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Tuesday, September 23, 2014

110 Years Old Today

Today would have been my sister, Kathy's 60th birthday. She died last year. I would like to dedicate this special posting to her. Kathy: to your memory!!

This post is beginning with the back of the card – an unusual turn of events, I know!! But, this post card was mailed 110 years ago today, on September 23, 1904.

The post card itself is quite interesting. It was printed prior to March 1, 1907 so the address can only go on one side, while the picture and message go on the other side. It was published by the National Art Views Company out of New York City, New York. When I went onto the Metropolitan Postcard website to see what I could learn about this publisher,
I saw another card exactly like this one as the example they posted. I knew I had found the right publisher. Here is the information they had about the company: “An important early publisher of view-cards. There earliest cards were printed as tinted halftones and they sometimes had unusual decorative borders. Even though short lived they went on to publish a large number of more finely printed view-cards as in sepia and black & white, collotypes, some with hand coloring. These cards were printed in Germany. Purchased by the Rotograph Company in 1904 who reproduced most of their images under the Rotograph name.”

The hand-written message on this post card says, “This would be a fine place to jump off. Don’t you think?” Because it does not say who sent it I am hoping this is just a bad joke; not an invitation or a warning. It was sent from Columbus City, Indiana to Lancaster, Ohio – both a far distance from Philadelphia. It was posted at 8 PM in the evening and it was received at Lancaster by 3:30 PM the next afternoon (a distance of 235 miles).

The picture on the front of the card is of a street going through a tunnel while a train goes over the rock on the way to a bridge over the river. Here is what I have learned about The Tunnel, River Drive, Fairmount Park, Philadelphia, Pa. That is the Schuylkill River.
Public space was at the core of Philadelphia’s original city plan as envisioned by William Penn and Chief Surveyor Thomas Holme in their Portraiture of the City of Philadelphia in the Province of Pennsylvania in America, published in 1683. According to Holme, the intent of the original five squares: Rittenhouse (SW), Logan (NW), Franklin (NE), Washington (SE) and Penn (Center), were to be shared, common spaces. Essentially, these spaces were planned as part of Penn’s “Greene Countrie Towne,” the new type of city the founder envisioned which would include public open space. In practice, however, Penn’s vision for the original squares, representing a new type of urban open space plan, albeit on a small scale, would not be implemented for over a century. Instead, these spaces were used as grazing grounds for cattle, trash dumps, burial grounds and for public hangings.

Bankruptcy and the quest for clean water were the two driving forces behind the creation of Fairmount Park. When Robert Morris, financier of the Revolutionary War, went bankrupt, his country farm and gardens were purchased by another businessman who created such lovely gardens, he charged admission. The property changed hands again only to suffer from yet another economic downturn.
In 1843, a shrewd city councilman pressed to purchase the property which was situated above the municipal water works. By purchasing the property and designating it as parkland, the city was able to end the industrial contamination of the river that had occurred downstream.
Over the next century, the city acquired additional lands and recruited landscape architects to develop a plan that would preserve the park’s natural features but maximize public accessibility and emphasize its lovely vistas.

Today, with more than 9,200 acres of rolling hills, gentle trails, relaxing waterfront and shaded woodlands, Fairmount Park keeps a wealth of natural landscapes within easy reach of all city residents.
You can take a stroll, head out for an afternoon of softball, organized frisbee or pier-side fishing, or just settle in for a family picnic. There are miles of trails for horseback riding, off-road cycling and deep-woods hiking, yet there are also tours of historic mansions, Japanese tea ceremonies and outdoor concerts. Three environmental centers, as well as a wildlife refuge treatment center, help bring the natural world to life for adults as well as children.
A Victorian-style trolley offers tours of the Colonial-era mansions that dot the landscape. Two outdoor concert venues feature some of the tops names in music. The world-famous Philadelphia Museum of Art sits at the headway of the Park and overlooks the row of Victorian-era boathouses that have become architectural landmarks.

I did some research as best as I could and came up with those railroad tracks belonging to the Pennsylvania Railroad when the picture was taken. However they originally belonged to the Camden & Amboy Railroad.
On February 1, 1867, the Camden &Amboy and the New Jersey RR were informally joined as the United New Jersey Railroad and Canal Companies (UNJ). The Pennsylvania Railroad approved a lease of the UNJ on May 15, 1871, and the UNJ approved May 19. On May 18, 1872 the C&A, D&R Canal and NJRR were consolidated, forming the United New Jersey Railroad and Canal Company. The new company was split into two divisions: the New York Division consisted of the NJRR and the C&A Trenton Branch towards Philadelphia, while the Amboy Division was the original C&A main line.

Today the line belongs to CSX

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