Archive for February, 2008

Rusk Auto-House Found

Wednesday, February 6th, 2008

When I first learned about the Rusk Auto-House, I discovered that one was placed on the National Register of Historic Places, Building #87002634 — but the address didn’t make sense. I walked around that block, and found nothing but parking lot. I assumed it was torn down quite some time ago, but in going through my Binford Guide archive I found a photo of that very Rusk. Located on a house’s driveway exiting on to 7th avenue, a half block west of Broadway and facing St. Mary’s Cathedral, sat this pressed-steel garage. That was in 1988; the garage must have disappeared not long after, as I don’t ever remember anything on that corner except parking lot.

Potatoes!

Tuesday, February 5th, 2008

From this collection. Potatoes. What more can I say?

The Best Of Friends

Monday, February 4th, 2008

This is the last of the atheistic Freethought postcards I got at an antique show a few months ago. It’s the least witty or thoughtful of the three, but it was the hardest to translate. We’ve got a priest and a devil, arm in arm, looking a little displeased, but neither is fighting it. The first line reads, “Example of an extreme friendship”; the second says, “A pair who exist due to afflictions.” This sentiment is similar to the first card, an attitude that the church preys on people who aren’t giving their condition enough thought and trusting in religion. It’s an odd thing to be anti-church, while using the church’s boogey-man as the reson for the comparison, but, hey, it works. Me, I personally really like the stylized devil he drew — in today’s modern culture, we almost universally show a “Mephistopheles Dracula”, a red-skinned suave gentleman with a van-dyke beard, stylish cape, and tiny horns on the forehead. Or, we depict Satan like the Incredible Hulk, with huge teeth and bulging muscles. This Czech devil (probably intentionally) looks ill and weak. A fat, well-fed cleric and an impotent devil? That probably meant more than a weak analogy.

Enid Brant, Scrapbooked

Sunday, February 3rd, 2008

All we have to go on is her caption: Enid Brandt, San Francisco’s Child Pianist. Her photo comes from the Pennsylvania Report Scrapbook, what we’d consider ‘altered art’ today. The book was originally the “Pennsylvania Report of the Superintendent of Public Instruction, 1895,” but an industrious photo-lover cut photos out of magazines and glued them over the top of the less-than-interesting education statistics. Most photos appear to be from glossy magazines of the time, and they all seem to range in the 1900-1905 range, based on photos of politicians and other places. One thing missing from the scrapbook, despite the amount of California photos? The San Francisco Earthquake of 1906. Enid doesn’t appear in Google as growing into a prodigy and master of her instrument; I hope the talented young lady made it through the quake and fire.

Helene’s Swamped Canoe

Saturday, February 2nd, 2008


Don’t look now, Helene, but your fishing excursion isn’t going to get very far. Helene sent a copy of this photo to Marie (along with several others), probably because Marie was along on this girls-day-out. It’s sure good she’s near shore, though; unswamping a canoe in a long dress and snazzy hat would be quite difficult. Helene doesn’t appear too nonplussed — she’s got a few other canoes behind her to pick from.

Arrangement in Gray and Black: Melby’s Mother

Friday, February 1st, 2008

Whistler’s Mother (otherwise known as Arrangement in Gray and Black No. 1) is an iconic image in our culture, recalling a Victorian silence and respectability. Mrs. Melby’s Mother, above, spent Halloween 1960 at a bowling alley. My, how times change is a little less than a century! Not quite as much as you may think, though — the style of dress is similarly modest, although Mrs. Melby has gone stocking-free and is showing a little ankle. Her chair is similarly spartan, although anyone who attended a high school built earlier than 1960 is probably intimately familiar with such folding seats; many a small finger has been bit by those steel hinges while screwing around during an oh-so-important school assembly in the auditorium.