Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Road Trips Through Arizona, 1925

When I was in high school, our history teacher was a guy named Marshall Trimble.  We all knew Mr. Trimble really loved Arizona history.  We didn't know, at the time, that one day he would become the official Arizona State Historian.

I thought about him when I came across an old photograph album on my "road trip" to Alva, Oklahoma last fall.  It seemed odd to find the album at a small antique store in the Midwest, since the photographs were of some Arizona "road trips" by car, taken by a group of young ladies during 1925.

I knew when I first opened the album and saw the old photos -- held in place by heart-shaped stick-on corners -- that they hadn't been taken in Oklahoma.  After all,
 Winslow is in northern Arizona.

Apparently the young women had driven themselves to a variety of locations around the state.  That was rather an adventurous thing to do in 1925.

Although at least one road trip had a few glitches...

...they found some help along the way.

Other photos in the old album show a number of women.  There were no notes about where these pictures were taken.  It's interesting to look at the variety of clothing styles in 1925.

Minnie and Mabel

Miss Harvey and Mrs. Hall.

C.E.R. and Miss Van Buren.

There were several photographs of a road trip the young women made in October 1925.  Note the dresses they wore while eating breakfast in the open air.

They went to the town of Florence, between Phoenix and Tucson.

They went to Roosevelt Dam, northeast of Phoenix.

Many of the photos showed groups of young women (and a few men) swimming or just standing together.  The names on the photograph below are Eleanor Robles, Panchita Gallego, Mary Brady and Maria Ortega.  On the right, in the swimming pool, Lillian Nicholas.  (The other photos just had first names written in the borders.)

Also in the album was a postcard of a dude ranch in Oracle, Arizona.

And a postcard of the University of Arizona in Tucson.  (I wonder if the young people in the photos were students at the U of A?)

A photograph labeled "The Ruins" intrigued me because I knew I'd seen that place before.  I believe this is part of the compound wall that still surrounds the prehistoric ruins of the Casa Grande, south of Phoenix. 

I wonder why the photographer didn't take a picture of the main building, the Casa Grande itself?  Or did she, and the photo was removed or fell out of the album?  We'll never know.    

Here's a 1915 photo I downloaded from the National Park Service website showing the compound, the Casa Grande, and a house on the right side.

And indeed, one of the young women on that 1925 road trip had taken a picture of the house.

I found a web page devoted to Frank Pinkley, a  real icon of the National Park Service.  The NPS notes:

Frank Pinkley was born on May 27, 1881, near Chillicothe, Missouri. Diagnosed with tuberculosis, he moved to Arizona for his health in 1900. The following year, he accepted a position with the U. S. General Land Office to be the first permanent, on-site custodian at the Casa Grande Ruins reserve. Pinkley's strong vision and organizational skills brought him increasing responsibilities after the National Park Service took over in 1918. By 1923, he was promoted to Superintendent of all Southwestern Monuments, and over the next 17 years, he set professional standards for his employees and provided them with improved facilities, many which can still be seen today. At Casa Grande Ruins, the large shelter roof, support buildings, and the entrance road and parking lot are all due to Pinkley.

This collection of old photographs deserved better than just to be liberated from an antique store and stored in a box in my house.  It's truly a little snapshot (okay, pun intended) in time of travels by car in the desert Southwest.  So I donated the album to a museum in Arizona.

Here's a link to the Arizona State Historical Society website:

There are more views of Rancho de los Robles (El Rancho Robles) online:

If you're really interested in Arizona history, talk to Marshall Trimble sometime.  Here's Mr. Trimble's bio:

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Arizona Days and Ways Magazine

Writing another post about the recent passing of Bill "Wallace" Thompson, I came across images I had saved from an old issue of Arizona Days and Ways.  It was the magazine supplement to The Arizona Republic newspaper.  This one, which I found at an estate sale in the Phoenix area, was dated February 11, 1962.

Here are some of those images.  If you lived in, or visited, Phoenix in the 1960s, do you remember any of these people, places and things?

The introduction to this issue, celebrating Arizona's 50th year as a state (this was 1962; it was admitted to the Union on February 14, 1912), was written by publisher Eugene C. Pulliam.

An article on radio and television in Arizona was written by broadcaster Jack Williams, a former Mayor of Phoenix at the time, who would serve as governor of the state from 1967 to 1975.

Bert Fireman was the Executive Director of the Arizona Historical Foundation.  He also taught Arizona History at Arizona State University.

Fireman got to write two articles for this issue of Arizona Days and Ways.  The one below was attached to an ad for a bank.

Park Central was a shopping mall on, naturally, Central Avenue in Phoenix.

Full-page ad for Ryan-Evans Drug Stores.

Horses were a big deal in the Phoenix area, and particularly in Scottsdale, "The West's Most Western Town," in the 1960s.  This photo shows people wearing clothing from a couple of local stores that catered to the actual and wanna-be cowboy.

This photo illustrated an article on the importance of horses to Arizona's economy.  It was taken at Ed Tweed's Brusally Ranch in Scottsdale.  Somewhere in the back of the photo is the legendary Arabian stallion Skorage, wearing a native costume.  Here's a link to more information about Brusally Ranch and Skorage:

A reproduction of a letter from the President of the United States graced this issue of Arizona Days and Ways.

Among the many hotels catering to the tourist trade were the Westward Ho in Phoenix, and the Valley Ho in Scottsdale.

Here's an ad for the Woolworth's store in Old Town Scottsdale, circa 1962.

Yellow Front Stores had many Arizona locations.

Lulu Belle's was a restaurant in Scottsdale.

Mom often shopped at El Rancho market.

An article on Arizona Place Names was written by journalist Don Dedera, who later served as editor of Arizona Highways magazine.

And the back of this issue of Arizona Days and Ways featured a map of the state.

Monday, July 28, 2014

The Great War Diary

To commemorate the start of World War I, "The Great War," in 1914 -- 100 years ago! -- I've combined a couple of blog posts I wrote awhile back.  It's important that we preserve the memories of people who lived so long ago.  Too often, their letters, diaries, photographs and stories get tossed in a recycling bin when no one wants them at an estate sale....

I often see war-related items at estate sales.  Recently I found a battered small notebook that served as the diary of a serviceman from World War One.  (It was a dollar.  I couldn't leave it there.)  

The soldier, Brennan A. Mitchell, was a member of Battery B, 139th Field Artillery, American Expeditionary Forces in France.   With the diary was a photograph of soldiers in front of a building with a Red Cross sign.

A man of few words, this soldier from Sherman, Texas was part of history in 1918, even if he was often bored and had a little trouble with spelling as he recounted his adventures:

July 17 Arived in NY.

July 22 AWOL three days sent to hospital.  AWOL ever night till Sept.17.

Sept. 19-20 Met Miss Zachary splendid time made the City ever other day till Sept. 29.

Sept. 30 Goldbricked till left on Oct. 6.  [ I had to refresh my memory on this term.  "Goldbricking" is slacking off at work while pretending to be busy.]

After reading through his diary and looking at a number of websites online, I came to the conclusion that Mitchell went to war on the HMS Cedric out of Long Island:

Set sail [to Liverpool] Oct. 6 enjoyed trip until night of 16 Wed. [at] 10:55 ship struck by torpedo or depth bomb. All was in an uproar until we found out we could make port.

Oct. 17, 1918 Thursday we landed in Liverpool Endland. Had a glorious reception by all. Red Cross served coffee.  Hiked through city to camp arrived 1:45 after a two mile hike with full pack.
Up next morn Oct. 18 7 o’clock took bath walked around camp saw first German prisoners also New Zealand soldiers wer in a English camp.

Oct. 20 Sunday Up early washed went to church.  After, went up to vilage with [indecipherable other soldiers' names] drank lots of beer.  Real quaint village.

Shortly after that, Mitchell and his comrades took a train to Southampton and then sailed to Cherbourg, France.

Oct. 23 Left Cherbough in box cars 8 horses or 40 men 50 in our car…rode all night arrived in Aldmans [?] had supper. Arived in Plorenel [Ploermel?] France 12:30 a.m. bed.
Apparently they ended up in the ancient city of Vannes, where he bought two postcards.  They were tucked inside the diary.

Oct. 25 Up early after a very bad rest on floor in old Catholic convent built in 1400 and 1689 a very interesting building still occupied by French peasants. Went to town drank first French wine no good.

Nov. 8 Same things so I wrot nothing. 

Nov. 9 Up early left for Camp De Meucon [American artillery training camp a few kilometers outside Vannes] road 16 miles in trucks hiked 15 miles with full pack. 

Nov. 10 Up early ate washed went to church.  After ran around camp.  Saw captured German guns.

Nov. 11 Up early.  Made gunner so practiced hard all day.  Bed early.

Note the date:  November 11, 1918.  They finally gave him something useful to do, on the day the war ended.

Nov. 12 Same schedule gun practice.  Awful happy heard armisti was signed war won drank too much wine that night had to tie my bed down.

Nov. 13 & 14  Went out to the guns in morning came back was made Battery tailor excused from all formations.  Went to Y. can show came back turned in.

I hadn't realized that the YMCA was involved in serving soldiers during The Great War.  But they were.

Nov. 15 PAY DAY Nothing special only word was that we would leave for US soon.

Nov. 20 Went to range fired four shots.  Nothing else but tailor work.

Nov. 28 Nothing of importance since Nov. 20 only Y.M.C.A shows and some tailor work. Tonight we have orders to leave tomorrow ever one happy.

Only they didn’t leave France for several weeks.  Something of importance finally happened to him a few days later.  

I spent a bit more time deciphering our soldier's handwriting, as he recounted his last days in France after the end of World War I.    His spelling didn't improve with time.

Nov. 30  Up early packed left Camp De Meucon 1130 arived in Vannes 1230 -- eight mile in narrow guage train.

Dec. 1, 1918  No sleep all night left Vannes 430AM had lots of fun throwing bread at French kids.  Arived in Brest [a port city in Brittany, France] about 6 oclock on baggage detail missed awful hike of five miles through mud came to camp ate late supper went to bed.

[Dec.] 2 In bed got up ate breakfast back in bed.  Awful muddy camp worst I ever been in.  Done nothing all day.  Bed 8 o'clock. Rec'd. first letter from Preacher.

[Dec.] 3  B Battery on guard and camp detail for day.  Thanks to my being Btry. tailor miss all detail.  All I have done to-day is to lay in bed and listen to all the wild rumors about going home.  Only a little after 5 ashamed to go to bed yet don't know what to do.

Mitchell spent several more days in a similar fashion, then found a variety of other ways to pass the time.

Dec. 6  Up early ate fooled around all day reading.  About five thirty started to drinking rum using port wine for chaser.  Killed all off with [apparently some sort of liqueur].  Got wild cursed the whole battery out went wild, no fights.

Dec. 7 Oh my head is as big as a barrel.  sick.  going to bed 5 oclock dark.

Dec. 8  On detail for work.  Went to town.  Quite a time with the ladies.

Mon. Dec. 9  Apointed Btry. cartoonist but refused to do any work.  Received letter from home.

Tues. Dec. 10  Up eight rained all night.  Went to Reg. Hdq. drew several sketches for History of Btry. B.  7 bells going to bed.

Wed. Dec. 11  Up too late for Breakfast cut Cpt. Cheneworth's slicker off.  Fooled around all day doing absolutely nothing all day but draw two cartoons for history.  Arkie and I are in bed eating candy.  Rumors are that we leave tomorrow 7 bells.

Then something significant finally happened.

Dec. 12, 1918  Up for breakfast ate fooled around went down drew several cartoons.  Got permission to go to town tomorrow to see Pres. Wilson land.  

The website notes:

After nine days at sea aboard the SS George Washington, Woodrow Wilson arrives at Brest, France, on December 13, 1918, and travels by land to Versailles. There, he headed the American delegation to the peace conference seeking a definitive end to World War I. The visit marked the first official visit by a U.S. president to Europe.

Brennan Mitchell gave us his perspective:

Dec. 13, 1918  Up early ate.  Went to town 1030 stationed on street to meet Pres. Wilson.  [He] came by about two o'clock in open top machine.  Salute was given, 21 shots.  Marched back to camp ate.  Orders to leave for US tomorrow.

On December 15 (a day later than he expected), Mitchell and his comrades caught a ride on theSS George Washington back to the States:

On boat 1130 Geo. Washington same as Pres. came over on.  "Oh boy."  Eats fine, good show.

The on-board entertainment apparently included movies; in other diary entries during the crossing of the Atlantic, he mentions seeing films he enjoyed starring "Doug F." (Douglas Fairbanks) and (Mary) "Pickford."

Finally, on December 23, 1918, Mitchell's sojourn was over:  

Up 630 rolled pack ate two meals came in harbor was met by Mayor's Committee of NJ.  Got off boat 430 in J.C. (Jersey City?).  Set out on hike to camp ate took bath now getting ready for bed. 

Mitchell's narrative ends there.  The diary contains a few more blank pages.  Then, tucked in the back of the diary,  I found a page of semaphore drawings:

In doing some background research for this post, I discovered that there's footage of the parade with President Wilson in Brest on December 13, 1918, on YouTube. Somewhere in that crowd is Brennan A. Mitchell, whose diary is sitting on my desk as I write:

For all that I occasionally felt I'd like to knock him in the head for his foolish behavior and atrocious spelling, I'm still glad Brennan Mitchell took notes.  He never knew we'd be looking over his shoulder at history, a hundred years later.  Thank you, soldier.

I donated the War Diary and the large group photo to the Center for American War Letters at Chapman University, where they will be preserved and eventually digitized so students, historians, genealogists -- and you! -- can see and use them.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Abide With Me

At the end of some estate sales, the sellers will tell the buyers to "fill up a box or a bag" with items and give them a low, fixed price on the lot, usually five or ten dollars.  That's how I ended up with this little book last weekend.  Several members of this family had been involved in serving other people through their churches.

"Abide With Me" is a classic Christian hymn.  The lyrics were written in 1847 by Henry Lyte, who died of tuberculosis three weeks after he penned the words.  The publishers, Cupples & Leon, printed this illustrated version of the lyrics in about 1900.  They were known for producing nice-looking books at a reasonable price.  They also produced similar small volumes based on other favorite hymns, including "Lead Kindly Light,"  Psalm 23, "Rock of Ages" and others. 

In "Abide With Me," no credit is given to the artist(s) who did the artwork and the gilt calligraphy.

Here are Lyte's original words; the singer is speaking to God.

Abide with me; fast falls the eventide;
The darkness deepens; Lord with me abide.
When other helpers fail and comforts flee,
Help of the helpless, O abide with me.

Swift to its close ebbs out life’s little day;
Earth’s joys grow dim; its glories pass away;
Change and decay in all around I see;
O Thou who changest not, abide with me.

I need Thy presence every passing hour.
What but Thy grace can foil the tempter’s power?
Who, like Thyself, my guide and stay can be?
Through cloud and sunshine, Lord, abide with me.

I fear no foe, with Thee at hand to bless;
Ills have no weight, and tears no bitterness.
Where is death’s sting? Where, grave, thy victory?

 I triumph still, if Thou abide with me. 

Hold Thou Thy cross before my closing eyes;
Shine through the gloom and point me to the skies.
Heaven’s morning breaks, and earth’s vain shadows flee;
In life, in death, O Lord, abide with me.


Here's a link to the chorus of King's College, Cambridge, England, singing Lyte's words to the tune written by William H. Monk in 1861.

You can listen to a basic rendition of the score, and read the other verses of the hymn, on the Cyberhymnal website: