Saturday, March 17, 2018

Asheville, North Carolina, and more

I have some fun vintage photos for you today - one with an easy I.D., the others a mystery. But perhaps not to you!

We'll start with this view of downtown Asheville, in western North Carolina. This slide was undated, but could be from the late 1940's. Maybe you car experts can see if any appear to be from the 50's? 

That's Pack Square right in front of us, with an obelisk monument in honor of Zebulon Baird Vance (Governor of North Carolina, as well as a Senator); the art deco building in the center of the photo is Asheville City Hall, built in 1926. The taller building to our left is the Buncombe County Courthouse, which was originally supposed to be a twin of City Hall, but... no such luck. Also notable is the smaller white structure, "Hayes & Hopson Auto Supplies". It was in danger of being razed a few years ago, but is now the trendy "Pack's Tavern".

I found this relatively recent photo on the Interwebs. Look at all those trees! At first I thought that perhaps most of the surrounding buildings had been torn down in the intervening 60+ years, but it seems that the photographer for the vintage image used a long lens that compressed the scenery considerably. For instance, the obelisk and those buildings to the right in the old photo are still with us. Asheville looks like a lovely town.

Next is this undated (but certainly 1950's) photo of an elementary school; there's no indication of where this is. But I think that it is in Key West, Florida. Note the sign for U.S. Route 1, which passes through Key West (though the route is almost 4000 miles long, so.... yeah). 

We can see a legible street sign on the corner for "White Street". There is a White Street in Key West, near (but not on) Route 1. I originally thought that the school might be "Glynn R. Archer School" (which is on White Street in Key West - it's now the City Hall), but it doesn't really look the same as the one in this photo - even older photos don't match. If anybody has a clue, chime in!

How about another Mystery Town? Granted there is not much to go on. To me it looks like Massachusetts, but it could be in any number of States in the northeast. Does the red and white license plate help? The street sign on the corner says "Jackson"; it might as well say "Maple Street". I'm wondering if the stately white home is a famous landmark, or if this is just one of those "Why?" photos that are so common in large boxes of slides.

Happy Saturday!


Nanook said...


You're not kidding about Asheville looking like a swell city. The courthouse and city hall are really lovely buildings. The picture is most-likely from the 1950's, as the copper-colored car appears to be a 1950 Ford. (The image isn't quite sharp enough for more positive ID-ing). I'm a bit curious about the 'Jaycee Water Follies'... "Clowns * ? * Girls * Beauty Contestants*...

The green car in the "White Street" image is a 1946-1948 model year Chrysler - with the new "Harmonica" Grille-! So, the image could still be from the late '40's - but obviously later, too - especially when examining that street light.

And in the final "Jackson" image, that's a 1952 or 1953 Ford heading-away from us, looking as if it's going to sideswipe a 1955 light green Ford, heading our way.

Thanks, Major.


The third picture is a structure I know well from a model project many many years ago! It’s Abraham Lincoln's home in Springfield Illinois!!

Pegleg Pete said...

The second photo is indeed Key West where White Street does cross Route 1 (named Truman Street at that point) and the building in the second photo is still there on the southeast corner as can be seen on Google Street View. According to the internet this was the former Truman Elementary School and now houses Monroe County government offices as the Harvey Government Center. The school was apparently built in 1915 and was known originally as the Division Street Grammar School. At some point (perhaps around the time this photograph was taken) it was renamed in honour of President Truman. The last class graduated from the school in 1982.

Chuck said...

The third photo jumped out at me even before I read the comments (it's OK - I was able to get it back behind the computer screen again for everyone else to enjoy). That is, indeed, Lincoln's Springfield home, the only house he ever owned.

We are looking west at the corner of Jackson and 8th Streets. The streets have since been covered with gravel and closed to vehicular traffic to return the neighborhood to its approximate appearance in 1860.

Here's a 360° Google Street View of the same intersection today.

If you are ever passing through the Flyover States, Springfield is well worth a stop for a day or more. Aside from the Lincoln Home National Historic Site, you can visit the Old State Capitol, where Lincoln served in the State Legislature; the Lincoln-Herndon Law Office, where he practiced law; Lincoln's Tomb in Oak Ridge Cemetery; and a reconstruction of the village of New Salem, where Lincoln lived as a young man.

I'd be remiss if I didn't mention the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum. Designed by former Imagineer Bob Rogers and his company, it contains state-of-the-art exhibits that entertain as well as educate. That alone is worth a trip to Springfield.

Aside from the Lincoln sites, Springfield is also home to the superb Illinois State Museum and the State Capitol. And then there's the whole connection to US 66, which ran just one block east of Lincoln's home.

Each April, the Abraham Lincoln Council of the Boy Scouts of America hosts a weekend-long "Lincoln Pilgrimage," allowing Scouts from all over the country to "walk in the footsteps of Lincoln" throughout the Springfield area, culminating in a ceremony at Lincoln's Tomb and a parade to the Old State Capitol on Sunday morning. Our troop has participated several times over the past few years, with a few hearty boys and adults making the 20-mile Lincoln Trail hike from New Salem to Springfield.

And a hearty "good morning" to you all from the "Land of Lincoln!"

Patrick Devlin said...

I am, as ever, in awe of the photo spotting abilities of the gorillas around here: truly impressive. When I read the Major's captions and looked at the photos I was pessimistic, but I really ought to know better after all these years. Bravo!

Major Pepperidge said...

Nanook, I often look at these vintage slides of cities in places that I have never visited (like Asheville) and wish I had the time/money to just GO. Thanks for the IDs on the cars - it’s frustrating when a slide isn’t dated, but if there are cars, it’s a big help - if somebody knows something about cars, that is.

Mike Cozart, COOL!

Pegleg Pete, man, you are good. I was certainly close, not sure why I couldn’t somehow make that last leap. The building looks pretty different now! President Tru-man… I have heard of this earthling. Thanks for the info!

Chuck, you and Mike are on fire. So, Illinois, that is in Massachusetts, right? ;-) Very cool that the house in question really IS a historic landmark. So strange to see it in the 360 view with the gravel roadway - the newer view feels older than my 1950-ish view. Believe me, I wish I could spend all kinds of time exploring the midwest - I am an Illinois native (born in Evanston), and had relatives in Wisconsin and Chicago (among other places), but people have moved, or died, and it just isn’t so easy to spontaneously fly wherever I want. When you mentioned the “Lincoln Pilgramage”, I couldn’t help imagining all of the Scouts with fake Lincoln beards. How do we make that happen?! A 20 mile hike, hmmmm. Did a 10 mile hike two weeks ago, and my feet were pretty sore! Maybe I need better shoes. Thanks for the fun comment!

Patrick Devlin, it is a rare occasion when a GDB reader can’t ID a mystery photo - to the point that I’ve become lazy (LAZIER) and just think, “Eh, one of those guys will figure it out!”.

Melissa said...

So there's a Disney connection after all!

Melissa said...

Without a subscription I couldn't get a lot of information about the Jaycee Water Follies. I did find this one review that was on a page of the Asheville Citizen-Times from Asheville, North Carolina, on July 20, 1950. I don't think it's the same year as our shot, because it looks like the Follies opened on 7/23 in the Major’s pic, but the Citizen-Times only has 1950 info available.



Wednesday, July 19th Thru Sunday, July 23rd. 8:15 Evenings Except Sunday Mat. Sat. & Sun. 3:15

A standing room only crowd of approximately 1,200 persons witnessed the opening performance of the 1950 Jaycee Water Follies at the City Recreation Park pool last night. Although many of the same participants used last year appeared in the cast, the entire production was exceptionally well staged and moved at top speed for almost two hours without a break in the continuity. Comedy acts, water ballet acts and outstanding swimming and diving were equally spaced throughout the entire show, holding the audience first in silence during a very difficult dive finishing up with a side splitting bit of clowning. The water ballet numbers especially were much more finished and better timed than last season.

The Aquanymphs, under direction of Mrs. Nancy Lees staged three beautiful numbers and then Mrs. Lees joined with Zona Williams, her star pupil, to swim a duet. All of the ballet numbers were performed to music played over a public address system.

Jack Mitchell and Whitlock Lees Jr, rivaled the professional work of Fritz Turner and Rabbit Daniels in their comedy routines. Mitchell and Lees stuck to swimming, while Turner and Daniels went on the high board to collect their laughs. Ned Pollock was also outstanding in his role of the “Red Herring.”

Ronnie Trumble and John Clemens drew resounding cheers with their championship work on the high board. Trumble, former Big Ten collegiate diving champion, found a real rival in Clemens, member of the University of South Carolina swimming team, who executed practically all of the high board dives called for in championship meets.
Fritz Turner and Rabbit .Daniels kept the crowd roaring with their stunt diving from the high board. Turner climaxed the show with a dare-devil dive into water covered with burning gasoline.
Lifeguards at the pool also played an important part in the show, taking several of the comedy roles and also entering the swimming competition.

An added feature of the show was a beauty contest with twelve girls entered by civic clubs of Asheville, Hendersonville, and Oakley. This contest will continue throughout the five days of the show, with the final selection being made on Sunday afternoon. Another performance will be presented at 8:15 o'clock this evening”


P.S. the whole page was scanned as one image, so I had to go in and pick out the columns of OCR that belong together. This was easy in some places, but hilariously more difficult when I couldn't tell what was the “Aquanymphs’” routine and what was a description of a pretty rough-and-tumble baseball game.

P.P.S. Still no clue about the unclear word on the banner.

P.P.P.S. Near the bottom of the page: “RALEIGH. July 19. WV-The class D Tobacco State League has taken over the franchise of the Smith JAYCEE WATER FOLLIES Wednesday, July 19th Thru Sunday, July 23rd 8:15 Evenings Except Sunday Mat Sat. & Son. 3:15” OK, everybody smoking that Class D tobacco is going to need some Smith Brothers Cough Drops, so I guess we're all set. We put the “sin” back in “synergy!”

P.P.P.P.S. there's also an Esther Williams/Van Johnson movie at the drive-in that night! Just in case you didn't get quite enough synchronized swimming at the Water Follies!

Nanook said...

Oh, Melissa-!

You really turned-up some wonder-copy from that period, which still sounds as if it could be from a pre-war newspaper. 'Rabbit Daniels' - what a great name. It's almost as great as the ice performers from the Westwood Tropical Ice Gardens: "Fernanda the Cow" & "Katinka". We've lost so much over time...

Thanks for your leg work.

Melissa said...

Rabbit Daniels should totally have broken the gender barrier and become the Disneyland Submarine Lagoon's first Mer-man.

Zebulon Vance,
Zebulon Vance,
Never Baird his knees,
'Cause he wore long pants.

Major Pepperidge said...

Melissa, now I see it; Walt Disney also lived in a house!

Melissa II, once again, the GDB readers have made me feel like I didn’t do my homework…! Amazing. I love the blow-by-blow (so to speak) descriptions of all the acts. Who knew that so many different routines could be performed in a water? Even if the article is from a different year, this still gives a fairly vivid idea of what folks would have experienced. Thank you!

Nanook, not much could be better than “Frenanda the Cow”, let’s be honest. However, those Jaycees really outdid themselves.

Melissa, I wonder if there is anybody alive with the name “Zebulon” these days.

Anonymous said...

Reading this thread is amazing.

Thank you everyone.