Monday, September 04, 2006

East Madison Street, Then and Now

Here are some comparison photos of the south side of East Madison Street in Waterloo, Wisconsin.

This first photo is a postcard (der) and it was mailed in November 1910, so using my brilliant powers of deduction, this shows how East Madison Street looked in about 1910! Dirt roads, what looks like a brand new cement sidewalk (replacing those dangerous wooden sidewalks that always had people breaking legs left and right), and some horse and wagon. (Horse and wagons? Horses and wagons?)

The building labeled "Drugs" was built in 1874. Don't quote me on it, but I believe that this building includes that storefront plus the two storefronts left of it plus the section to the right of it, on the corner -- I could not find any other dates on the rest of that building, anyway, to prove otherwise.

The small section of building to the right of the white-ish building (it looks like it belongs with the large section previously mentioned, but it has slightly different brickwork) was built in 1880-something (either 1883, 1886, 1888, or 1889 -- the date is quite worn down, and I was unable to determine the last digit).

The white-ish building was built in 1896.

The next buildings beyond the gap on the left are part of the "Becken Block," which was built in 1897 by Chas. F. Becken.


Now, here is that same view (or close enough!), as seen in April 2006:

Much better roads and lighting, but the buildings are looking pretty dreary. Don't miss that storefront in the center... I know you're all thinking it, so say it with me: OMG, that shade of green! The dark green paint isn't so bad, but that bright green? Honestly! What were they thinking? And the rounded section of building at the corner is in dire need of a new paint-job. I think that sometimes, when you live and work in the town, you tend to not even notice how run-down it's starting to look.

But wait! There's more!

What follows are a series of pictures of these same buildings... from the back-side! First, a long-shot:

Now some closer-up shots:

It looks like whoever runs this red building is at least trying, so kudos to them!


This one isn't SO bad, but it still needs work.

Holy rusted metal, Batman! Does anyone even use this anymore? Does anyone even know who owns it? Has anyone looked inside of it ONCE in the past fifty years? I doubt it! Probably everyone in the 'hood just assumes that someone else on the block owns this pile of junk and wonders to themselves every day why nobody cleans it up. Gross.

I've heard it said that when Waterloo hosted their big Homecoming celebrations back in the early half of the 1900's, that the entire town got together to make everything look spiffy and clean. I'm thinking that another Homecoming is just what this town needs!

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Mule Train, part the second.

Since Stamppy had so many interesting questions regarding the Mule Train photo I posted earlier, I thought I would make a whole new post for my answers, and include a modern-day photograph of that same section of town. Here is the "modern" photo and the mule photo again, followed by question and answer, yay!

Why isn't the lady on the right even looking at the horsies as they pass thru town? Oh, probably because she's seen mule trains before. Did you notice the horses aren't moving? They're just standing there for the photo.
Maybe lady on right was looking at them, but just happened to turn to speak to a friend at the moment the photo was taken. The mules appear to be waiting for something (I hope they're not Waiting for Godot, because, as I recall, he never shows up) -- maybe they're waiting for the bumper-to-bumper-to-buuuuuuumper traffic to ease up. There's a man walking in the back by the wagon -- maybe it's the driver, and perhaps he's stopped to pick up some sausages at the local locker plant.
The shadow of that tree looks a little suspicious, too. The angle of the shadow doesn't match with the angle of the man's shadow on the left.
The shadows all look to me like the sun is coming from the front and left. Note the mule in front with his head turned -- his shadow sticks out more, but because his head is stuck out more.
Have you identified any of the buildings? Would this photo be taken from the 4 corners, or looking in the direction of the 4 corners?
The view is looking up N Monroe, on the west/left side. The two buildings on the left are no longer there -- they are where the Wendt building (The Diner) and the something else building are now. The next long building with the pointies on top is where Raaaaaaay's Tog and Video are. The next building with the upward swoop and a diamond shape near the top is where Minuteman is now. And the next building with three windows is where Audrey has her Place. And that's as far as my "modern" picture goes to.
Why are there 2 different heights of electric poles? And they're so close to each other!
I don't know about the poles... maybe they had one set for telephone/telegraph, and one for electricity?

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Mule Train

Here's a postcard showing a mule train going through Waterloo, Wisconsin. Judging by the buildings, clothing, and style of postcard (divided back, printed in Germany), it must have been printed sometime between 1907 and 1915. The only problem is, I can't seem to find any evidence of a 20-mule team traveling through this part of the country during those specific years.

I thought it might be the Boraxo Company's famous "20 Mule Team Borax" mule team on a tour (from what I've read, the mules were no longer working as borax haulers during that time, having been replaced by narrow-gauge railway in the 1890's), but the Boron Chamber of Commerce people tell me that they toured in the 1950's, going to parades. Clearly, this picture is from a much earlier time.

There is, however, some talk in this story by Joe Zentner of a mule team going to the 1904 Louisiana Purchase Exposition (World's Fair) in St. Louis as part of an advertising campaign, and then touring the East Coast for the next few years, but the story also says that, in late 1906, "the mules were sold and the wagons returned to California," so that wouldn't quite fit, either. Unless the photo was taken previous to the "divided-back era" of postcards, and just postcarded up at a later time. Hmmmm...


2008-July-15 Edited to add:
Another copy of this postcard was recently seen for sale on eBay, with a 1907 postmark.

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Truck question answered!

Thanks to Billy and Ernie over at the Yesterday's Trucks forum, we have an answer to the "What kind of truck is this" question, yay!

Billy answered with: "[S]ure looks like a model A to me... somewhere between 1928 to 1931."

Ernie verified that and narrowed it down more with: "It's a 28-29 Ford AA. The pickups were model A's but the big trucks were AA. The 30-31 Fords don't 'scoop' in at the cowl like a 28-29 does."

Ernie also provided some other fascinating tidbits thusly:
"It's also interesting that 28-29 trucks share doors with Model T's, I guess Henry had some left over."

And when asked when they stopped making Model A's, he responded with:

"The last year for A's was 1931. The classic 1932 Ford came next. They came in 4 cylinder versions - the model B - and V8 versions, the famous Flathead! They are a little more rounded, and use the "French Curve" design extensively in body lines, dash, headlight bar, etc...If you happen to have one out behind the barn it's worth some money, it's the holy grail of early Fords. The 33 and 34 trucks were very similar to 32 but the cars got a thinner, laid back grill and smoother body lines."

Great answers, guys! Thanks a bunch!

Sunday, April 02, 2006

What kind of truck is this?

If anybody knows what kind of truck this is, let me know!! Photo was taken in 1948.

Edited to add this photo, showing the front of the truck!

04-08-2006: ETA: Truck question has been answered, yay!


Anton's horsies:

Smaller version of same: