One Postcard Saturdays: Goffstown, NH

While I was reorganizing and sorting through some of my postcards, recently, I came upon this one of interest titled “Camp On Top of the Uncanvonuc Mountain, Goffstown, NH”. I thought that it would be nice to share it as a One Postcard Saturdays feature.

This postcard was published by Blaisdell & Co., Goffstown, NH and it was sent to Aunt Etta (Henrietta James Hooper) in North Attleboro, Mass., from “Sister Sue”. It was postmarked from Goffstown, on Sept. 13, 1928. I believe the sender to be Etta’s sister-in-law Susan (Henrich) James wife of Etta’s brother George L.P. James.

The handwritten message reads: “Hello Sis, Up here in N.H. since Sat. Lovely up here, expect to go up this mountain before we go home. We are right on the edge of the lake about four miles from main road. Hope you are well. Lovingly, Sis Sue”

According to the Goffstown website (accessed 16 Oct 2021), the town was incorporated in 1761 and is named for Colonel John Goffe. He was an early settler, a soldier and a civic leader. Goffstown began as a farming community and is located in Hillsborough County, New Hampshire.

The village of Grasmere, located on the north bank of the Piscataquog River was the first area settled and was the seat of town government for more than 100 years. Due to the availability of water power, local industry developed around the falls on the Piscataquog River forming the village of Goffstown. There is quite a bit of history to be found of this town online if you wish to learn more and there are easily searchable websites with some valuable genealogy information if your ancestors lived in this area.

There are actually two mountains located in Goffstown, North and South Uncanoonuc Mountains (corrected spelling from what appeared on the face of the postcard). These mountains are located in the far southwestern section of the town. The following elevations listed for each mountain are according to the trails NH website (accessed 16 Oct 2021). The North Uncanoonuc Mountain has an elevation of 1316′ and the South Uncanoonuc Mountain has a 1296′ elevation. There are hiking trails in the area that can be researched online, if interested.

The pictured image on the postcard brings admiration of days gone by–horse and wagon days. Those two well-dressed men pictured must have faced some challenges as they camped on that mountain.

Until next time…

Note: If you would like to learn more about a certain surname that I have written about in previous blogs, such as Henrich, James or Hooper, you may go to my Home Page and there you will see various surname tabs. If you click on a specific tab, you will find some of the postings connected with that surname.


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One Postcard Saturdays: Old Orchard Beach, Hotel Velvet

A pleasant ring is brought to my ears whenever I hear the mention of Old Orchard Beach, located on the southern coast of Maine. An abundance of fond memories come forth in my mind–from vacation stopovers of childhood days to a penny-pinching camping trip with my own children.

This blog posting will be a short focus on the Hotel Velvet as displayed in my featured postcard with the addition of some background history on Old Orchard Beach (OOB).

The Hotel Velvet was destroyed in a fire on August 15th, 1907. According to the handwritten message on the postcard, this hotel was the largest of 77 buildings that were burned to the sand on that Thursday evening. “We saw the ruins still burning Fri. afternoon” said the message on the card.

The Hotel Velvet was originally known as Hotel Emerson. The hotel opened on July 1, 1899 and was located at the corner of East Grand Avenue and Old Orchard Street.

The hotel was owned by H. Hildreth, who was a candy maker known for making Molasses “velvet” kisses. The candy was wrapped in red and yellow paper and packaged into yellow boxes; the hotel had been painted yellow and red to match.

The area of Old Orchard Beach, is located at the mouth of the Saco and Goosefare rivers and this region was inhabited by some of the Abenaki tribe prior to the settlement of European occupants. Thomas Rogers officially settled this area in 1657.

The postcard was postmarked August 17, 1907. The card contains a handwritten message but is not addressed to anyone, nor is it signed. This card was published by The Hugh C. Leighton Co., Manufacturers, Portland, ME (1904-1909), U.S.A.; printed in Frankfort, Germany; card number 4854.

The Old Orchard Beach area has long been known as a tourist destination. The rail service began in 1842 running from Boston to Portland.

The well-known pier opened in July of 1898, it included a casino at the very end, a structure of 1825 feet, built by the Berlin Iron Bridge Company. It was partially damaged by a storm in late fall of 1898. The Casino was rebuilt in 1899 but the entrance was destroyed during the same fire that destroyed the Hotel Velvet in 1907. Again, rebuilding repairs were made in 1908 but much was lost to the great storm of March 1909. Afterward, the casino was reduced down to 1000 feet in length

During the 1940s, this area was very popular with my parents. I think it was my mom’s very favorite place and she spoke fondly of it, very often, over the years. The Casino Ballroom, on that pier, was known to hold as many as 5,000 people. It hosted moving picture shows and live entertainment.

There have been several storms over the years to affect the Pier. The casino was razed in 1970 and the blizzard of 1978 destroyed the remaining portion of that pier.

The current-day pier re-opened in 1980, containing shops and restaurants. It is 500 feet in length over the ocean.

As mentioned above, my mom spoke often of the enjoyment she experienced at OOB during its “heyday”. If all goes well, I will have some new blog posts very soon beginning with an introductory posting that will include some pictures of my mom and her friends when they visited OOB during the mid-1940s. My dad was in the military at the time and I have one of those fold-out souvenir cards from OOB that my mom had addressed to my dad in the service.

My plan is to feature that fold-out card in a blog piece. That first story shall lead into a short series of postings focused on my dad’s military service group and some details about their reunions held during the 1980s and 1990s. To date, I have already put in a good deal of time working on that project but I am not sure when I will be completely ready to roll it all out.

In the meantime, I may try to churn out a couple of shorter writings, such as these “One Postcard Saturdays”.

Until next time…

Sources-Websites

gotravelmaine.com/history-of-old-orchard-beach-pier/; accessed 29 May 2021.

mainememory.net/artifact/51263 and 51278; accessed 29 May 2021.

metropostcard.com/publishers.html; accessed 03 July 2021.

oldorchardbeachhistory.com; accessed 29 May 2021.

One Postcard Saturdays: Hotel Gerald

Hotel Gerald, Main Street, Fairfield, Maine

Businessman and longtime resident of Fairfield, Maine, Amos F. Gerald (1841-1913) was an investor in electric trolley systems, industrial mills and amusement parks. From 1899 to 1900 he built a Renaissance Revival-style hotel that was designed by architect William R. Miller.

Located at 151 Main Street, in Fairfield, Maine, the Gerald Hotel operated for 35 years with storefronts being on the ground level, including Lawrie Furniture that was in operation until 1963.

The Gerald building still exists but the original rooftop pavilion and dome pieces were removed in the mid-20th century. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2013. There are no longer any buildings on either side of it and the three prominent buildings, across the street,  still exist with slight changes from the originals shown in the postcard.

Fairfield, Maine, Main Street showing Hotel Gerald

In 2013, the old Gerald Hotel building saw its first tenant in 76 years, providing affordable senior housing and is now known as Gerald Senior Residence. The building had undergone $6.5 million in renovations.

The town of Fairfield was incorporated in 1788 and currently covers nearly 55 square miles.

Miss Sarah Potter, St. John’s Church

My featured postcard was postmarked in 1905 from Stark, Maine and was sent to Miss Sarah Potter, 271 North Main Street, in Providence, Rhode Island. This address is the location of the Cathedral of St. John, Episcopal Church. It was known as St. John’s Church at the time of this postcard.

The parish was organized in 1722 as King’s Church and was renamed St. John’s Church in 1794. The original building was wooden. In 1810, work began on the Cathedral. In 1929, St. John’s Church became the Cathedral of St. John.

I believe the receiver of this postcard, Sarah Potter, was a friend of Aunt Etta’s, not a family member. In case you are new to my blog, Aunt Etta’s full name was Henrietta Jane (James) Hooper. I am uncertain about her personal history involving St. John’s Church; however, I have other postcards that were addressed to Sarah and also cards that were addressed to Aunt Etta at this location in care of the church. I don’t know if Etta had worked there for a while or if there was a residence there where she lived (and perhaps met Sarah in the process). It is still an unsolved mystery, at this time, and research for another day.

Postcard Publisher Leighton

This postcard was published by the Hugh C. Leighton Co., Manufacturers (1904-1909), Portland, Maine and was printed in Frankfort, Germany; No. 4523. They printed and published national view-cards, most were tinted halftones and numbered. Also, most were manufactured in Frankfort, Germany although some were printed in their US location. This publisher merged with Valentine & Sons in 1909.

Until next time…

Reference Sources

Websites:

Centralmaine.com; article dated Nov 16, 2013; Accessed 30 May 2020.

En.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gerald_Hotel; Accessed 30 May 2020.

Episcopalri.org/about/the-cathedral-of-st-john; Accessed 30 May 2020.

Fairfieldme.com/town/pages/history; Accessed 30 May 2020.

Metropostcard.com; Accessed 30 May 2020.

 

 

 

 

 

One Postcard Saturdays! Hurricane Of 1938 – New London

Growing up in Rhode Island, I heard various pointed comments, from various family members, about the ’38 Hurricane on a semi-regular basis. What I learned along the way instilled in me a great respect for the power of that Atlantic Ocean–a force not to be taken lightly.

Recently, while looking through some of my grandmother’s old pictures, I came across a set of postcards focused on the Great New England Hurricane of 1938. They each show a different black and white photo from the Int. News Service and were printed by Tichnor Bros. Inc., of Boston, Mass.

Today, I have chosen to show one of the cards from this set for my new Serial posting “One Postcard Saturdays”.

This hurricane hit the coasts of Long Island, New York and Southern Connecticut just over eighty years ago, on the 21st of September, in 1938; it caused destruction throughout the rest of coastal New England, as well.  At the time the storm hit, my mom was staying at the Springfield Fair (now called the Big E), in Massachusetts; having gone up to the fair with her 4-H group, they were staying in dorm-style units. My mom would have been 18 years old at the time.

There were close family friends, and although not actually related, we called them Aunt Jean and Uncle Bill (Carpenter)–my middle name of Jean was named after her. They lost their original summer home during the hurricane; it had been located at Sand Hill Cove, Narragansett, RI. My mom often spoke with fond memories of childhood time spent at their cottage (prior to the storm). I heard stories of how bad the damage was in that area and how homes were swept off their foundations–only very few survived. Some time later, the couple built a new ranch-style cottage at Anawan Cliffs, in Narragansett, where I can remember visiting on several occasions.

My parents bought a small piece of land in the Charlestown Beach area, about one mile from the ocean, in the late 1940’s. They built a small two-room cottage by hand with help from my grandfather and other family members. They always said they purposely picked land far enough from the ocean in hopes to keep it safe should another hurricane hit that coastal area. It always made me wonder why there has been so much re-building on the beach since such devastation was caused by the ’38 Hurricane–it is a high risk decision for sure.

My mom often spoke about storm surge and tidal waves that come along with hurricanes and she told how the tidal wave from the ’38 Hurricane was said to be about 50 feet, which would seem unbelievable. However, when I did a little research for this blog posting, I did indeed see a fact listed on the National Weather Service website that showed the peak wave height for this hurricane was recorded at 50 feet, occurring at Gloucester, Mass.

Some additional facts listed on the National Weather Service site include:

  • The maximum recorded sustained wind was 121 mph at Blue Hill Observatory, in Mass.
  • The maximum recorded wind gust was 186 mph at the same location.
  • The storm surge peaked at 17 feet above normal high tide.
  • There were 700 Deaths
  • The storm left approximately 63,000 people homeless with approximately 8900 homes or buildings destroyed.
  • There were approximately 3300 boats lost or destroyed.
  • The economic cost was estimated at $620 million in 1938 dollars.
  • The hurricane made landfall near Bellport, NY as a Category 3.
  • There was a second landfall made in Connecticut between Bridgeport and New Haven, also as a Category 3.
  • New London, Conn., saw a record storm tide of 10.58′ MLLW (Mean Lower Low Water)
  • Bridges, utilities and railroads were wiped out and there was catastrophic damage to fishing fleets.

My featured postcard today shows a picture of many shattered boats and wreckage at New London, Connecticut.

This card is unused, so there is no postmark and no message. However, there is printed information, from the publisher, on the reverse side of the card, as follows:

September 21, 1938, will long be remembered as
the date of the Big Hurricane which swept New
England–in all history something never before
known to this part of the country.
The loss of lives was appalling; property damage
mounted to hundreds of millions of dollars and
the homeless counted to hundreds of thousands.
The tremendous fury of the wind left behind
destruction, destitution and utter ruin.

In the coming weeks, I may share a few more of the postcards from this ’38 Hurricane set and I also have some newspaper clippings tucked away that may lead to a longer piece–at some point.

Until next time…