Walnut Streets) but in 1966 was demolished to make way for the new headquarters of Paul Revere Life Insurance Company.

Sent to: Mrs. O. O. Wright
Address: Spencer, West Virginia
Postmark: ??/??/1943 - Dodge, MA
Dear Friend - Nice hearing from you. At last we are having some nice weather. Boys are planting the gardens at last and about time. Am feeling better but can't do much work. Cheerio
From: Mrs. H, Beauregard, Box 48, Dodge, Mass. Collector of miniature dogs & hankies

Classical-High-School_P-1943_BK.JPG

THE MYSTERY

  • In 1943, most able-bodied young men in their late teens would have been called up for service in a rapidly escalating war effort. And, at a time when the country was rationing every imaginable product, a source of locally grown food would have been very important. So what led these "boys" to put off their responsibilities? Perhaps, considering the circumstances, the discipline of a senior man in the house was absent. Whatever the reason, Mrs. Beauregard seems none too happy about the delay . . . and rightly so.

THE SENDER

Eudora Hazel Judson Button (Beebe) Beauregard was born on May 22, 1895 in Pawtucket, Rhode Island. Barely a week after turning 17, on May 31, 1912, she married Reginald Ambrose Judson in Worcester, Massachusetts. However, they were divorced on October 19, 1916 and soon thereafter she married Edwin/Edward H. Button, with whom she had three children, Edward, Lillian and Phyllis. Edward Sr. died on July 18, 1925 and she then married Harry Joseph Beauregard in Boston on May 8, 1926. Eudora died on February 12, 1993 (at age 97) and is buried beside her second and third husbands in Hope Cemetery, Worcester, Massachusetts.

THE RECIPIENT

Onnie O. Wright married Edna McKown in 1916 and at the time of the 1920 census they were recorded as having one son, Herbert. However, the West Virginia Marriages Index shows that on October 29, 1923 he married Anna A. Hawkins and at the time of the 1940 Federal census the two were living in Spencer, West Virginia with their son, 15-year old Olsten. It seems very unlikely that there were two Onnie O. Wrights of the same age at the same time in that area, so one must assume that Anna was the second wife to whom this card was addressed.

REFERENCES

(1) Classical & Worcester High School - WorcesterThen.com
(2) Worcester Illustrated: 1875 - James A. Ambler [ Page 26 - 27 ]
(3) Federal Census & Social Security Records - Ancestry.com
(4) Local Birth, Marriage, Divorce & Death Records - Ancestry.com

THE CARD

Published by A. P. Lundborg, Worcester, Mass.
Valentine & Sons Publishing Company Ltd. New York
Printed in Great Britain
[02,282]

Jonas Clark Hall - I like my work very much.

Clark-University_JC-Hall_P_12-11-xxxx_FR.jpg

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

Clark-University_JC-Hall_P_12-11-xxxx_FR_TEXT-ONLY.jpg
  • 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.]

Boy's Club - I have no pets now . . .

Boys-Club_Lincoln-Square_P_08-11-1944_FR.jpg

The Worcester Boy's Club at Lincoln Square was opened in 1930 to serve the Club's rapidly expanding membership in the city. After a fundraising effort that collected almost $450,000 (roughly $6.5 million in current dollars) the building was constructed on property that had previously been the site of Salisbury Mansion, which was moved just up the hill and now sits at 40 Highland Street. The World War I memorial in front of the Club was also later relocated slightly and its left edge is now just visible in the far right side of the image below.

Boy's Club Building (Voke School): October 7, 2014

Boy's Club Building (Voke School): October 7, 2014

The architectural firm for this simplified Neo-Georgian structure was Frost, Chamberlain and Edwards, a well-known local firm that also designed many other significant buildings in the city. After the Boy's Club abandoned the building, it was incorporated into the neighboring "Voke School" complex . . . which explains, but does not excuse, the ugly block lettering seen in the image above. In 2006, the city completed a new Worcester Technical High School and moved all of its vocational programs to that facility. Since that time, numerous attempts have been made to entice a developer for this building but it currently remains closed.

Sent to: Miss Marilyn Stevens
Address: Beckemeyer, Illinois
Dear Marilyn
Thanks for the lovely card. I was glad to hear from you again.
I have no pets now as my little dog died.
Marilyn C.

Postmark: 08/11/1944 - Worcester Mass.

Postmark: 08/11/1944 - Worcester Mass.

THE MYSTERY

  • According to the City Assessor, this building was completed in 1915, but that's when the other Boy's Club on Ionic Avenue was opened. The Assessor also says that it's located at 16 Salisbury Street (which must be correct), although none of the property lines currently abut that street. The Massachusetts Cultural Resource Information System provides a definitive opening date of 1930 and gives the location simply as Lincoln Square.

THE SENDER

Knowing that the recipient of this card was 15 years old at the time suggests that sender was roughly the same age. This is further affirmed by the direct, unemotional, and plainspoken report, "I have no pets now as my little dog died." For a young teen, that event was probably quite heartbreaking but, in the midst of a global war, the daily drumbeat of reported deaths must have changed perspectives for everyone who remained at home . . . waiting.

THE RECIPIENT

Marilyn Stevens appears in the 1940 Federal Census, residing with her father, mother and older brother in Beckemeyer, Illinois. She was born on December 31, 1927 and, based on all evidence, lived there for her entire life. Her brother John joined the U.S. Army in 1943 and was almost certainly serving overseas when this card was sent. Marilyn (Stevens) Bromley died in 2002, just shy of her 75th birthday and is buried in Saint Anthony's Cemetery, Beckemeyer, Illinois.

REFERENCES
(1) 1940 Federal Census - Ancestry.com

The Card

PUB. BY PERKINS & BUTLER INC., WORCESTER MASS.
"TICHNOR QUALITY VIEWS" REG U.S. PAT. OFF.
MADE ONLY BY TICHNOR BROS. INC., BOSTON, MASS.
[63319]

Bancroft Tower - You are not forgotten.

Bancroft-Tower_P_07-15-1913_FR.jpg

Bancroft Tower is the only remaining example of three similar structures that once stood in the city of Worcester. It's construction was funded by Stephen Salisbury III to honor the memory of George Bancroft who, among a host of other accomplishments, created the United States Naval Academy at Annapolis during his tenure as the U.S. Secretary of Navy. Designed by the local firm of Earle & Fisher, the tower was completed in 1900 at a cost of $15,000 and is now the centerpiece of Salisbury Park.

Bancroft Tower: October 8, 2014

Bancroft Tower: October 8, 2014

Sent to: Mrs. Jos. A. Peckham
Address: Newport, R.I.
You are not forgotten. I am very busy & too tired to write much. Picked 24 1/2 qts. blueberries to-day. Earned $2.94 to-day. Not much compared to your strawberry crop. We have to bring all our water. It is very dry, even berries which suffer the least will not last long if rain does not come soon. It probably will as God usually provides all. I don't feel very good to-night Give my love to both families. Ethel C.
I'm too tired to write as I ought.

Postmark: 07/15/1913 - Montague, MA

Postmark: 07/15/1913 - Montague, MA

THE MYSTERY

  • The message on this card is not so much a mystery as it is a startling view into one rural laborer's life during the early 1900's. At the time, Ethel was working on a farm in Montague, Massachusetts earning 12 cents per quart of blueberries picked. Today, on an inflation adjusted basis, that would be about $3.02 per quart, or $74 for her day's work. She is clearly exhausted and not feeling well. And no wonder!! In the middle of a hot, dry July, she probably worked 10 - 12 hours per day for six days a week.

THE SENDER

The absence of the sender's surname on this card leaves her history relatively immune to research. However, she and the recipient clearly have a close relationship and the pain of her separation from "both families" is evident from the first sentence.

THE RECIPIENT

Ella Remembrance (Farnum) Peckham (Mrs. Jos. A. Peckham) was born in Peru, Vermont in 1879 and was married there in 1899. At the time of the 1910 federal census, she was living on a farm in Middletown, Newport, Rhode Island with her husband and three children. She died in 1969 and is buried beside her husband in the Middletown Cemetery.

REFERENCES
(1) 1910 Federal Census - Ancestry.com

THE CARD

Identity of printer/distributor not shown on the card.
[64314]

Worcester Trade School - Some verry pretty places.

Worcester-Trade-School_P-01-31-1912_FR.JPG

This postcard features the first-built section of the Worcester Boys Trade School, completed in 1910 and, with assistance from students attending the school, greatly expanded in 1916-1917. The building at that time fronted on Grove Street and faced Armory Square, so named because of the Worcester National Guard Armory located diagonally across the square. Milton Higgins, a noted Worcester industrialist, was instrumental in establishing the school, acting as an early advocate, donor, and fundraiser.

Worcester-Boys-Trade-School_DSC-0007_EDIT.jpg-0007.JPG

As seen above, the original structure (far left) was incorporated into the new building, which is much grander in scale and more elegant in design. The architects of the expansion also took care to symmetrically match the extension on the right to achieve visual balance. After a new co-ed Technical High School was finished in 2006, this entire suite of buildings was renovated into apartments and is now known as the Voke Lofts.

REFERENCES
(1) Worcester Institutional District - Waymarking.com

Sent to: Mr. Leroy Stalker
Address: [???], NY
Dear Friend your card received and like it very much. I think there must be some verry pretty places there this is not a pretty card but most men are interested in schools and colleges I have quite a collection of them from different [???] Good night and answer soon
Your Friend  Rose L. Ross
66 Madison Street, Worcester Mass

Postmark: 01/31/1912 - Worcester, MA

Postmark: 01/31/1912 - Worcester, MA

THE MYSTERY

  • The sender and recipient of this card were born 22 years apart in different states and lived 300 miles away from each other. Were they simply engaging in a regular exchange of cards, which was a bit of a rage in the early 1900's, or was there something more? It is tempting to read a certain sentiment into Rose's comments, ("Good night and answer soon") but it seems unlikely that tender thoughts would have been shared with a much younger married man in something as public as a postcard sent to his home.

THE SENDER

In the 1900 federal census, Rose L. Ross, is listed as married and head of household, living at the time with her two children and her mother, Elizabeth Smith. Notably, however, her husband does not appear on that record. We also learn that she worked as a "Laundress" and was born in Rhode Island in 1866. Oddly, she is not recorded on the 1910 census, even though she apparently lived at the same address on Madison Street from at least 1900 through 1912.

THE RECIPIENT

Leroy E. Stalker was born in 1888 and, according to the federal census records for both 1910 and 1920, was living in Union, New York. He worked at a shoe factory throughout this period, including time spent as a "Fiber Worker" and "Carton Cutter." Married when this card was sent, he had only recently left his parent's house to live independently with his wife. He died in March 1974 at the age of 86 and is buried at the Riverside Cemetery in Endicott, New York.

REFERENCES
(2) Federal Census Records & Social Security Death Index - Ancestry.com