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Saturday, November 23, 2013

If He Only Knew

This post card is a picture of one of the steam engines pushing a passenger car up the cog railroad toward Pike’s Peak in Colorado. The title at the bottom of the card reads: “Shady Springs Colorado Ascending Pike’s Peak, on the Cog Road.” In searching for what the Shady Springs Colorado means, all I could find was a map of Douglas County that contained a historical site called “Lucas Dairy / Shady Springs Ranch”.
It is in the southeast sector of the map, so it is northeast of Pike’s Peak – but close, so to speak. It is in the next county south – El Paso. This is definitely NOT a scientific conclusion, but I suspect some line between the two. Maybe it is the name of the passenger coach being pushed up the mountain. If you look carefully at the top, middle of the post card you can see the Summit House, the destination of the passengers in the coach.

This post card was printed by the American News Company (ANC). On the back,
in the top left corner you can see the logo of the ANC. It was printed in Germany prior to World War I. The used a process that is reflected in the logo of the ANC. The banner over a 3-leafed clover says “Poly-Chrome”. Poly-Chrome describes a post card printed in continuous tone lithography. Its colors are bright and so flat that they almost resemble screen-prints. The poly-chrome process was almost exclusively used before 1907. Other European publishers also used the same process but without the Poly-Chrome name. Prefixed A (1903-1907). This card is numbered A6447.

Cards with the Poly-chrome name were also printed in the United States during the First World War, with an M prefix and white borders, but these lithographic cards have a grained texture. They were not always published by the American News Company. As you can see, this one was published by the Colorado News Company. This post card was published by the Colorado News Company. On the left edge you can see the number of the card and the words that tell us that it was published by the Colorado News Company. It was but one of many News Companies owned by the ANC. I have post cards from the Colorado News Company, the Oregon News Company, the St. Louis News Company, and the Union News Company. These are just a few of the affiliates of the ANC.

The postmark on the card confirms that it was printed between 1903 and 1907 because it was mailed on March 5, 1907. The back of the card still says that the back is for the address only, so I suspect it was earlier in this period rather than later. Just before March 1, 1907 the printers added a phrase telling the purchasers that after March 1st a message could be included on the back of the card. This one only has a short message on the front that reads, “My dear…. Hope you are feeling as well as I am….” Because this card was mailed after March 1, 1907 the writer could have put the address on the right side of the back of the card and actually expanded the message so he could elaborate about how well he was feeling! If he only knew.

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