Monday, October 26, 2009

Postcards from Grandma July 29, 1909 night

Gates Circle, Buffalo, N.Y. , originally uploaded by morgazgc.

July 29, 1909 night, originally uploaded by morgazgc.

Wed. night (11:00 P.M.) Have packed up things again ready to move on to Buffalo tomorrow at 8:30. If nothing happens will arrive home Fri. night. We are all visiting, talking & eating candy, pop corn, cracker jacks & fruit. do you think we will sleep any tonight? G.H.

Grandma eating candy and popcorn? I'm glad she added fruit to the end of that sentence! And this card gives us the approximate travel time from Niagara Falls (leaving for Buffalo at 8:30am Thursday) to Hillsboro (arriving Friday night). I'd love to know the route and connection details, just like it would be nice to know WHO she was traveling with -- the "We" sounds like a group of girls.... At least we know she made it home safely.

Today's History Lesson: By 1900, Buffalo was the 8th largest city in the country, with a population of 352,000 and went on to become a major railroad hub, the largest grain-milling center in the country, and the home of the largest steel-making operation in the world. In the 2000 census, Buffalo, with a population of 292,000 ranked 69th in population, between Newark NJ and Plano TX (Glendale AZ ranks 74th). Buffalo's population topped 580,000 in the 1950s and has been declining since then. At the peak of the railroad era Buffalo had 319 passenger trains, and 476 freight trains arrive and depart daily. (Facts obtained from
US City Guide: Buffalo New York and the references listed therein, accessed 10/26/09)

Those of you with sharp eyes will note the green markings at the top of the picture part of the postcard -- something is stuck on the card but I'm reluctant to scrape too much off for fear of damaging the card.


Mary Uible Crowson said...

I guess I'm surprised the postcard is in color? And what forms of transportation would be available from Buffalo to Hillsboro aside from train? There were a few cars back then, but I'm betting that she didn't have one---or if she had access to one, her parents wouldn't have permitted her to drive to Buffalo. CJ might have owned a car but he's not even in the picture yet, right? And rail was "the" form of transportation at that time, right?

Catherine said...

Even if the family had a car, the only roads "drivable" were in and around towns. Not many city-to-city roads were improved until about 1915-1925 and then World War 1 kept them from being better developed. It was the 1920s before the federal highway system was developed. So, yes, Grandma probably traveled everywhere outside of Hillsboro by train. There were "interurban" trains (~1890s-1930s) sort of like electric streetcars that ran between towns that weren't too far apart, possibly from Niagara Falls to Buffalo. As for the color postcard, this particular one was printed in Dresden, Germany [see far left side where Grandma wrote the message] which was known prior to 1915 as producing the best color cards. After WW1 started cards weren't available from Germany and Kodak sold a camera from which the pictures could be made into postcards, but only in black and white. Bright colors on US made cards was made possible by 1930 with the development of new printing processes.

Items from Uible photo album