Sunday, February 22, 2009

1908 Haskell Texas Old Antique Vintage Postcard

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Today we visit another small Texas town so I can show you some of the details you should be searching for as you examine old vintage postcards. Our destination is Haskell Texas, which is North of Abilene Texas, and is the county seat of Haskell County. The area was originally called Willow Pond Springs in the early 1800s and served as a watering hole for Indians and buffalo hunters. The first settlers arrived around 1879 and Haskell County was created in 1885. The post office was established that year and the town was named Haskell. Being the county seat attracted more settlers and soon the "Road to Ruin" saloon opened, the Haskell "Free Press" began publication in 1886 and the town was finally incorporated in 1907 and reached a population of 2,436 according to the 1910 census. The population grew to 2,611 by 1930, 33,051 in 1940 and 3,832 by 1950. Discovery of an oilfield just outside of town around 1940 helped the town but the population peaked in 1970 at 4,166 and by the 2000 census, the population was reported at 3,106.

With this history in mind, we are ready to examine a circa 1908 A. M. Simon post card of the town. The caption gives us the basic information that this shows the North side of town, the photo used was made from the court house and the title misspelled the town name by using only one "l". Fortunately, this is a very good printing job from a very good quality photo so many of the business names are available which provides valuable historical information about Haskell. I should mention that many postcards had business names deleted intentionally since the local publisher who had the card printed would want to draw attention to his business, might not want to help a competitor or would expect something in return for leaving another store's name. Reading from left to right on the buildings in the foreground, there is Dellis Brothers, a building without a sign, an alley to the two long buildings which are a lumber yard, the Racket Store with W. H. Wyman as the proprietor, Foster & Neal Groceries & Racket Goods and a drug store on the corner. Going North away from the court house on the right is the City Meat Market, Haskell Real Estate Co., a large two story building that looks like a hotel and just beyond that is Guest & Abbott Lumber. Just behind the two long lumber yard buildings in the center of the picture is the Grist Mill & Feed Store. Several blocks further back among the residences is a three story brick building which I assume is the local school house. Two other items of interst are an automobile in the street at an odd angle which is something added by the postcard printer or publisher and there is a windmill in the lot behind the store without a name.

So there you have it. An unusually large amount of detail on one postcard on a very small town. This is a truly exceptional postcard and would be a goldmine for the town historian. Here is one last parting thought. Did the photographer also take a South, East and West view from this vantage point in the top of the Haskell County Court House? I think the chances are very good he did so now the town historian has something to look forward to. Also,from now on, when you look at any history books, carefully check the images and you will find that many are taken from old vintage postcards. This postcard is available in my Texas listings along with 10,000 additional postcards on my website at Moody's Postcards.

CATCH POSTCARD FEVER!! A great way to research you home town.

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