21 Aug 2014
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Patch Instagram photo by annmaries_hair_on_madison
Patch Instagram photo by annmaries_hair_on_madison

Urban Archeologist: The Post-Postcard Era?

Once a novelty, always a novelty.


What  has become of postcards? A popular novelty from the beginning (around 1869 in Vienna), but a rarity today. When was the last time you saw one of those black wire carousels with innumerable photo and novelty, standard and over-sized cards?

I have been both thrilled and awed when discovering a cache of these. They are themselves mini-time capsules with a picture on one side and text and stamp on the back. Even when blank they still have something to say about the era they were printed.

While it may be obvious from my previous columns on postcards (my favorites are the oldest, local-est I can find), I also appreciate those cards that show the places I've never been and even falsely nostalgic for the places I can never go. For example (in the photo gallery) is the Stardust Casino really gone? Darn it!

The Royal James Inn in Norwalk is also gone, but the card left behind shows what a fixture in the city's landscape it must have been.

The cruise ship card, long since mothballed and sold for scrap. While it may not look like smooth sailing (check out those white caps!), the note on the back tells a different story.

The postcard may be disappearing but not as fast as the places they have captured on them. I recommend embracing the next batch of old cards you find. I know will.

Take a look at two pins you've never seen before — This tiny flag pin and this military button are truly unique, but I can't find their origin or era. Can you? 

Greg Van Antwerp is a Brookfield resident and blogger, who can be found on the weekends in search of a good “dig” or a good story. You can read more about his adventures by visiting his blog.

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