Sunday, November 30, 2014

5 Drunk Girls

Probably not, but I like the title.

Friday, November 28, 2014

Views of California, Mt. Lowe Railway

I had to go all the way to South Dakota (via eBay) to get this classic southern California scene.

Alright, let's start with a bit of heavily edited history.  In  the late nineteenth century, Professor Thaddeus S. C. Lowe. inventor, astronomer, balloonist, and businessman, thought it would be a grand idea to build a railroad into the San Gabriel Mountains, above Pasadena and Los Angeles.  A daft idea, but by 1893, he was open for business.

The Mt. Lowe Railway was actually three separate railways.  The Mountain Division started in the city of Altadena, and actually had stops for locals, just trying to get from one street to another.  Eventually, it entered Rubio Canyon, home to some rather scenic waterfalls that hikers can still visit.  After crossing the upper canyon on a bridge, it ended at Rubio Pavilion, a small 12 room hotel.

From there, the next leg was The Great Incline, a funicular railway that had inclines ranging from 48 to 62  degrees.  It ended at the top of Echo Mountain, and yet another hotel.  This one, an 80 room Victorian monstrosity.   There was also an astronomical observatory, the gear house for the funicular, and finally, a mega watt search light that could be seen fifty miles out to sea. The whole lot was dubbed, The White City.

 And finally, The Alpine Division, a mere 3.5 miles, that had 127 hairpin curves, and 18 bridges, ended at the foot of Mt. Lowe, and another hotel, the Ye Alpine Tavern, a 12 room Swiss style chalet.  Round trip, $5.00.

Things never really went well for Lowe's dream project.  The whole thing went into receivership within a few years, complicated by the fact that the good Professor built the whole thing on federal land without permission.  (The San Gabriel Mountains Forest Preserve, latter Angeles National Forest, and soon to be San Gabriel Mountains National Monument.) In 1905 the hotel on Echo Mountain burned to the ground,  in 1909, a flood wiped out The Rubio Pavilion, in 1928, a Santa Ana wind blew down the observatory, and in 1936,  the Ye Alpine Tavern, also burned down.  And finally, adding insult to injury, in 1938, a three day rain storm destroyed what was left.  To expensive to rebuild, in World War 2, a scrapper went along the route and pulled up what  was left of the tracks.  From 1959 to 1962, the Forest Service dynamited the foundations of all the buildings.

This card is post marked, "OCEAN PARK JAN 20 9:30 A.M, CAL."  And since this is from the era when postmarks were added at both ends of the process, "ESMOND FEB 8, A.M. 1908, S.DAK."  It was addressed to "P.G. Hanna, Esmond, S.D."  I looked up Esmond.  It's not even listed as a town, but as a populated place.  The map showed all of six streets.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Views of California, Catalina Island

I'm leaving the Views of the World Collection for awhile, but I am staying in California.  This card was published by The M. Rieder Company of Los Angeles.  M. Rieder was in business from 1901 to 1915.  Their cards printed in Germany.  There is a photo credit on this one.  C. Ironmonger.  Charles Frederick Ironmonger was born in Ohio in 1868, moved to L.A. in 1892 and went to work in the photo studio of Charles Betts Waite.  When Waite moved to Mexico, in 1895,  Ironmonger moved to Avalon on Catalina  and opened the first photo studio on the island.  His bread and butter was photos of fishermen with their catches, but he also took a number of landscapes, and photos of everyday island life.  He died in 1915. This card was post marked, "AVALON AUG 20 6:30 A.M. 1907 CALIF."  It was mailed to Mrs E. Behne, 799 Kohler St., Los Angeles, Calif."  The message on the front is faded, but we can make some of it out, "Dear Mama,  I am having a fine time in Catalina (something) and Anti and Mrs (someone and something) I went fishing today and caught (continued on the image-something, something) albacore."  More than likely Mama's son or daughter got home before this card was delivered.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Views of the World, Palmetto Avenue, Los Angeles

I went through the junk in the hall closet and dug out my 2002 Thomas Brothers Guide,  (If you're not from my part of the world, you won't get the reference.)  and looked for Palmetto Avenue, L.A.  I found a Palmetto Ave. in Covina, a Palmetto Place in Pasadena, and a Palmetto Street in Los Angeles.  The one in L.A. is between the L.A. River and downtown. An area better known for warehouses, small factories, and scrap yards.  Things do change.

Click Views of the World in labels to bring up the rest of this collection.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Views of the World, Big Tree, California

This postcard is driving me crazy.  I'm sure I've seen the original black & white photograph.  But where? Haven't a clue.  I've just spent far too much time searching the net looking for the original and couldn't find a thing.

Anyway, in 1890 Congress passed a law creating Yosemite, Sequoia, and General Grant National Parks.  General Grant National Park?  Yes, in 1890, 10 or so acres of giant sequoia trees were protected as General Grant National Park.  In 1940, the park was folded into the newly established King's Canyon National Park.  Oh for the good old days when Congress was able to actually do things.  Don't know which park this photo is from, but it has to be either Sequoia or General Grant.

This card is part of a collection of cards Iv'e has since high school, and that was far too many years ago.  Click on Views of the World in labels to see what's been posted.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Snow Leap

As a rule, I don't keep seasons on The New Found Photography.  If  I've got a nice beach picture, and I've got a few in the queue, I'm as likely to post them in January as in July.  But, since the last post was so summery, I thought this snow scene was a great follow up.

 I bought this image here, in southern California, so it's a good bet that I've driven this road.  I doubt that stone structure is there anymore, but it made a good spot to take a leap into winter, though I've got a funny feeling that there's a bit of stage craft in this photo.  I think the leaper didn't leap, so much as pretended to leap for the camera.

Now, let me get into printer mode for a bit.  Notice all the white spots and lines.  That's not snow, it's a dirty negative.  This must have been printed in a home darkroom.  Pro printers don't last if they can't be bothered to clean the neg before exposure.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Eating Watermelon

I grew up in a small, rural town where people, during the summer, sat around and ate watermelon.  Locally grown watermelon.  Watermelon with seeds.  Imagine that.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

U. S. Army Air Force

This one is the full 8x10, heavy, double weight, fiber paper print meant to be displayed in the silver frame on the mantle piece.

I had a couple of threads to pursue on this photograph.  There is an embossed studio mark on the bottom of the print, part of which is visible.  "FRANKLIN DUNCAN, HOLLYWOOD, GR 1037."  I thought it would be easy to find something on Mr. Duncan, but sadly, I struck out on that front.  I tried Franklin Duncan, Hollywood, California, as well as Franklin Duncan, Hollywood, Florida and couldn't find a thing.  Who ever he was, he was skilled, but not necessarily talented.  I've seen a very similar pose on many a print.  Even when I was working as a professional photo printer, and I'm way too young to have been working in the World War 2 era, this pose showed up all the time.

The other thread, the shoulder insignia on the young man's uniform.  I recognized it as the mark of the United States Army Air Force, organized in 1941, disbanded in 1947, with the founding of the separate Air Force we know today.  I had hoped to find out who were the officers and who were the enlisted men.  Pilots, co-pilots, and navigators were the officers, like out lieutenant, while gunners, and mechanics were the enlisted men.  The one position I'm not sure of, bombardier.

Nice looking woman.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Mom's Friends

Well, I'm going to stick with the military stuff, at least through the weekend.  This one looks like the World War 2 era.

Written on the back, "Mom & Friends."  But, which lady is mom?  If the writing on the back was written when the photo was taken, Mom is probably the older woman.  If thirty years latter, probably the younger lady.  Significantly, the man is neither son, nor father.  Personally, I think Mom is the younger of the two women, and she went through a number of  boyfriends through the war years.  But, did the man in the picture not live up to Mom's standards, or did he not live?

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

World War 1, On The Move

More from the camera of O.D. Caldwell.

Both of the Caldwell posts seem to be about movement.  Most of the battle damage photos look like they were taken from a moving train, and they were all of different locations.  Today's post show men in trains and men on ships.  But, are they on the way to war, or are they on the way home?  I prefer to think that the war was over for these men, and they were headed back to the U.S.  That's why I put the Statue of Liberty picture last.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

World War 1, Battle Damage

At the eleventh hour, of the eleventh day, of the eleventh month of 1918, the armistice that ended fighting in World War 1 went into effect.  Some of the heaviest fighting of the conflict were in the hours before the armistice.  The Treaty of Versailles, that actually ended the war, wouldn't be negotiated until 1919, and generals wanted to be in the best position possible, just in case fighting began again.

Written on the back, "O. D. Caldwell."  More photos from Mr. Caldwell in the next post.

Monday, November 10, 2014

El Kusto

A bit faded, but overall a nice photograph.  But, it wasn't the ladies in the foreground which drew me in.  It was the building.  A cigar manufacturer in Minnesota, and the very Cuban sounding name, El Kusto.  I tried one of my favorite research sites, eBay and found a number of El Kusto cigar bands for sale, all of which identified El Kusto as a fine Habana Cigar.  Anyway, I  found the name of the distribution company, which may have also been the manufacturer, in an  article from the Wednesday, April 14, 1915 edition of The Duluth Herald


Duluth men who have trouble in picking out the brand of cigar they want to smoke will have a new one from which they may choose in the future.  It is the El Kusto, now being introduced by the manufacturers through the Rust-Parker company.

Nate Ellis, the St. Paul representative of the makers was in Duluth today arranging of the new smoke.  Added inducements are offered by the company who will give premiums for the bands.  They will be sold in three sizes.

I'll bet the women were employees of cigar maker.

Sunday, November 9, 2014


I've been saving these photos for today.  For those unaware, today is the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall.  After the war, Germany was divided into four major zones of occupation.  Soviet, French, British, and American.  Berlin, Germany's capitol, while within the Soviet zone, was also divided among the four powers.  Until 1949, the zones were ruled by military governors.  From 1949 until 1955, civilian High Commissioners.

Take a look at the soldier's shoulder patch, (I needed a magnifying glass, you might have  to click on the image for a bigger window.) to see the word, "Berlin."  Until 1961, U.S. troops in the capitol were known as the Berlin Brigade, after 1961, when construction of the wall began, U.S. Army, Berlin. American troops left Berlin in 1994, after Soviet troops left East Germany. I looked up the insignias, and they're almost identical.  I'm fairly certain, that our soldier is Berlin Brigade, although I'm basing that on the women's clothing.

Now for the fun part.  When the occupation began, it was decided that fraternization between occupying troops and German civilians would not be permitted.  That policy lasted less than a year.  Basically, it was unenforceable.  Single men, single women, the inevitable happened. Go to my Fair Use see a U.S. Army anti-fraternization poster.


Love this picture.  I bought it here, in southern California, so let's assume the Pacific.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Fancy Dress

No name or date.  This one was part of a lot.  Anyway, at first I thought of it as a throw in, the type of photo that gets thrown in a box and forgotten.  But, after awhile, it grew on me.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

On the Flip Side 2

If there's a one, there has to be a two, too.  Anyway, purchased from the same seller, and almost certainly from the same album.  And, yes, that is some sort of bird in the second photo.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

On the Flip Side 1

I've written about this before, but what the hell, let's repeat.  I hate it when antique dealers break-up collections and cut up photo albums for fun and profit.  Any snapshot, any album has context.  I love looking at all the old photos I've purchased, over the years, but I'd enjoy it even more if I could see the whole life of the people in the images.  Seeing snapshots, thumbing through albums, form beginning to end.

 Too, every collector of old photographs dreams of finding the complete work of a great, but unknown, photographer.  It happens.  Vivian Maier spent forty plus years as a nanny, taking pictures in her spare time.  After her death, thousands of negatives and prints were purchased at a storage locker auction.  Fortunately, the buyer understood what he had found, and didn't sell off one print or one strip of film, at a time.

 Many years ago, on a vacation, I found some great glass negatives being sold at an antique store in Montana.  The owner had bought crates of them at an auction, and broke up the collection.  (Go to my very post and look at the few I was able to buy.)  I can still remember how excited I was when I looked at the few that were left, and how disappointed I was when I was told those few were all that were left.  The man had broken apart a collection of what could have been the work of a significant artist.  Alas, we'll never know.

Anyway, it was the top image of this post that I wanted.  It was cut out of an album, and the second photo was pasted on the backside.