Archive for February, 2008

Angelo’s Place – Gulfport Mississippi

Saturday, February 16th, 2008

The postcard assumes you know who Angelo is — this fine chef was so ubiquitous that his first name was enough to tell all who he is. Emeril? Bah — television was his tool…Angelo was known by word-of-mouth! This postcard is done in the style of real-photo postcards from the 1910s to 1930s, but appears to have been printed much later (and it’s not actually a photographic copy). Angelo Xidis immigrated as a teen in 1915, opening his eponymous restaurant in 1935. This would seem to be about the right time for this photo, maybe 1940s. Sadly, Angelo’s closed in the 1980s, well after the original Angelo retired, but the restaurant lives on in the numerous postcards that recommended his restaurant to the friends and relatives of a multitude of Mississippi vacationers.

The Hideout at the Comstock

Friday, February 15th, 2008

This came from a 1955 Moorhead Daily News, advertising the Comstock Hotel’s Hideout Room. This appears to have been the hotel’s lounge, featuring the dulcet tones of the Hammond organ. The Comstock was located in downtown Moorhead until Urban Renewal flattened and re-drew the flood-ravaged section of downtown to build a mall- wrapped- around- city- hall monolithic building that’s struggled to keep shoppers and tenants. Personally, I prefer how the Comstock looked to the ultramodern styles of the buildings built in its place.

Thumb Problem

Thursday, February 14th, 2008

Poor lad — broken a thumb at such a young age, then made to get all dressed up for family. He does appear to have a brace (the black in his palm), which would indicate a pretty serious break, and the lack of our ultra-modern materials means it looks a lot worse than if you broke it today. These days, we have flesh-colored or transparent high-strength tape and carbon-fiber braces that make it all but invisible. In the thirties, they had cloth tape — or that might even be a plaster cast. Also, remember this farm was probably a good 5 to 10 miles from the nearest town…if they went to a doctor at all. If a neighbor or even dad was handy with medical supplies, the only doctor consulted was a copy of the Modern Home Medical Advisor that came free with $10 of groceries down at the Red Owl.

(from this set)


Wednesday, February 13th, 2008

Who’s that behind the tree? Why, it’s Mrs. Pfeiffer! Helene and her mother visited a nursery for a fine day outside, and that rapscallious Mrs. Pfeiffer brought levity to their day by composing very difficult riddles and singing scandalous bar-room tunes she learned from a set of Victrola records her husband borrowed from the Lodge and hid under his humidor. Or so I gather from two photos taken a hundred years ago — I may be reading a bit too much into it.

I also enjoy this photo for the excellent white-birch bench surrounding the tree. The arm-rests are arranged as an ‘x’, allowing open seating on all sides. I can’t see how it’s fastened together, but it seems sturdy enough — as a bench in a nursery, the raw-woo, bark and all, has a great beauty to partake, when walking through the gardens with your mother and that pernacious Mrs. Pfeiffer.

Fish stories on the Upper Sacramento

Tuesday, February 12th, 2008

Found in the Pennsylvania Scrapbook, this magazine photo-illustration promises stories, but lacks the text. There’s four gentlemen, three that had been fishing, and one hiker (the guy on the far right). The guy in the middle smirks self-assuredly, while the other two fishermen glare — the smirker is clean shaved and well-dressed, the other two are less well-dressed and decorate their lips with bushy mustaches. A close look discovers that somebody left the water running. It seems there’s a funny story or a joke in there somewhere, but without the rest of the story, we don’t get it. The one piece of factual information is the reference to the Upper Sacramento River: it’s still a fly-fishing haven today, as it was a century ago when the photo was taken, but back in the day the region was equally known for both the beauty of the environment and the logging and mining that took from it. If you were a townie, working in the mines and pulling your dinner from the river, you’d probably be grumpy, too, if some big-city tourist trying to connect with nature outfished you.

also: Muriel Foster’s Diary * magical Shasta Springs water * temporary death of the Upper Sacramento

Buckskin Harry, Fargo TV Cowboy

Monday, February 11th, 2008

Buckskin Harry, as far as I can tell at this time, was a local television personality here in Fargo. Back in the day, local television stations did a lot more local programming than just the news; a lot of the national kids’ shows like Bozo the Clown had its roots in local TV stations. Even into the 1980s local stations had thematic characters do intros and commercial bumpers for horror movies.

We found this photo in a 1950s magazine, so it gave us a pretty good idea of about when ‘ol Buckskin graced the boob-tube. Our first resource was my grandparents — Grandpa Vernon remembered Harry on TV in the 1950s, but Grandpa was nurturing a new family around that time and wasn’t watching mid-afternoon kids’ programming.

Going through a 1955 Fargo Forum, I found some more specific information: Buckskin was on at 4 in the afternoon, an excellent timeslot lead into by Pinky Lee and Howdy Doody — and Buckskin’s show ran for an hour and fifteen minutes. I’m still doing my digging (my research method consists of doing very little, randomly encountering information…it works pretty well, actually), but if anybody out there remembers Buckskin, I’d appreciate any info.

When Flair Was King

Sunday, February 10th, 2008

About a month ago, I drove past that ugly modern office building on the corner of Main and University, and struggled to remember what was there before. Then, I found this postcard, and memories rushed back in. No, I don’t think I was ever in Bronk’s (we were a Polar Package Place family; it was closer to our home), but its central location in Fargo and garish exterior would make it hard to forget. I’m going to look through my archives and see if I can dig up any more on Bronk’s, but I don’t remember seeing anything about it recently. Today, garish exteriors are reserved for children’s restaurants and theme buffets — the interior of a liquor store isn’t inherently anything, let alone to be ‘themed’ to attract customers. Modern stores aim for neutral efficiency, and ‘vice’ stores want to project professionalism lest they be called uncouth…but back in the day, when someone said to stop at the liquor store with the cowboy on top, you darn well knew where to go. Bronk’s disappeared in the late 80s by my recollection, and was replaced by a law office building. No cowboys on the top of the law offices, sadly.

Smooching An Old Guy

Saturday, February 9th, 2008

This photo was captioned “Jack, Obie Jordahl’s Daughter, 8-24-57″. Obie Jordahl, I believe, was a barber at the Pfister Hotel in Milwaukee, and this fine evening he brought his daughter along to a drinking session in the hotel barber shop. Thing got wild — as you might expect — and the young miss Jordahl met the fate seen above, photographed and stored for all time. Poor, poor girl.

Howie and his Truck

Friday, February 8th, 2008

This picture was captioned “Howie.” Mr. Zillmer had a truck, was from Pewaukee, Wisconsin, owned a 1930s-era Chevrolet truck, and was friends with the photographer of this album. That’s about all we know — and with this magic of the internet, can anything more be discovered? Not as much as you might think — Howie could certainly be “Howard Zillmer” — the internet brings us a flyer from a church in Florida that lists Zillmer’s birthday as January third — Florida’s quite a ways away from Wisconsin, though. 2003 brought us the obituary of a Howard Zillmer’s mother, Augusta, who had been born in 1910 and lived in Pewaukee. Howard E Zillmer enlisted in the military in Milwaukee shortly after World War II broke out, but — also in Milwaukee — Howard R Zillmer held out until ‘43. Our photogenic Howard, however, looks older than any of the possible Howards on the internet. If internet archives have slowly reached back to the ’40s, maybe eventually we’ll be able to find Howie. Until then, he’s remembered for driving his grain truck past Ruth.

Visions of the Future: Subways!

Thursday, February 7th, 2008

We’re accustomed to seeing Artist Depictions Of The Future, mostly in technical magazines showing soldiers with jetpacks, robot soldiers, robots walking dogs, dogs with jetpacks, and so on. This picture, from early 1900s, is an artist depiction of “an express station of the underground railway.” This could certainly be a depiction of the Pacific Electric Railway or San Francisco’s pre-Muni rail service, given the predominance of California photos in the scrapbook. Really, it could be anywhere: subways were around at the time, so riding trains underground wouldn’t have been overly special. Electric underground trains were relatively new, and the addition of “express” is probably a sign of why this deserved attention. The future was here — where you could board a smoke-less, clean trolley underground, out of the rain, and zip through town to your destination. Only horses and those new noisy automobiles drove the streets…the future was there!