10/29/10

Sometimes THE LOAD GETS TOO HEAVY


I have again been away, but this time it is due to lack of net access. This happens every so often when I reach my bandwidth limit which is actually quite small. The downside of satellite internet. It's very expensive and unless you pay even more through the nose your access is limited. Within a week I'm hoping I can get back on. Until then I post this one shot for Sepia Saturday.

This was purchased at an antique store. I was taken by the handsome young man in the ruins of a cabin. Nothing is written on the back, but looking at the evidence I believe that the roof caved in following a very heavy snow load. I've seen cabins like this more than once. Our snow load in the Sierra's, on the western slope, can be incredible. We get the first snow to hit the state and thus the most water. The beams that were in my folks cabin were huge because of the load they were expected to bear. The cabin was just down from Donner Summit. If you know your history of those who came across country to California by wagon you'll know the story of the Donner Party.

An odd photo with a place seemingly frozen in time in ruins. I love it. Click on it to see it larger.


Unfortunately I will not be able to comment on other Sepia Saturday posts this weekend, but trust there will be some very interesting images to ponder. I'll just have to wait and see them later.

10/22/10

ROAD TRIP to a Wedding


Another vernacular photograph purchased at an antique store.


A lovely image with only the following information written on the back:
Ozzie & Betty June 1935 on way to Lemmon to get married
I don't know, but to me they look like 1930s movie stars. It's hard to think of it as a casual snapshot. It's all so perfect.


1935, the Depression. 7 years before we entered the war. What did the future hold for these two? We'll never know. Like movie stars in fictional stories, we can make up any fate we choose for these two.

Another Sepia Saturday submission.

10/20/10

LAUNDRY Voyeur


Was Margaret, or someone she knew, a laundry voyeur? Are there more out there like this? Is it a category? Will I find more?

From the Three Buck Big Box of Photos.

10/19/10

FLAT OUT and...


I will say nothing.

Margaret said nothing.

You're on your own here.


From, of course, the Three Buck Big Box of Photos.

10/18/10

KENNEY On His Birthday With a Puppy


One more shot of Gilbert, I mean Kenney. On the back Margaret wrote "Puppy & Kenney" which also shows it to be Kenney's 11th birthday. And we've still got that weird background with the shirt going on. Checks galore!


What I actually think of when I see this is the dog my grandparents had when I was very small. His name was Skippy and he looked a lot like Kenney's dog. I always thought he was the family dog. It wasn't until about 15 years ago my mother said, when we were discussing Skippy, that he actually belonged to the man down the street. Every day when he'd go to work Skippy would come to my grandparent's house and spend the day. Little guy had full run of the house and yard. Then apparently she'd tell him "Skippy, go home" and out the door he'd go and back to his rightful owner as he returned from work. I was stunned. "What? What? Skippy wasn't ours? He was just visiting?" All those years I thought Skippy was family, but he was just a moocher. I look at old photos of him in his harness sitting on my grandparents porch and I think "Oh Skippy, Skippy, you deceived me."

I'll get over it.

And, though I didn't mention it yesterday, both of these shots of Kenney are from the Three Buck Big Box of Photos that just keeps on giving, along with Margaret.

10/17/10

Beaver's Best Friend, GILBERT


Okay, so this isn't really Gilbert from Leave It to Beaver, but he reminds me of him. So in honor of Barbara Billingsly, Beaver's mom in her smart housedress and pearls, I've renamed this fellow Gilbert. Of course, you can see from the back his name is Kenney. You might also notice the handwriting is Margaret's. If you don't know Margaret you'll need to go back and read some old posts. Margaret thankfully liked to write on the back of her photos.

A very ordinary snapshot of a very ordinary boy which is pretty much what Leave It to Beaver celebrated.

UPDATE: Received a comment telling me that Gilbert is the character I'm thinking about, not Whitey. So I have renamed this. Need to keep my Beaver characters in order. So thanks JB!

10/16/10

Only HALF THE MAN He Used to Be


My initial intention was to be gone from blogging for just the length of my vacation, but the time wore on. As I mentioned in my last post, several days ago, I needed time to recover from the final day of vacation that all went horribly wrong. Complete exhaustion took over. Then I've been emotionally wrapping my brain around the fact that one of my best friends may have cancer. This woman has already had a horrendous year, so to think this might be happening is beyond my current grasp of reality.

The past few days have been spent setting up my new computer. Everything is now up and running and beautiful. I shall now begin to get back to what I like to call "normal."

I mentioned the other day that I only bought two photos on vacation. Nothing else struck my fancy. Both were bought at a small antique store in an old school house in Graeagle, California.

Graeagle, in Plumas County, north of Truckee on Hwy 89, once was a timber town, but now is a sweet little town of historic and new buildings. The historic buildings are mostly painted red with white trim. The photos below are mine, the text is from Wikipedia:
Originally brought to life by the pioneers of the timber industry, the town of Graeagle was the site of the Graeagle Lumber Company and its “Box Factory” owned by the California Fruit Exchange. Thousands were employed to build boxes for shipping fruit and vegetables in the 1920s, 30s and 40s. Modernization closed the mill in 1956 and the town was acquired by the West family in 1958.


The entire area is dotted with old towns with mining and timber pasts:
As with all of California, the Graeagle area was initially inhabited by Native Americans. The Maidu in particular lived in this area and made encampments throughout the locale. The famous African American mountain man James Beckwourth discovered a nearby way across the Sierra’s in the 1840s that paved the way for immigrants to filter into this portion of the Sierras. The California Gold Rush of 1848-49 also lured lots of miners into the surrounding hills searching for gold. Then, farming families followed and they too migrated into the Mohawk Valley, the Sierra Valley and other areas of California. Ranches were established as the meadows were ideal for raising beef and dairy cattle, providing hay for feed. The plentitude of fertile soils in the area provided for the growing of wheat, potatoes, and other vegetables. These not only sustained the farmers and ranchers, but also supplied the nearby mines.

Besides the famous mines along the downstream Feather River and the mines on the Yuba in Sierra County, gold was discovered above Graeagle in 1851 by a small group of miners who discovered a rich ledge of exposed gold bearing quartz high on Eureka Peak. This spurred a great influx of people into the area above Graeagle, in the present day community of Johnsville and Plumas Eureka State Park. Thirty six mines formed the Eureka Company, 76 the Washington Company and about 40 miners claimed the Rough and Ready. With mining comes development and in 1853 the tent city of Jamison City sprang up. It quickly evolved with 12 buildings, 6 of which were saloons. About 1872, the town of Johnsville came into existence, it being more of a business and family oriented community. Johnsville, adjacent to Plumas Eureka State Park, is still a small mountain community with one restaurant, The Iron Door and many historic looking buildings. A British company, calling themselves Sierra Buttes Mining Company entered the picture and consolidated all of the mines on Eureka Peak. Bringing in new technology of the day this mine improved profits and continued through mining cycles until the turn of the 20th century. Another mining venture, the Jamison Mine started in 1897 and continued to prosper until 1917. Little by little, these mines diminished with boom and bust times when by 1943 mining essentially halted. By then $25 million was extracted and 65 miles of tunnels were carved out of the hills of Eureka Peak.

Graeagle began as a mill town, being part of a 12,000 acre timber tract acquisition by Arthur Davies from the Sierra Iron Company back in 1916. This vast parcel stretched from Blairsden to Calpine in present day Sierra County. Davies also owned a sawmill operation in Sardine Valley (located off of Hwy. 89 near Dog Valley and Stampede Reservoir) as well as a sawmill in Delleker, just outside of present day Portola.

Arthur Davies built a new sawmill in June of 1916 behind the current Graeagle grocery store (The Graeagle Store). Initially the new plant was cutting about 50,000 board feet of mostly pine lumber per day, but in 1917 a fire destroyed the mill. It was quickly rebuilt and about 13-14 million feet of timber was cut that year.

The new mill needed housing for its employees at this new endeavor, so Davies had his company houses in the Sardine Valley transported via the Boca-Loyalton Railroad to Graeagle. The homes were sawn in half so that they would fit on the B&L flatcars, then moved by rail to Beckwourth, where they were transferred to NCO trains and carried to Clio. From this point, a combination of horses, wagons and vehicles moved the assorted buildings to Graeagle. To this day, one can still see visible signs of the joining on the red houses that adorn the main street. Other dwellings also came from the Clairville and Delleker areas by placing giant logs under each to act as a skid and then they were methodically moved by either horse teams or Mack trucks to Graeagle. (SOURCE: Graeagle Merchants)
Visit the communities official site here with more of their history here.

As for the handsome fella in this photo, alas, I have no information about him so we can speculate all we want.

My story is that he came West following a lady to San Francisco. His romance did not pan out, but not wishing to return to the family farm in Iowa, he instead headed into the Sierra's where he found few riches in gold, but made a home for himself in a small mountain community. How this photo ended up in the old schoolhouse in Graeagle we'll probably never know.

This is my first post for Sepia Saturday in quite awhile.

10/13/10

SMILE for the Birdie


Been gone. Vacation followed by mental dullness as I try to grasp the end of the vacation and what I've returned to. I am getting my brain cells sorted into useful piles. I'm finding some simply too ravaged to be of use anymore. I'm far more hopeful for others.

My vacation took me into the Sierra's. Came home nearly empty handed from searches through antique stores. Only two photos I found were worth buying.

This little girl easily fits into my collection of kids stuck up on stools and chairs. It's a category. I must collect. She was purchased at the old school in Graegle, California. The only other photo was also purchased at the same time.
If you go back through the past two years of posts I know you'll find other shots of children standing on chairs, The LITTLE DOLL being one. It's sort of odd to see children stuck up on chairs, but then photographers did not have the luxury of moving around easily when taking portraits. They had to get the child up, up, up so as to capture them from head to toe. Heaven knows they weren't David Hemmings in Blow Up moving all around while jazz played in the background. This was more like "Watch the birdie!"

This little thing is all decked out in I imagine her finest. This is a RPPC with nothing written on the back. One of those children that looks old before their time.