BRIDGES: Beaver Creek Bridge in South Dakota

Today we're in South Dakota. I have actually been on this bridge, which is not something I can claim about the three previous bridges.

Click on either image to see them larger.

I quite enjoyed the Black Hills of South Dakota. It's beautiful and the ride through Custer State Park is an adventure when you go through some of the tunnels. I watched a tour bus come through a particularly narrow tunnel. The driver first got out on the other side, pushed in his mirrors, then started inching through the tunnel. I was standing with a group of people and we all stared in disbelief that he was attempting this. When the bus finally got through we all waved at the driver and passengers and they waved back at us. Later on down the road I was able to talk to the driver who told me he did this every week, multiple times, and had never hit the side. I told him, "You're a better man than me Gunga Din."

And now a little historical perspective about the bridge.
The Beaver Creek Bridge spans one of two perennial streams that flow into Wind Cave National Park. It is a deck arch bridge built of concrete and steel. It is 225 feet (69m) long and sits 115 feet (35m) above the canyon floor. The purpose of constructing the bridge in 1929 was to provide travelers a more suitable access to the newly developing Custer State Park to the north of Wind Cave National Park.
One of the significant accomplishments of the builders of the bridge was to create the illusion that the concrete arches rise naturally from the rock walls on opposite sides of the canyon. The nature of this bridge makes it historically significant. It is the only bridge of its particular arch type in the State of South Dakota. It is also only one of three "most significant bridges" in the Rocky Mountain region of the National Park System. Construction of this bridge was made possible through the efforts of Peter Norbeck, U.S. Senator from South Dakota. Senator Norbeck was also involved with the development of Custer State Park and scenic highways within the Black Hills. (SOURCE: National Park Service)
To see previous posts about bridges click on "bridge" in the labels below.


BRIDGES: Railroad Bridge to Quaker Oats Company

This bridge in Cedar Rapids, Iowa apparently dates back to 1898. That's the only information I have. When I looked at the card I'll admit I was wondering what the bridge was used for. I thought it might be for cars, but trains seemed more logical.

Click on either image to see them larger.

Here is a shot of the bridge today taken by PolarisFinder.

I love old railroad bridges. They look quiet, almost waiting for the rumble to start down the tracks. A bridge that only comes alive every once in awhile. The rest of the time it's just a quiet structure. Can't you just hear it? The slow rumble as it approaches the bridge from either side, especially in darkness, headlight shining through the beams and cutting through the river in jagged shapes.

To see more bridges click on "bridge" in the labels below.


BRIDGES: Across the East River to Manhattan

So do you think our intrepid travelers from yesterday would have made it as far as the Brooklyn Bridge? This photo was probably taken sometime between 1918 and 1925 when the American Art Publishing Company existed. Finkelstein & Son created the card.

Click on either image to see them larger.

So which of the two Finkelstein's, father or son, had the propensity to climb things? Which one was not afraid of heights? Being that I cannot find any historical information about either of them, I guess we’ll never know.

Here's another view of the bridge by the Finkelstein's. This night view is also featured on page 85 in the book Postcards of the Night by John A. Jakle.

Another bridge tomorrow. 


BRIDGES: Across the Gila River at the Gillespie Dam

What is it about bridges? There's something wonderful about them no matter the size.

I can remember crossing a tiny bridge in England that had a toll keeper. The problem was that the bridge was so small the backend of the car was almost still on the other side when the front was almost off the bridge. I still wonder if the guy built the bridge himself and was just pulling a fast one.

Then there's the Golden Gate bridge. A stunning bridge with magnificent views. However, more than once as I've crossed it I've suddenly had the passing thought of, "Oh geez, what if the big one hits right now?" You can't live in California without occasionally wondering if the next moment is IT. I hope to not be on any of the bridges when it happens.

Click on either image to see them larger.

This bridge in Arizona has an interesting history. The post card is from the 1920s. The following is from a marker placed at the dam.
In 1909, Arizona's Territorial Legislature created the Office of the Territorial Engineer to develop a system of roads connecting Arizona's major cities and towns and improve the delivery of the US Mail. The automobile was steadily gaining in popularity and rutted, dirt wagon roads were no longer suitable for this new means of transportation. Shortly after Arizona Statehood in 1912, the State Engineer surveyed a major East-West transportation route across Southern Arizona between the towns of Clifton and Yuma. This early highway route followed the Gila River west from Phoenix, turning south near the small town of Arlington where the Hassayampa River and Gila River meet. The original highway route then turned westerly through the then popular hot spring resort town of Agua Caliente and forded the Gila River near the town of Dome until 1915, when a bridged crossing was constructed further upstream at Antelope Hill. This highway route, however, proved to be unreliable due to frequent washouts during heavy rains and flooding.

In 1921, the highway route was realigned to ford the Gila River just below the newly constructed Gillespie Dam. Heading south toward Gila Bend, the new route was known as the Phoenix-Yuma Highway. The following year, the Arizona Highway Department built a concrete apron on the downstream side of the Gillespie Dam to help automobiles to cross the Gila River. This crossing point also provide to be unreliable, as high water often made passage difficult. Between 1922 and 1926, large trucks, tractors and horse teams were frequently used to pull automobiles across the apron of the dam.

The Arizona Highway Department set about designing an all-weather bridged structure in 1925 to span the Gila River at this location. Construction of the Gillespie Dam Bridge began in February 1926 and later that same year, the American Association of State Highway Officials adopted our present day highway numbering system. When the new Gillespie Dam Bridge opened to traffic on August 1, 1927, it was officially designated part of the early southern continental US 80 Highway.

Lee Moor Construction of El Paso, Texas built the nine-span steel truss bridged crossing of the Gila River for a cost of $320,000. The 1,662-foot-long Gillespie Dam Bridge was unique for its time and one of the longest bridges and the largest steel structure in the state. All of Arizona's major bridges before this were built using reinforced concrete arches which proved to be no match for swollen, flooding rivers. The new design produced a more durable and flexible bridge that could better withstand the force of flood waters.

Bridge design elements include a connected series of rigid through trusses weighing 2.3 million pounds. The bridge has a total of nine steel truss spans - five 200-foot-long trusses centered over the river channel, flanked by two 160-foot-long trusses at each end. Each steel truss features a camelback web configuration with a built-up box beam for the upper and lower steel members. The trusses are supported by solid concrete abutments and pier columns placed on bedrock at a depth of 25 feet, with the deepest pier extending 43 feet below the riverbed.

The new bridge and US 80 Highway through the Arlington Valley became part of the National "Ocean-to-Ocean Highway". Gillespie Dam Bridge carried US 80 transcontinental traffic from 1927 to 1956, when US 80 Highway was shifted east to Rainbow Valley and the Arlington Valley stretch was decommissioned as an interstate route. The operation, care and ownership of the bridge were then transferred from the State of Arizona to Maricopa County. (SOURCE: HMdb.org)
To read more visit The Historical Marker Database.

When you traveled this road there was no fancy motel awaiting you. There was no nauseating fast food joint with corporate ownership. There might be a flea bag and a greasy spoon somewhere down the road. Travel was an adventure and a bumpy ride was had by all.


CAKE SECRETS from Swans Down Cake Flour

I did a post on February 20, 2011 entitled "Swans Down Vintage Recipes" which was about an old cookbook that contained lovely illustrations of cakes. The book was put out by the company that made Swans Down Cake Flour. Today I feature another book.

The illustrations are not as delicate as the previous book, but they still have me wishing I was making these recipes and not just looking at them.

No information is given about the illustrator. The publishing date is 1926.

Swans Down Cake Flour was made by the Igleheart Brothers in Evansville, Indiana. The company was established in 1856. They were purchased by the Postum Cereal Company in 1926. Today Swans Down Cake Flour is sold by Reily Food Products.

Here is a newspaper ad from the Rome, Georgia Rome Tribune-Herald dated November 15, 1916.

I think it's interesting that this newspaper ad is on the same page with an ad for the Reily-Taylor Company, the company that would eventually own and market Swans Down.

You can see various photos of the original Igleheart Mill here.

I wonder if any of these Bob Hope Angel Food cake store displays exist anymore. That would be a real find!

New book available on Amazon.
Tattered and Lost: Forgotten Dolls

This one is for those who love dolls!

Snapshots from the last 100+ years of children and adults with dolls. Okay, there are a couple of dogs too.

Perfect stocking stuffer!


Harry, ain't youse evah goin' to CUT THE GRASS?

Poor Harry if these were his choices in 1937. All ads from the May 1937 Better Homes & Garden.

Now, for me...I say TORCH THE SUCKER!


Wouldn't you like to MODERNIZE YOUR KITCHEN?

Just in case the two stoves shown yesterday weren't to your liking I have a few more for you to peruse. Think of this places as the catalogue shopping source for 1937.

All ads from the May 1937 Better Homes & Gardens.

So in alphabetical order I present the latest in cooking convenience.

No longer in business.

Hotpoint is still in business. Click on image to see it larger.

The brief Wikipedia history of Magic Chef. Click on image to see it larger.

A division of Whirlpool.


Wouldn't you like to MODERNIZE YOUR KITCHEN?

I'm in a stove sort of mood. I have no idea what that means.

These ads are both from the May 1937 Better Homes & Gardens magazine.

I've never seen a stove like this one from the Perfection Stove Company. In fact, until now I'd never even heard of the Perfection Stove Company. But let us not impeded our need for information. I found some historic information here.

In 1888, Henry Parsons Crowell was approached by Frank Drury to build, and market, a 'lamp stove'. The two men discussed the practicability of such an item. A patent was applied for; the Cleveland Foundry Company began building and then selling the stove. The 'Perfection Stove Company' was born.

In 1888 the Cleveland Foundry Company was formed. They manufactured a line of oil lamp stoves, along with many lamp companies such as Bradley & Hubbard and Miller. In 1894, the plant started producing portable heaters.  These heaters used the "store lamp" wick that had been standardized by Rochester in 1884. In 1901 Francis Drury approached John D. Rockefeller of Cleveland owner of Standard Oil Company. At the time Standard Oil was delivering kerosene to homes and businesses for use in kerosene lamps. Rockefeller knew that with use of the Drury Stove the demand for this kerosene would increase substantially and it did. Rockerfeller selected the company to design, develop and manufacture for it a complete line of stoves which were to be sold under the name "Perfection" to dealers by a group of 300 Standard Oil salesmen. This arrangement was continued by other oil companies.

The Perfection product lineup was extremely important to the growth of American civilization.  By 1918, over 5,000,000 heaters were in use.  By 1922, over 3,000,000 Perfection kitchen stoves and ranges were in use in American homes!  A sizeable percentage of households used a Perfection product on a daily basis. (SOURCE: Miles Stair's Wick Shop)
Now the Coleman Company I'm familiar with, but only as a company making stoves and lights for camping. I still have an old Coleman camp stove and a couple old Coleman lamps. I can still hear the sound of the lamp lighting and the bright glow at the campsite. But kitchen stoves? I've never seen one.

According to this newspaper column from the June 3, 1937 Lodi News-Sentinel it was a pretty doggone good stove to have out in rural areas.


Here's an ad in the same paper a few pages away. Coleman was certainly getting their money's worth.

To see some even older stoves and the men who sold them click here to see my post at Sepia Saturday of a Tappan store in 1927.



This vintage ad is a prime example showing why ephemera can be so darn interesting. We look at these pieces often not thinking about the people involved who created them. In this particular ad we have information about two women, only one with a recognizable name.

Click on image to see it larger.

The ad comes from the May 1934 Delineator, the same issue that had the Camel cigarette ad I wrote about several years ago. Throughout the issue there are ads in which real woman are referenced as someone the buyer should trust. In this case we have the wife of a dairy farmer, Mrs. Walter Stauffacher, from Monroe, Wisconsin. Sad to say I have not found anything online about Mrs. Stauffacher, but I did discover a W. J. Stauffacher Company on a list of Cheesemakers’ and Dairymen’s Association in Southern Wisconsin dated 1927.

So for Mrs. Stauffacher to be chosen for an ad she must have been of some importance. Besides being a wife of a farmer, why was she chosen? And I have to admit, one irritation for me is that her actual name is nowhere to be found. She is an extension of her husband. I know this is how things were done, but it’s just so dang irritating to not see even her first name. I’m glad this “formality” is no longer used.

The second woman involved in the ad is the illustrator. Unfortunately, though the illustration is signed, I cannot read the last name. Her first name is May. Any ideas on what that last name might be? I did find another ad for P and G done by May which can be seen here. I love the playfulness of her style.

The advertiser, P and G, is Proctor and Gamble. But what is Naphtha Soap? I’ve never heard of it. You can read about it here in a rather interesting piece entitled “On the History and Use of Naphtha In Soap.”

Basically this old piece of paper leaves me with nothing but questions. Who? What? Where? Why? The triple “W” threat.

And what became of Barbara Ann Staufacher and her 20 dresses? Perhaps the dairy business was very very good to the Stauffacher family.


Thank goodness there were NO STOCK PHOTO AGENCIES in 1934

An ad from the 1934 May Delineator.

Click on image to see it larger.

Let us give thanks that at one time there were no stock photo agencies. Sadly there is no information given as to who the illustrator was, which doesn't mean I didn't do a search. Alas, I found nothing.

As if the illustration of the woman wasn't lovely enough, take a look at the cereal image. Stunning.

Click on image to see it larger.


FRED A. MAYER, silhouette artist

Little can be found online about Fred A. Mayer. The only biographical information I found is that he was born in 1904. There are a few books available that he illustrated. Other than that, he's almost unknown.

This article, from the 1940 Ringling Bros and Barnum and Bailey Circus Magazine and Daily Reviewprovides a little bit about the artist.

Click on either image to see it larger.
(SOURCE: Ringling Bros and Barnum and Bailey Circus Magazine and Daily Review, 1940)

The art of the silhouette does not have the power it once had, but it's still used today in ways you probably don't even notice. You know that deer crossing sign you see? Silhouette art. Men or women signs for bathrooms...silhouette art. To read a little about the history of silhouette art click here.