What you’ll find here is simply a long page of project updates from my personal ventures around the city to try and photograph postcards. Additionally, from time to time I’ll share my own research into why some of these sites have changed–using newspaper clippings, city plans and Sanborn maps.
Some interesting news. I’ve been mulling a map–or some sort of visual key that will better display the postcards. I found a neat little plugin and shoveled a ridiculous amount of money to the developers for access to the software that has allowed me to create the Site Locator. So far I have one for the south side, central corridor and west side.
It looks fantastic. Credit to Paul Fehler and his map blog (http://www.bigmapblog.com/). The map used for the selector is Fred Graf’s St. Louis in 1896. While beautiful, it has its obvious limitations. Notably, about 50% of the postcards aren’t represented. A lot of downtown businesses and hotels simply aren’t on the map.
I’m probably going to keep the site selector now, as is, and in the meantime try and create a different map to better suit the needs of the site. On the other hand, I might just select the block, or approximate location of the site in the postcard and….
Yeah it’s complicated.
Overnight you might have noticed some new items pop up, that’s because I spent eight hours putting together two new links: Hotels (Planters, Maryland, Marquette and Jefferson) and Other Hotels. Don’t get mad! If your favorite hotel was relegated to the status of “other,” it simply means at the moment I don’t have enough postcards of that building to warrant an individual page. I mean, let’s be honest. There’s only three unique views of the Planters hotel, the rest are recolors.
New postcards were added to hospitals: St. Mary’s Hospital and St. Mary’s Infirmary. Also, two new postcards were added under private schools: St. Louis University High School and Christian Brothers College.
Tonight is a night off…haven’t had one in at least a week.
It’s been a busy week! If you’ve been checking in lately you’d notice that I’ve uploaded hundreds of postcards to the website which encompass the ‘postcard archive.’ And man that’s time consuming and boring. Almost done! Stay tuned, by the end of the week I should have the ‘Business’ tab completed. After this I plan on looking at ways to better present the postcards included in the archive including perhaps breaking down some of the larger pages into multiple parts.
I set out this morning to try and correct my mistakes yesterday at the Compton Heights water tower. I think I managed to get it right this time–you be the judge.
The key on the top image is getting the shot to include the fork in the path as well as the hill on the right *I know, I’m being inane*. The second image is more important to get right, because the postcard (below) also features the fountain. I kept finding my picture cut off right before the fountain–finally after a couple minutes I was able to include the curvature of the path and the fountain.
It’s not perfect but I’m satisfied.
I also walked over to Tower Grove Park and took a few photos including the Lindell ruins, Humboldt Statue. I’m not sure why I didn’t take a picture of the Columbus statue, but maybe you folks can.
There’s a few things that stick out here. First, in the postcard it appears there are three different fountains in the basin, whereas today there’s only one. Moreover the fountain that is there today doesn’t appear to have the height as depicted in the postcard above–it could be the artist’s fault though. Yeah, it’s probably his fault.
The next one is a different view of the ruins, and I tried my best to get the shot–unfortunately, as I remarked on twitter, to get it perfect I think I’d have to wade into the basin. It was 84 degrees, maybe if it was a little warmer.
So I took a shot at doing this myself today and I came up a little short–which is a good lesson for folks looking to participate. Make sure to have the postcards you are trying to photograph handy (save them to your phone or print them out).
I visited Compton Heights Reservoir and came up mere feet short on two beautiful postcards, check it out below:
As you’ll see below, I came about 10-15 feet too close to duplicating this postcard perfectly, I should have photographed at the fork in the path (the one behind me, not in front of me) Also, you’ll note how sparse the landscaping is around the water tower today compared to the postcard! I noticed a couple vandalized items in the park and a couple spots where it was apparent landscaping once sat–these are the things you’ll start to pick up on once you look more closely at these old postcards.
Also maybe don’t let the dog get in your shot.
*Update* Upon study of an old park photograph, it appears the pathway that I should have stood at has been altered over time. I was still wrong, but even so, it’ll be much trickier to get the right shot.
Here again, you’ll notice I goofed up. It’s basically the correct shot, except I took the photograph looking Northwest, the postcard is facing Northeast. It doesn’t seem like a huge deal–except, it is. A good reminder that you should have your postcard handy so that you don’t make a special trip and goof up!