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Sunday, November 25, 2012

Clouds or Smog?

Are Those Clouds or Is It Smog? I can remember going up to Crystal Lake for a family day outing on a very hot summer day. When we were coming back down, we stopped at a viewpoint to see a panorama of the San Gabriel Valley. What we saw was a sea of grey with islands popping up here and there through the mist. We could even see Catalina Island from where we were on the mountain. This was in the 1960s.
Today’s post cards reminded me of this family outing. Both post cards share the same picture. As one looks at them, one’s eyes are first drawn to the rail lines cutting their path through the side of the mountain. Following the lines, one can see that there is a trolley car making its way up. It does not say so on the cards, but I am guessing that this is at, or near, horseshoe curve. AS one looks at the rest of the cards, one can see that there is a horizon, an island, so to speak, and something between the trolley car and the “island”. Those are clouds, according to the post cards. And they might well be. The top card has a caption at the bottom that reads: Mt. Lowe Ry., Above the Clouds. This card is from before March 1, 1907. The automobile and industry have not had enough time to wreak havoc on the atmosphere. Thy probably are clouds. This post card has a note on the back that states clearly that “THIS SIDE IS EXCLUSIVELY FOR THE ADDRESS.” It was published by M. Rieder in Los Angeles, even though it was printed in Germany. The post card number is also on the back: No. 135.
The bottom post card was also published by M. Rieder in Los Angeles. However, it is a couple years younger than the top post card. This card was mailed from San Bernardino at 5:00 AM on March 30, 1909. It went from there all the way to St. Paul, Minnesota. It was sent to a Miss Edna Good at 753 Cypress St. This is about 2 miles northeast of downtown and where the river takes a turn to head back south again. It is 3 blocks south of Phalen Boulevard and some train tracks. It is from the “divided back” era. The back isn’t very divided, though. There is only a thin rectangle on the left side of which one third is taken up telling you who printed the card, where it was printed (Germany), the number (no. 3146) of the card, and the fact that that little space can only be used to write the Name and Address of the sender “(NO OTHER WRITING)” That soon changed. The M. Rieder Company didn’t last very long (1901-1915). They printed and published view-cards of the West and of Native Americans. His cards were printed in Germany except those contracted out to Edward H. Mitchell in the United States. Both of these cards were printed in Germany.

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If you know anything about the history of the cards, the trains or the locations, please add them.