2009-08-14 / Columnists

Historical Views of the Rockaways

The Unwitting Preserver Of Area History … Nationwide!
From The Rockaway Museum by Emil Lucev, Curator Dedicated To The Memory Of Leon S. Locke

This rather studious-looking postcard vendor of old most likely never thought that he would be instrumental in preserving historical images, and at times valuable notations and information, about persons and places from which the cards were mailed.

Weather reports were aplenty, and always declared sunshine and clear skies! But who went to the beach on a rainy day.

Picture postcards were sold in all drugstores, pharmacies, candy stores, beachfront souvenir shops, hotels, and train stations. A few beachfront concessions (like the one shown today) sold postcards only, and the many local photo studios provided individual photographic portraits or family and group pictures with postcard backs for a simple message and a postage stamp. Some industrious persons wrote a letter in and down and around and around and up and down again - front and back - plus all over the picture and all around the border. Some cards were written in German, French, and Polish … and these looked like a condensed version of an Encyclopedia Britannica. The image was hardly discernable, and at times was a valuable historical image of the past.

The sign above and to the left of this vendor states that stamps were also sold here. No doubt he had a mailbox nearby, or, as a good business practice, provided that service at no charge. The good old days (free of charge, that is).

So I say hats off! And thank you to the postcard vendor of yore. You have preserved history … above and beyond your sales.

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