Was anyone aware of climate change one hundred years ago? Was that term even used then? More than likely not… The local families (usually farmers) spoke of a harsh winter or damp spring. The Farmer’s Almanac might predict what was ahead with some luck.
Here are a group of photos all taken with a folding Kodak camera by Alfred Bowers Sr. They cover about a three-year period from 1917 to 1920. The general area is Ridge Road, west of Kodak Park to almost Stone Rd. Albert Jr. is in some of the shots, as is Mrs. Bowers. The photos are not identified by me, but all were noted on the original photos. Unfortunately, none of the buildings or old familiar landmarks that existed 100 years ago exist today. Get out your copy of our society’s publication, “Eight Miles Along the Shore” and casually peruse the pages.
Just a thought, how would we, somewhat pampered folk in the 21st century, deal with the winter of 1917-1918? The roads would not be plowed….no snow plows! A very few roads might have the snow rolled with a large wooden drum pulled by a team, which allowed travel by horse and sleigh much easier. Drifting was a problem because of the open farm fields. Imagine no street lights and just a few telephones. Early radio was not available to the public until a few years after World War I.
The rare owner of an automobile put it away until late spring. Public transportation was limited to the trolley service on the Lake Avenue line from the city to Charlotte. The Dewey Ave. line ended with a loop at Ridge Rd. You might hope that an Auto-bus would appear along Ridge Rd. from Parma headed to Kodak Park, if the snowfall was light. The Greece farmer was lucky if he had a team of horses hitched to his sleigh or the converted wheel wagon.
Neighbors watched out for each other and always were willing to help. The “family fruit cellar – larder” was always stocked with full canning jars from the fall harvest. The root vegetables were stored in the root cellar. The wood pile and coal bin were ready for winter before Thanksgiving. After Christmas, the Parlor was closed off. What little heat rising through the floor or a grate from the warm room below for the bed rooms came from the kitchen and a “parlor stove” in the sitting-dining room. No reading in bed…. too cold and poor light…….no late TV….or even a last look at Facebook or email.
Enjoy the winter photos from a long time past in rural Greece. Hopefully, you will be warm and snug. Should you feel a chill, heat up a cup of instant cocoa in the microwave and enjoy! Think of April… winter could be over then!
Greeting cards for the Christmas season were very slow to gather popularity in the United States prior to the Civil War ( 1861-1865). The first commercial Christmas card was introduced for the season of 1843 in London, England. It wasn’t a success for several reasons. In the early 1870s, a German immigrant by the name of Louis Prang opened a color print shop in a suburb of Boston, MA. Prang could turn out prints using twenty-some varied color plates to produce a stunning product not seen before in the United States. By the mid- I 880s other print shops started using the same process and the appeal of the holiday greeting card grew each year. In the earlier years, the subjects followed the English style of subjects: flowers, elegant ladies, children, animals, and birds of every description, all posed with a bower of varied blossoms. The Christmas greeting was often in a small, simple line near the top or bottom. The fringed, embossed, and beribboned era was the fashion, with larger print styles from 1886 into the 1890s. Santa had appeared and was mentioned before the Civil War, but seldom appeared until the last years of the 19th century. The Christmas tree would also make its appearance then, but the Poinsettia was unknown until about 1901.
The cards of that early period were relatively expensive, depending on the size and extra “added fluff”. It might seem odd that most holiday cards were not mailed but hand-carried to the recipient’s door with a calling card attached. Only the out-of-town card with an added note would be mailed to Uncle Bert and Aunt Minnie who had moved to Michigan or Cousin Bertha now living in Auburn, near her daughter, Theodora. The 20th century and the coming of the colored postcard and penny postage brought the steady growth of the entire greeting card industry into al most the present day. Cards with envelopes again became the norm just before 1920. We now have greeting cards of all types offered online via computer. But why rely on just online Greeting card companies’ offers when you can create your own greetings and send them via the computer using a combination of email, and/or social media services like Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Whatsapp, Instagram, YouTube, Linkedin, Pinterest, Tumblr or the next big social media service that comes along that allows you to Christmas or other types of messages that you want to share with your online “friends” around the world. From hand delivering your Christmas greeting cards to relatives, friends, and neighbors in the 19th century to electronic delivery in seconds (well, sometimes a bit longer) in the 21st…….to the “friends” you might never meet!
Here are some cool Pinterest ideas for digital Christmas cards and posts and other Holidays as well from PosterMyWall Pinterest PinBoard.
The postcard craze of the early 1900s embraced all the holidays. Two of the holidays, excluding Christmas and New Year’s, were the next largest, Halloween and Thanksgiving. For one cent, a colorful, often embossed card, the best printed in England or Germany, could be sent to any state. The average card costs less than twenty cents and the cheapest often three for a dime.
Both Halloween and Thanksgiving were celebrated as family holidays for adults and included the children. On the back of one of the cards shown is the following printed invitation: “Yourself and company are cordially invited to attend the Masquerade given by the LYRIC CLUB at Frankfort Temple – Thursday, Thanksgiving night – Nov. 24, 1910.” “Come and meet King Carnival!” “Mueller’s (no relation) popular orchestra.”‘
Just a few examples of the millions of cards produced over a period of a short span of twenty years are
here reproduced in “flat black”. The rise of greeting card companies, World War I, and other circumstances caused the surviving postcard companies to abandon holiday cards and concentrate on the ever-popular scenic view cards with the handwritten message… “Having a wonderful time, wish you were here”……