Posting vignettes based on great postcards found in my mail box and elsewhere.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Tolagoa Bay Wharf, New Zealand

Joe from New Zealand is collecting postcards from each U.S. state. You can find him and send him a message at the Postcrossing project here. I sent him an Alaskan card and he returned this beautiful card showing the East Coast north of Gisborne where the Tolagoa Bay Wharf, the longest wharf in the Southern Hemisphere, stretches into the sea. The wharf was opened December 1929. Today it being restored in phases yet remains in need of further restoration. See this web site if you are interested in helping with the renovations of the wharf.

Australia and New Zealand are on my wish list of places to travel before the big curtain descends or as people of faith believe before the big curtain lifts. Joe says it is hot there this time of year (summer in the southern hemisphere) and he is making many fun trips to the beach. Ah, the beach, the waves, the sun. Maybe that is why I like this card so much. It reminds me that summer exists somewhere in the world and will return here (Fairbanks, Alaska) in May.

The Last Log Cabin in Detroit

Friends Rick and Jan brought me these two gems. The lower one sports what was once gold glitter to highlight the roof line and tree branches. They found these cards while on a trip to the American Southeast. They know I collect railroad postcards and anything from Michigan, especially Southeastern Michigan, and brought back a generous pack of very fine cards.

Both of these cards show the same point of view of Detroit, Michigan's, Palmer Park log cabin built in 1885 as a summer home for Senator Thomas W. Palmer and his wife Lizzie. It is reputed to be the last remaining log cabin in Detroit. It was once open to the public daily but is now closed, except on Michigan's Cabin Day, in which tours and historic presentations are made at 100 cabins around the state. This year's Cabin Day is June 27. A quick Internet search uncovered other postcard views of the cabin and a more recent photo on Flickr.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Pioneers of the Trans-Continential Rail Road

Glen of Calgary sent these two railroad themed postcards recently. Glen's has the Gem's World Postcards blog here. He has added several quality railroad postcards to my collection, especially Canadian Pacific postcards. The Sleeper Only trans-Canada trains began in 1907 on a limited basis (a three runs a week) and became more popular and frequent during the 1920s, following the prosperity after World War I. Americans seeking a way around U.S. alcohol prohibition were frequent passengers. They also sought out the train for its luxurious interiors and high quality wines and liquors.

The painting reproduction poster postcard at the top by an unknown artist appears to be a commemoration of the driving of the last spike at Craigellachie, British Columbia on November 7, 1885. It is almost a duplicate copy of the photo of that event, see below.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Geronimo and Nachez, Chiracahua Apache Chiefs

Friends Jan and Rick sent this photo reproduction postcard while on their travels in the American Southeast. The photo was taken by Camilius S. Fly in the Sierra Madre Mountains on March 27, 1886, during a truce in the fighting between U.S. soldiers and the Apache Nation. The reverse side identifies the subjects: left to right, Son of Geronimo, White Horse, holding Nahi's baby girl: Geronimo mounted; Natches (Naiche), son of Cochise, and hereditary chief, mounted & wearing hat; Fun, considered the bravest fighter in Geronimo's band." The description also says, "The Apache Wars lasted from 1872-1886, with (U.S. Army) General Crook in constant pursuit of Geronimo and his warriors." Though the card makes no note of it, Geronimo nicknamed Crook, Nanton Lupan, which means Grey Fox, and each man respected the other and gained each others trust. Crook often defended Geronimo and the native people from unscrupulous Indian Agents and from unfounded rumors printed in newspapers of the time. Crook was repremanded for his tolerant attitude toward the Chiracahua bands and replaced by brigadier general Nelson Miles. Crook spent his last years speaking out against the unjust treatment of native peoples. See the book, Bury My Heart At Wounded Knee, for an account of the Apache Wars and Crooks role.
This is an AZUSA Publishing Post Card. Their web site is worth the visit. See their amazing collection of historical postcards here.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Costa Rica, Hummingbird Capital

My friend David sends this card while traveling in Costa Rica. He sent the card from San Jose Airport and noted that "...if I didn't know better I would think I'm in the states. Its has to be 90% Americans in here." David travels each winter taking in the sites and sounds of Central and South America. He has this terrible itch to climb mountains too. Dave just recently descended Aconcagua Mt, the highest mountain in the Americas at 22,841 feet located in Argentina near the Chilean border. Dave was unable to summit but returned with all his fingers and toes, so Dave will live to climb another day.

This postcard shows the Violet Sabrewing Hummingbird. He said there are over 50 different species of hummingbirds in Costa Rica and while there he was fortunate to see 10 of those. Costa Rica is a destination of many birders who can travel a very small geographical area and view numerous species of birds.

The postcard photo credit goes to Jane Moore. Click on her name to see here web site portfolio. Jane has some great photos of wildlife from Africa and does weddings and portraits too. Thanks, Dave.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

A Warm Tent Is Better Than No Tent

Though it might not look like much this 16X32 foot tent was home to the Bernhardt family for 13 months in 1977-78 while they built their cabin in Alaska's Interior. Dick and Donna Bernhardt shared a love of the land and a desire to find a home away from the big city, so they left Anchorage and moved to Tok, Alaska. Like many Alaskans, they literally carved a life out a wilderness where temperatures can reach 60 below zero (Fahrenheit). See their story here. Today you can still see tent dwellers in Fairbanks and other parts of Interior Alaska making a life for themselves in this time honored fashion.

I came by this postcard when I moved to Alaska in 1990. I had already lived in a tepee and built my own home in Northern Michigan. The card probably was responsible for giving me the idea that I could do it all over again in Alaska. In 1994, my wife and I built our own cabin 15 mile north of Healy, Alaska. I can report that there is nothing romantic about hammering roof nails at 35 below zero.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Chilkoot Pass Trail

After nearly three weeks of crisscrossing the country, I thought this old postcard of gold seekers trudging up the Chilkoot Pass was appropriate. I've lugged my laptop, books and papers across the country with the intention of posting here but alas family visits, a hectic schedule and lack of conductivity at airports and hotels put the brakes on my best intentions. Thanks to a seven hour layover at the Seattle Tacoma Airport and a strong Internet connection tonight I finally can post this piece of Alaskana.