Thursday, August 30, 2012

Sloppy Joe's, Havana, Cuba

I love the design on this card. The ships sailing to Habana (Habana on the front and Havana on the back) from all points N. S, E and W!

Sloppy Joe's was a Havana bar in the 30's. The bar got this name because the place in principle was a mess and the sandwich served there was made of "ropa vieja", Spanish for old clothes (shredded flank steak in a tomato based sauce). The sandwich was known as a Sloppy Joe and it was also served in many variants, in several parts of the world. 

One of the frequent patrons was Ernest Hemingway. The tourists that visited Havana during that time, mostly North Americans, preferred two places: Sloppy Joe's Bar, and the beautiful race horse track of Havana controlled by Meyer Lansky's mafia.

In 1959, after the Cuban revolution, the mythical Sloppy Joe' s Bar was closed and abandoned.

Monday, August 27, 2012

The Pipe of Peace

This card was in a postcard album I purchased many years ago. The album belonged to the family of U.S. Ambassador to Austria-Hungary, Richard C. Kerens. I'm not sure what the reference to "The Judge" is. It's handwritten on the card and perhaps is an inside joke between the two parties. Kerens served from 1909 to 1913 under President Taft. The card is postmarked in 1908, the year that Austria-Hungry annexed Bosnia-Herzegovina, a move that led to much unrest and eventually the assassination of the Archduke Ferdinand in 1914. World War I started 4 months later.

Interesting side note: There was a short-lived (1992-1993) TV series produced by George Lucas, "The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles". In one episode called "Vienna, November 1908" an actor portrays Ambassador Kerens.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

SS Catalina

Continuing with  the nautical theme...

The S.S. Catalina was built in 1924, and for 51 years served passengers crossing the San Pedro Channel between Los Angeles Harbor and Avalon, California. During that time, she carried 25 million people, reportedly more than any other ocean-going ship in history. During World War II, as a troop transport in San Francisco Bay, she broke records by ferrying 820,199 men, more than any other U.S. Army Transport.

On September 14, 1975 the S.S. Catalina completed her 9,807th crossing, and it would be her last. At 7:30 pm, she tied up to her San Pedro berth and the Captain rang down "Finished with Engines" for the final time.

Sadly, after many attempts to save her, the S.S. Catalina Steamship Fund became inactive and she sat for years in the harbor at Ensenada, Baja California, Mexico. In 1997, water began seeping in through the propeller shaft. The ship began to sink slowly by the stern (photo below). Finally in 2009, what was left of the S.S. Catalina was cut up for way to treat a lady :\

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

U.S.S. Nautilus and General Dynamics

In July 1951 the United States Congress authorized the construction of a nuclear-powered submarine for the U.S. Navy. In December 1951 the U.S. Department of the Navy announced that the submarine would be called Nautilus. Nautilus's keel was laid at General Dynamics' Electric Boat Division by President Harry S. Truman, on June 14, 1952. She was christened on January 21, 1954. She was decommissioned in 1980 and has been preserved as a museum of submarine history in Groton, Connecticut.

This continental sized postcard is from a set of posters designed by Erik Nitsche. You can see my set of these cards here: General Dynamics

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Mount Rushmore, South Dakota

I didn't initially notice the unusual viewpoint of Mount Rushmore in this RPPC. Talk about light at the end of a tunnel! I've blown-up the "end-of-the-tunnel" below.

Here's something about Mount Rushmore that I had never heard, the Hall of Records...Located along the small canyon behind the Mountain Sculpture, the Hall of Records is an unfinished chamber which was intended a repository of the American Story. Construction of the hall took place between July 1938 and July 1939, when a 70-foot tunnel was blasted into the mountain. Work halted in 1939 when Congress directed that construction should be executed only on the faces. With sculptor Borglum’s death in 1941 and American involvement in World War II, all work on the memorial came to a close on October 31, 1941.

This chamber was to hold the documents and artifacts most central to American democratic history. The proposed room was intended to be very large, up to 80 by 100 feet was to be drilled into the north wall of the canyon.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Hotel George Washington

Owned by the same folks who brought us the The New Hotel Mayflower...and I thought the ship floating outside that hotel was weird!

The hotel was closed in 1971 and torn down in 1973. Currently, the site is occupied by the new federal court building in downtown Jacksonville.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Canal Street, New Orleans

A colorful birds-eye view of Canal Street in New Orleans. I found some interesting items on this card, starting with the photographers credit to Ray Cresson, followed by two theaters, the Saenger and Lowes.

He first began dabbling in photography in 1938. Interrupted by World War II, his career would include more than 50 years as manager of the K&B Camera Center on Canal St. The store was a favorite of budding photographers. John Raymond "Ray" Cresson Jr. passed away on January 7, 2011 at the age of 92

Opened on February 4, 1927. The 4,000-seat theatre took three years to build and cost $2.5 million. The top ticket price was 65 cents, and the bill for each performance included a silent movie and stage play, and music from the Saenger Grand Orchestra. In 1977 the Saenger was designated a historic landmark by both the New Orleans Landmark Commission and the National Register of Historic Places. (Yea!)

Opened in 1927, it was run by Loew's until the 1960s. It then became an indie-run theater until 1980. The 2,300-seat theater has been sealed off for years, but now an arts group has the OK to move forward with their plan for a cultural arts center. (Yea!)

The back of the card reads:

Thursday, August 9, 2012

The Ship Cafe, Venice, California

Venice California holds a special place in my collection and in my heart. I grew up in  West Los Angeles and graduated from Venice High School. As an adult, I lived in Ocean Park (beach town between Santa Monica and Venice) for over 20 years. I still have friends and family in the neighborhood. While I never got to see the Cabrillo (or many other Venice treasures from the past), these postcards make me feel like I have.

The Ship Cafe, built in 1905 alongside the Abbot Kinney pier, was the "in" spot to find some of this "action." Named the "Cabrillo," the combination hotel-restaurant was fashioned after a Spanish galleon and served up high-priced cuisine in the main dining room, or in private salons on the second deck. The staff were uniformed like sixteenth-century naval officers

The Ship was available for private functions, which many of Hollywood's rising stars preferred, and the mayhem that attended New Year's Eve made for headline copy. It was at the Ship that Valentino had his heels cooled by movie queen Nazimova, who called him a "pimp" and a "gigolo" at a private party she was throwing for coworkers at Metro Goldwyn Mayer. And it was Buster Keaton who, pestered by autograph hounds, jumped out of one of the restaurant's portholes in a faked escape attempt, only to find twice as many fans when he returned.

On the Sunday night of January 11, 1920, before Prohibition took effect, an estimated 100,000 revelers jammed the seaside resort of Venice, closing off all available avenues into the town. Tables at the Ship Cafe went for $300, and doors were closed at 10 p.m. after capacity had long since been reached.

But the Cabrillo's heyday was before the Depression, and it slipped into obscurity, eventually to be razed in October 1946. 

Thursday, August 2, 2012

By the M. K. & T.

Another transportation card!
I'm not sure which I like the most!...the front or the back!