Friday, April 22, 2011

Vintage Postcards - Yellowstone

Back before Facebook and Twitter, and even before email, a nice way to send someone a short message, perhaps to share scenes from a place you were visiting, was with a postcard. I really enjoy the vintage cards.

A gentleman named Richard Saunders published a book (in 1997) called Glimpses of Wonderland. The book is about the Haynes postcards of Yellowstone National Park. To start to appreciate this, one has to love Yellowstone, history, photography, and the art that goes into printing fine cards. That would describe me to some extent, so in this post we are taking a look at some vintage postcards in my collection. The cards were published by Haynes Studios (Official photographers Yellowstone Nat'l Park, Wyo) back when domestic postage was 1 cent.  They were a set of 10, all in the same style, highlighting some of the scenic sights. I actually learned something new when putting this post together. A photograph whose edges shade off gradually is known as a vignette. Although Haynes published thousands of cards, he only had a few Vignette sets. The date of publication for these cards is right around 1920.

If you are new to Yellowstone, I hope these cards might make you want to visit the Park. It truly is deserving of its nickname, Wonderland.

Golden Gate Canyon 10079

Click on cards for slightly larger view

Great Fall and Pt. Lookout 10120

Cleopatra Terrace 10809

Grand Canyon from brink of Fall 10123

Old Faithful Geyser 10110

Grotto Geyser Formation 14029

Punch Bowl Spring 10097

Great Fall, 308 Ft. 10124

New Crater Geyser 10084

Electric Peak, 11,155 ft. 10081

Friday, April 15, 2011

Coaching YNP 1903 - Part II

In my last post we talked about a stagecoach full of tourists visiting Yellowstone in the early 1900s. Our historical perspective comes from a little booklet called Coaching Through Yellowstone. It's now in my collection of Yellowstone memorabilia but, from July 28th to August 3rd, 1903, it was used by a visitor to the Park as their guidebook and became a souvenir of their journey.

Click on pictures for larger view.

We previously covered some of the reasons that Yellowstone is called "Wonderland" --- the geysers, hot springs, and beautiful mountain scenery.

We saw how the tourists entered the Park in 1903 through the entrance known as the Roosevelt Arch. The first photo above shows a "stereograph" published by H C White in 1904 of a stage passing under the arch. Called "stereos" at the time, few people today know about them. When used with a special viewer they provide a 3D effect.

Continuing our tour:  We might have seen the passengers on the stage refer to the little fold-out map in the back for an overview of where they were in this large park. YNP covers an area of 3,468 square miles (8,980 km2).

The Falls. There are many beautiful water falls in the Park including the majestic Lower Falls of the Yellowstone River, as noted in the booklet, height 308 feet.  My photo shows the falls and the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone. The area is much the same today as it was in 1903.

The Wildflowers. To quote from the booklet, "The Flora of the Park is luxurious."

The Fishing ... The Yellowstone and Madison Rivers are world famous for their fishing opportunities. It seems reasonable to assume there was time on the tour to do some fishing, especially since a page in the booklet is devoted to it, and the tour lasted for seven days.

The Animals. "Yellowstone Park, as well as being a pleasure ground for the people, is a preserve for wild animals."

Just before the section on animals, the booklet had one last page on which the owner could write. Interestingly, we find penned there the words of Lord Byron's "Remembrance" - 1806:

’Tis done!—I saw it in my dreams;
No more with Hope the future beams;
My days of happiness are few:
Chill’d by misfortune’s wintry blast,
My dawn of life is overcast;
Love Hope, and Joy, alike adieu!
Would I could add Remembrance too!

Seems somewhat melancholy but the last two lines lead me to believe he/she loved the visit to Wonderland and hoped the memories would last for a long time.

As always, thanks for visiting John's Island. I sure appreciate all the encouraging comments!

Friday, April 8, 2011

Coaching Through Yellowstone

My post today is about Yellowstone National Park and includes photos from my visits, plus items from my collection. For years, I've been collecting old stuff related to YNP, especially if it has something to do with the railroads that served the Park in the first half of the last century.

Yellowstone Park is one of my favorite places. I've visited there many times, taken many pictures, and  now collect vintage memorabilia related to the Park. The old postcard above shows a group of tourist leaving the Northern Pacific Railroad station at Gardiner, Montana, aboard a stagecoach on their way into the park for a tour. They have just stepped off the train after what might have been a long journey from places all over the world. The photo below is a scan of a very old glass slide (commonly known as a lantern slide) showing a train at the depot in Gardiner.

If these tourists were entering the Park in the summer of 1903 they would have passed through the entrance arch dedicated by President Theodore Roosevelt in April of that year ... 108 years ago. (If you're into history a great article was written about the arch's history by Lee Whittlesey and Paul Schullery and can be found at the following link -- note: allow several seconds for the article to download -- it's worth the wait -- The Roosevelt Arch )

The close-up above shows the cornerstone. My photos in this post are from visits about 10 years ago and were taken with a medium format camera using FUJI color transparency film.

The tour in 1903 would have been guided, of course, and perhaps the stagecoach driver or tour guide would have handed each traveler a little booklet called "Coaching Through Yellowstone Park."

This little booklet is in my collection. Let's take a look inside.

Compliments of Yellowstone Park Transportation Company. A sketch of a soldier on horseback is followed by a brief introduction: "The Park is under the control of the Government. Fort Yellowstone, the name of the post, is located at Mammoth Hot Springs. The soldiers patrol the park daily and during the park season a summer encampment is maintained at the Lower Geyser Basin. Infractions of the superintendent's rules are severely punished."

Sounds like they were serious.

A further look into the booklet shows the distances to various points in the Park.

The sketches are neat. Of course, in 1903, automobiles were in production in the world, but there weren't many and none were allowed into the Park. The way to see Yellowstone was on the stage, on horseback, or walking. Yellowstone is located in the Rocky Mountain part of the United States, and in the early 1900s almost all tourists arrived via train and toured via stagecoach.

As the stage entered the Park it would pass through the "Golden Gate." 

There is a sketch of the Golden Gate showing a rider on horseback passing through. There is also some info on additional places to be visited. The big concrete road in my picture was just dirt in 1903. They say the dust was something to deal with.

Some of the sights they might have seen and why Yellowstone is called "Wonderland."

Heart Spring in the Upper Geyser Basin

Apparently, one of the traditions was to have everyone in your coach sign your booklet.

There are quite a few signatures in the book, so perhaps it included more than just one coach. I like the last signature on the page below ... Frank B. West, Columbus, O.  In the description of "Hotel Accomodations" it is noted: "The uniform rate at Park hotels for stay not exceeding seven days is $4.00 per day. After seven days $3.00 per day."

The scenery really hasn't changed that much since 1903.

The Madison River.

Steam escaping from an old geyser. The alignment of the clouds in the sky was coincidental and has nothing to do with the geyser. But I like the way it looks. The rocky substance that looks a bit like a volcano is called geyserite and is produced by steaming water and minerals coming out of the geyser.

Famous Old Faithful geyser in eruption.

The little booklet, like today's modern guide book, includes a "Geyser Table" showing the frequency of eruptions. Notice the sketch ... today visitors are not allowed to get nearly so close to the geysers.

The 1903 trip through the Park will conclude in the next post on John's Island. Hope you enjoyed this part and thank you for visiting!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Old and New

They say we should take time to "smell the roses" and I would suggest it's also interesting to watch the old turn into the new. That's what I was looking for with the camera a couple of days ago.

These new flowers don't have a nice smell but they sure have pretty blooms.

Take time to pause and enjoy the new. Have a great day and thanks for stopping by John's Island.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Promise of Blue

The last couple of months in Seattle have been very wet. Almost everyone is looking forward to our first day of clear blue skies. As I looked out my window on the world this morning the lights from the city were still strong enough to put a glow on the low clouds above but a big break in the clouds promised some of that elusive blue.


Robbery in Progress So tempting! [Click on images for larger view] Yummm! My neighbors recently hung a bird feeder in one of their trees. Th...