There’s something undeniably intriguing about old postcards and the stories behind them. This week and next we will be featuring some of the postcards found in our archives, and we invite you to comment and offer your own interpretations of their contents. Next week’s post will cover correspondance between members of the Tapley and Philip families.
First up is this fascinating postcard with a bit of a mysterious background we like to call “One big tree!”
Although this photograph doesn’t show a tree near Whistler (and possibly not even a tree near Vancouver), it is in the Philip collection, and was given to either Myrtle or Alex at some point.
The photograph in this postcard is purportedly from 1895, and shows several people posing on a giant felled fir tree (again, according to the postcard). The caption reads, “This fir giant measured 417 ft. in height with a clear 300 ft. to the first limb. At the butt it was 25 ft. through with bark 16 in. thick. Its circumference being 77 ft.; 207 ft. from the ground its diameter was 9 feet. Felled near Vancouver in August ’95 by George Cary, who is seen upon the ladder.”
This is one mysterious image – there appears to be a great deal of folklore surrounding the “Cary Fir” which even made it into the Guinness Book of World Records. Read this article and response for yourself and decide what you believe: http://www.spirasolaris.ca/DouglasFir.pdf.
Our next postcard is a bit out of season, but we thought we’d share it regardless…
This Christmas postcard showing an early view of Vancouver (sans skyscrapers) reads, “Wishing you a Merry Xmas and a happy and victorious 1943.” The card itself is signed by Leonard Frank, and the photograph is likely his, as he was a well-known photographer in British Columbia in the early half of the 20th century.
When this card was produced, World War II was in full swing, and wishing for a victorious year was a common sentiment.
Frank originally hailed from Germany, and was the son of one of Germany’s earliest professional photographers. Struck by gold fever in 1892, he traveled to North America – living first in San Francisco and then Port Alberni on Vancouver Island.
A camera won as a raffle prize shifted his direction entirely, and he moved to Vancouver in 1917, quickly becoming the leading commercial/industrial photographer in the city.
Frank also spent quite a bit of time at Alta Lake, and several of his photographs of the surrounding area can be found in the Museum archives. A frequent guest of Rainbow Lodge, he was also a friend of Myrtle and Alex Philip, to whom he sent this postcard.
For more information on Leonard Frank, see www.vpl.ca/frank/biography.html
This Sunday, keep an eye out for the Museum staff in the Canada Day Parade dressed as postcards from around the world!