This is my first cyanotype postcard. Cyanotype was an early system for photographs and blueprints.
Have you ever heard of Jefferson School in Racine? I wonder where it is.
Here it is! Jefferson Lighthouse School, 1722 W. 6th Street, Racine, Wis.
There’s Huber Drugs. I’d like to go in, sit at the counter, and have a soda mixed while I watch.
If I had to guess, I’d guess that “The Sandy Beach” is what we now call 17th Street Beach. It looks like it’s out a ways from the city, and there are only a few outbuildings at the top of the ridge.
The postcard is from Julia Svoboda to Mr. Frank Eral, 105 West 2nd Street, Jamestown, New York. Julia writes:
Racine, Wis. Nov. 15 
Dear Friend, Hope this will find you yet, though I have neglected to send it sooner. Trying to snow here today. I was in Chi[cago] two days and it is real cold down there. When are you coming back this direction? Come down for a dance this winter. Julia Svoboda.
The reverse of the Woman’s Club postcard reads: August 19th, 1938. Arrived in Racine back home again after 3500 [sic], [illegible] of fine vacation. All O.K. had a good time. Had fine weather and beautiful country coming west. Bro. Frank. Arrived home 7:45 Wed. [Addressed to] Mrs. Mary. W. Marshall, [Illegible]brook, P.A., Chester Co., Pa.
I’ve wanted this postcard since the first time I saw it, and now I finally have it! That pile of snow must be pretty frozen for her to be able to perch up there like that. I like his car coat and also the radiator cover so that the car can warm up more quickly in cold weather. If you zoom in, you can see there’s an M on the car’s hood ornament — could that stand for Mitchell Motor Cars, once built in Racine?
This postcard was probably made with a photo taken from the tower of the Courthouse which used to be on Memorial Square looking northeast across the gasworks near the Lake Michigan shore. This was probably not a nighttime shot — rather, most photos were hand-colored at the time, and sometimes they would color them in a way that made them look like they were taken at night.
From Gerald L. Karwowski’s book, Racine:
Built in the 1889s as a saloon, this picturesque landmark building at 231 Main Street was designed in the German style. In 1921, Barney Richter opened Hotel Badger in the building and years later added what was to become the famous Richter’s German restaurant on the lower floor. By 1957, the restaurant was known as Ivanhoe. In recent years, it was opened as a restaurant and bar and again called the Ivanhoe Pub and Eatery.
I think this may be one of my earliest postcards because of the way it references the Act of Congress which authorized it. I believe this would have been produced not long after the Act, so maybe 1898 to 1901 or so.
The picture on the front of the card is an odd shape, probably to leave room for people to write on the front. This seems to be an experiment before designers settled on having a full-coverage illustration on the front with writing space on the back.
More about “private mailing cards” here: http://www.metropostcard.com/card06privatemailing.html
I like this postcard a lot because it shows working boats that are still (apparently) mostly wood. I would have liked to watch them start up and chug out into the Lake early in the morning.
“View from West Sixth Street Bridge” seems to indicate that this view was near Island Park, a popular recreation area at the time.
Everything is bully and I’m very enthusiastic about school and work. The weather is just splendid and the lake is only 1/2 block away. Was at Matinee this P.M. So far it’s great. Love, from Jens.
Regards to all, Hils Bedstemor [Danish for “Hi to Grandmother”]
Can be seen from our window [Referring to Court House]
Had dinner at Johansons after church. Sermon splendid. Elsie & Esther.
I have enjoyed exploring the old Horlick factory grounds, both in person and by Google Maps: https://www.google.com/maps/place/42%C2%B044’20.8%22N+87%C2%B048’23.3%22Wfirstname.lastname@example.org,-87.8060557,1119m/data=!3m1!1e3!4m2!3m1!1s0x0:0x0 However, I’m not quite sure where this lagoon used to be. It certainly seems to be on the grounds of the factory, with a smaller, L-shaped building in the background, and within sight of the clock tower.
Here is another postcard, sent to friends, with the sender in his horse and buggy. This must have been a popular postcard theme leading up to WW1 in 1917. The sender looks prosperous and ready for a pleasant outing with friends. He does seem to be smoking a cigar, even under close magnification.
I had not heard of the Howell School before I got this postcard. A quick Google search showed that it had been the site of desegregation conflict in 1969. But this postcard is from 1908. So there must be more to the story.
Racine, Belle City of the Lakes, by Fanny S. Stone, has a little bit more of the story:
Plans were perfected in 1887 by Superintendent H. G. Winslow and the school board for the erection of a ward school building on advanced lines and in March, 1891, the idea met its fruition in the construction of the building in the southwestern part of the city, which was named the R. P. Howell School. This was the first really pretentious school building of Racine.
I was married here at St. Rita’s but I don’t know very much about it. I do know that as opposed to the Dominican sisters and St. Catherine’s, St. Rita’s was founded by the Augustinians.
Growing up, to me this was always the fancy house near the Open Pantry. I could easily walk or ride my bike from College Avenue up to this Open Pantry for snacks, and I would always pass by this house because it looked so interesting. This postcard calls it the Thronson’s Funeral home, which it was up until around 1948. In another strange connection, the man who built my house at 1405 College Avenue, Judge Gittins, was brought here for his funeral in 1929.
However, this was a private house before it was a funeral home, and the most famous person who lived here was Dr. Shoop, who made his fortune in his patent medicine business next to the State Street Bridge.
In a few pictures of the Horlick factory, you can see there is a small house or “mansion” in the front of the factory, near a pond for swans. This birds-eye view of the factory shows the Horlick house much more clearly. I can’t find a date on the postcard, but judging by the early cars, I would guess around 1910-1915.
A postcard showing my elementary school, Winslow School, in 1910. I really like the handwriting on the back of the card — maybe from a third grader? The doctor he is writing to, Dr. H. F. Mace, is easy to find with Google if you also put in the town, Walton, and the state, New York.
I didn’t know they used these kinds of boats for fishing from Racine.
From Russ Hoadley:
The so-called “coastal schooner” of the type in your postcard were ubiquitous for a time, mostly before steam, up through and even after the Civil War. They ranged from about 60-feet to perhaps 120-150-feet … and were favored for carrying “short-hop” cargo … up and down the eastern seaboard, up and down the Great Lakes, up and down the Pacific coast … They were relatively easy to handle with their “fore-and-aft” rig and their “split” sailplans (each mast had a main-sail and a top-sail). A relatively small crew could run them, perhaps 3-7 people, making them very labor-efficient for the day. And they were nimble and fast, easy to maneuver compared to the square-riggers. The “America” of racing fame was a coastal-style schooner.
The larger carriers (square-rigged brigantines, barkentines, etc) were generally used for larger and/or longer hauls and the “clippers” … those 200-foot-plus square-riggers that were sleek and fast, were generally saved for trans-world cargo hauls … the famous “down-easters” from New England sailing to the Orient, California, etc.
Karel Jonas statue while it was in North Beach Park. It is no longer there — I believe it was moved to Douglas Avenue. Confirmation: “On Flatiron Square. High st. Douglas & Milwaukee Ave.”
A great postcard of downtown Racine in 1938, looking northeast. From left to right, I see the gas works’ storage tank, the second Hotel Racine in the middle with an interesting radio antenna on top, and on the the right, the post office and St. Luke’s Episcopal Church.
Lincoln School, at 1800 State Street, is now condominiums (2014).
This postcard refers to 1012 S. Main Street as “The Masonic Club” but before that, it belonged to Henry S. Durand, who made his money in shipping, coal, lumber, and insurance and later lost it all in building a railroad, roughly the same time the house was built, in 1856. Info about later owners: “In 1899 the Racine City Directory shows the Mansion was occupied by the Otis Johnson Family. In 1906 Mr. Frederick Robinson, President of the JI Case Company, purchased the Mansion from the Otis Johnson Family. Mr. Robinson rejuvenated the Mansion in 1906 adding electric lights, gas, steam heat, stained glass doors, and windows. The floor plan remains exactly as originally built which keeps the original charm of years gone by.” http://racinemasoniccenter.com/about-us/
Here is a type of postcard which is new to me. It is a train arrival postcard with places for a user to indicate the date and time when a train arrived. Maybe this is to let your friends know that you arrived safely.
Memorial Hall, Racine, Wis., in a 1947 real photo postcard. When I think how many times I walked, biked, and drove past Memorial Hall, I can’t believe that I didn’t know the place names carved on its side: Santiago, Manila Bay, Chateau Thierry, Argonne. I have scanned these at 600 dpi, so you can zoom in and read most of the words.
Buppa John writes: I think it may be the backyard of 1016 Pearl St. In 1910 & 1920 there was an Elsie Rittman living at that address and the hill going down to the flats would have been right behind the house.
Luther College at W. Sixth St. and Kinzie Ave. According to “Racine: Growth and Change in a Wisconsin County,” Luther College was founded in 1902, on the hill above Island Park. The College was operated by the Danes, and was actually a high school. It closed in 1914. This view showing the river is rare, in my experience. You can see that this is another postcard by E. A. Bishop, one of Racine’s best recorders of Racine scenery around 1900-1920.
This postcard caught my eye because it was a view of DeKoven Foundation/Racine College that I hadn’t seen before. This is shot from the lake or east side of the complex and seems to be looking north. The wheel tracks in the grass and gravel are interesting, and there seems to be trees in what is now the main parking lot. The back of the postcard says it was printed by “Artvue Post Card Co., 225 Fifth Ave., New York, N. Y.”
The bridge in the lower right of this 1918 E. C. Kropp Company postcard showing the J. I. Case Company seems to be the 4th Street Bridge, near the D. P. Wigley building. I’m amazed at how many buildings there are, and how brand-new everything seems. Imagine working there and gradually learning every building.