Update from The Hill

Just a quick post to share a link to another blog: Archaeology in Annapolis by the team of students from the University of Maryland who spent three weeks on an archaeological dig at the “Buffalo Soldier’s House” in Easton’s The Hill neighborhood. They found some great stuff!

Album Rescue Project: Cracking the Codes (The Letter B)

As promised, I’m continuing my examination of the photos in the Album Rescue Project. I’ve created a spreadsheet of all of the codes written on the photos, to make them easier to group. My hope is to interpret what at least some of the codes mean because this may provide further clues as to the identities of those pictured in the album.

I have come up with a new theory about the codes and who wrote them. My hunch is that the album’s star–the girl featured in most of the album’s photos–was the original owner of the albums and that she wrote a lot of the captions. However, I don’t think she necessarily also wrote the codes. My reasons for this: the handwriting is slightly different in the codes than in the captions; the codes are written in ink and almost all of the captions are in pencil; some of the photos have multiple codes. My thinking is that a subsequent possessor of the albums started coding the photos in order to organize them either for divvying up among family members or for selling. Many, many of the albums’ original photos were no longer in the albums when I purchased them. A friend of mine suggested that a previous owner may have sold some of the photos individually before offloading the albums.

On to the codes themselves. I’m starting with the letter ‘B.’ No ‘A’s were used in the codes. Below are the photos incorporating the letter ‘B’ in some way. There are a variety of subjects portrayed. I think codes incorporating ‘B,’ ’2B,’ ’3B’ and ‘BB’ all stand for different things.

Photo 73 — 2B-1917/F-1917 (Aunt Bert & Hazel Walters)

Photo 79 — 2B-1918

Photo 103 — 2B-1919

Photo 44 — 3B-1918

Photo 45 — 3B-1917

Photo 132 — 3B-1920

Photo 133 — 3B-1920

Photo 101 — B-1918

Photo 20 — BB-1920 (Red Bridge Park)

I think that ’2B’ and ’3B’ are particular to the locations pictured. ’3B’ photos in particular seem to be from some sort of summer destination or gathering spot. Regarding ‘BB,’ I don’t think it is necessarily particular to the subject of Red Bridge Park as there are other photos from that park without a code using ‘BB.’

Archaeological Dig on The Hill in Easton

Photos below are from the archaeological dig going on at the “Buffalo Soldier’s House” in The Hill area of Easton, Md. (323 South Street). Visitors are welcome to stop by this upcoming week, Monday thru Friday, between 10 a.m. and 2:30 p.m., to observe the dig.

The house (built c. 1880) belonged to relatives of William Gardner, a Buffalo Soldier. The archaeological dig is part of a process to help save the house and also is part of a wider investigation of the history of the entire neighborhood.

(click on the photos below for larger versions)

UMD students examine a button they found during the excavation.

Excavating in the backyard of the house.

Combing through the excavated rubble and dirt.

Excavating an area thought to be part of an alley that once separated the house from another home next door that has since been demolished. The students have found coins, marbles and pieces of metals and plastic so far.

Photos of the house itself:

323 South Street

The rear of the house.

Portion of the side porch. Many of the windows and doors are gone and covered with plywood painted to resemble the real thing so the home looks nicer.

View of a hole in the ceiling of the front porch reveals older trim and paint.

Layers of siding reveal themselves.

Album Rescue Project: Album 2, Photos 60-64

Well, with this post we’ve reached the end of Album 2. There’s no magic clue that reveals the album’s past in these last few photos, but every little tidbit helps and I still have steps I can take to try and track down the family to whom this album belongs. Before we do that though, here are the last photos:

Photo 60

I’m not sure if the photo above is supposed to be of the woman in the background hanging her laundry (she does appear to realize that her photo is being taken) or of the contraption in the foreground…

There is some interesting information printed on the back:

Reverse of Photo 60

This photo was printed on Kodak Velo (or Velox) Paper according to the stamp on the back. I found this information on Velox prints, which helps to date the photo.

We’re back at a dam (I think) in the next photo:

Photo 61

Love the vehicles in the image above. I don’t see a sign identifying this location, unfortunately. Anyone recognize it?

Photo 62

The guy pictured above looks pretty young — what do you think, is this a high school portrait?

Glue spots foil us in discovering more:

Reverse of Photo 62

There was something written/stamped on the back, but it’s obscured now by glue and paper from where it was adhered to an album page. Bah.

Photo 63 is a blast from the past:

Photo 63

That’s our star at a much earlier age in a photo that has the same coding as used on most photos in Album 1. Check out the dude snoozing on the hammock in the background. He inspired the inscription on the back:

Reverse of Photo 63

It simply says “Wake up.” I’ll get into my reasons why in a future post, but I’m 90% positive that the S in the above code stands for Shippensburg.

Here is the final photo of the album, which also appears to be much older than the rest of the photos in Album 2:

Photo 64

This photo has Shippensburg written on the front and another notation on the back:

Reverse of Photo 64

It’s perplexing that there are four people pictured in the photo, but only two identified on the back. Or are those the names of the folks to whom the photo was given? I’m having trouble reading the first name, but the second one appears to be Viola. I don’t recognize any of the kids in this photo from other images in either album.

Stay tuned for future posts where I try to divine further information from what we’ve seen so far. This ain’t over yet!

Album Rescue Project: Album 2, Photos 53-59

Some very intriguing images in this next set, as we near the end of the second album:

Photo 53

I recognize at least one person in the photo above. The gentleman front and center was featured several times in Album 1 including here and here (also here). My guess is that’s our star’s dad. Who are the women? Several women also were featured in Album 1. For instance, her and her. Are they in the photo above? Unfortunately, there are no notations on the above photo to offer further clues.

I think the guy below is holding tire. There is a pump in the foreground:

Photo 54

There is a clue on the back of his photo:

Reverse of Photo 54

This photo was printed at Sweigart’s in York, Pennsylvania! You know that I went straight to Google with that little tidbit. What luck! There’s is a web page devoted to this photography shop on a web site about preserving York’s history! How neat to get the back story. The information may prove helpful in dating this photo.

Not only that, but I also found a web page on the same site about a dam near York. Could Indian Rock Dam be that pictured in yesterday’s post? Hmmm… the one in yesterday’s post looks too wide to be Indian Rock Dam. Damn!

On to the next photo:

Photo 55

I think the child above is the same pictured on the left here.

Photo 56 presents us with a skyline. Anyone recognize it?

Photo 56

I know we were just talking about York, but I think this might be Harrisburg, based on an image search on Google… Anyone know?

Photo 57 is a slightly different view of the same skyline:

Photo 57

Photo 58 is a nifty shot of a ferry either coming into a dock or departing from one.

Photo 58

I’ve tried to read the name of the boat without any luck. Bummer!

Photo 59 is equally interesting. At first, I thought the contraption on the right was some type of plane. On closer inspection, you can see that it’s a tower somehow anchored into the surf. I almost wonder if it’s a type of amusement ride — maybe swings over the water? Anyone ever see anything like this before?

Photo 59

Album Rescue Project: Album 2, Photos 46-52

More riverside photos in this next set:

Photo 46

Photo 47

Any guesses as to what the contraption is in the image above?

Photo 48

The above might not make much sense, but will be explained a bit a couple of photos down.

Photo 49

I imagine that towers like these were quite a new phenomenon when the above photo was taken.

Photo 50

Anyone know which dam this might be?

Photo 51

Back in D.C. — a destination in Album 1. The above is a photo of the Lincoln Memorial, which opened to the public in 1922 (construction began in 1914). This information helps to date the photo.

Photo 52

Love the cars pictured in this image of the U.S. Capitol.

Grandma Was a Census Enumerator

Gold star for my cousin Daniel, who made an exciting discovery when studying the 1940 census page showing our great-grandparents and fam in Carter County, Tennessee (click on the images for larger versions):

The Hayeses in the 1940 census (image from Ancestry.com).

Nothing too unusual in the crop above — the census page lists my great-grandparents William E. and Della (Crow) Hayes, along with their children including my grandma, G. Alma.

Actually, one discovery does reveal itself in the information listed above — I never knew that my great aunt Ruth was born in Colorado until I saw this page — this was confirmed by relatives at a recent family gathering. There will be another blog post on that story later.

BUT, the really super-huge-big-deal discovery was made by Daniel at the top of the page. Check out the name of the enumerator:

Enumerator: Alma Hayes (image from Ancestry.com).

The enumerator was Alma Hayes a.k.a. Grandma! You think I would have recognized the handwriting. Kudos, cousin Daniel!

Album Rescue Project: Album 2, Photos 40-45

I am posting these photos in the order I found them in the album, but that does not appear to be chronological. Several of the photos below belong with others posted previously.

Photo 40

See the train in the background? There is a helpful inscription on the back of the above photo:

Reverse of Photo 40

I did a Google Images search for “Susquehanna River Harrisburg Pa.” I wonder if the bridge in the background of the photo above is the same as that in several shots among the image results.

Photo 41

The above is such a pretty scene — would love to see it in color, especially those houses peeking around the bend.

Photo 42

Another shot of the train and the bridge.

Photo 43

Back at the lake. The little tot is having fun — the older boy? Not so much.

Photo 44

I love the boy’s bow tie.

Photo 45

Album Rescue Project: Album 2, Photos 34-39

Quite the variety of photos in this next set:

Photo 34

Things to love about this photo: the car; the boy’s hat; the dog (or is that a sheep?).

Photo 35

Yeah, these kids are barely tolerating having their photo taken.

Photo 36

The above is a dramatic shot, isn’t it? Anyone recognize it? If you’ve been to Gettysburg and seen Devil’s Rock (or Devil’s Den Rock), then you’ve seen it before.

Reverse of Photo 36

Love the knickers in the next photo:

Photo 37

This is a different vehicle than what is shown in the background of the first photo above. Perhaps they are posing in front of a new car?

Photo 38

Well, here’s an easy landmark to identify — the Reflecting Pool with the Washington Monument in the background.

Photo 39

Donald Trump’s hair’s got nothin’ on the kid on the left…

Album Rescue Project: Album 2, Photos 28-33

Another timely post given the weather here in the U.S. “Hotter ‘n Hades” as my grandma used to say — makes you just want to jump in the nearest lake:

Photo 28

Hard to tell who the adult is in this photo, but I’m pretty confident it’s our star sporting the swimming fashion of the time period (compare to two photos down).

Photo 29

I *think* this is the same youngster pictured in the boat scene above.

Photo 30

That’s definitely our star on the left. I think that the older child has appeared before and I assume it’s her son. Here’s another photo of him (he’s on the right).

It kills me that our star had kids, who presumably had kids, who ditched these photos. Phooey.

Difficult to know if these next photos are of the same waterway where the two boat scenes above occurred — maybe they were taken on the way home. Anyone recognize these scenes?

Photo 31

Photo 32

Photo 33

The above is a neat shot — I love how the photographer captured the car in the distance. It’s kind of far away to try and figure out what type of vehicle it was, but here’s a crop of it anyhow:

Crop of vehicle in Photo 33