Saturday, June 28, 2014

May Day Parade in Caldwell, Idaho circa 1906-1910?

For a mere few bucks, I purchased this nice old photo taken in Caldwell, Idaho, perhaps circa 1906-1910. The location is near the intersection of 7th & Main Streets. We see the Saratoga Hotel with a crowd of parade watchers on the balcony over the entryway and to the left across the street we get a peek of the Caldwell Bank & Trust
The photo looks to be from one of the many parades that took place down Main Street—but which one and when? Let's take a closer look. We see Main Street is still dirt but the interurban tracks are in evidence which would take us to about 1907.
Who is Dr. M. Nichter, Veterinary Surgeon? I have not found much of anything on this gentleman nor spotted any other photos in Early Caldwell Through Photographs, Canyon County A Treasure of Land and Its People (V. 1&2) or the Nichter name in any of various Idaho reference books. Help me out here if you can. Thanks to Jenny, the friendly seller of this photo, we do have a couple more clues. It seems Dr. Nichter crossed paths with Jenny's Great Uncle Walter. Here's her description of their connection:

"Offered for sale is a vintage PHOTOGRAPH by Hildreth Studios Caldwell, Ida. I am including copies of census records and other documents pertaining to the man in the photo. He is in a parade (note people watching from balcony) driving a wagon with 2 horses and advertising DR. M. NICHTER VETERINARY SURGEON.  Mr. Nichter, whose parents were born in Germany, is wearing a dashing black top hat. Matt Nichter was born in about 1872 in Indiana and remained there until after the 1900 census where he is found in Wea, Tippecanoe, Indiana where his occupation is listed as a "Horse Trader". It must have been about this time that he met my Great Uncle, Walter Dispannett, also from a family of horse traders. Walter drove his first harness race in 1907 at the age of 21. By 1910, Mr. Nichter had moved west and was living in Caldwell Ward 2, Canyon County, Idaho and listed his occupation as a "Vet Surgeon". He married April 7, 1919 to May Sullivan in Payette, Idaho but by 1920, she is no longer in the picture as he is listed as a boarder in the James Sively household on Blain Street in Caldwell, Idaho. On various census's, he is listed as a widower and divorced so I don't know what happened to May. After 1920, he moves to the State of Washington where he appears on the census records in 1930 and 1940 in Yakima County. He dies in Yakima, Washington October 2, 1944 at the age of 72. This information led me to assume this picture was taken while he still lived in Idaho between his arrival in Idaho after the 1900 census and his leaving before the 1930 census. He must have sent it to his old pal, Walt Dispannett, as he came from items I inherited from Great Uncle Walter. Please examine the photos and ask questions before bidding. It may be that a local historian in Caldwell may be able to date the photo exactly from town records of when the parade took place."—Jenny
On that 2nd floor outdoor balcony over the Saratoga entrance we see a party of onlookers. Anyone you know? I don't see any Steunenberg's. Although pretty obvious, we know this photo is at least pre-1923 as the remodeling and 3rd floor addition to the Saratoga has not yet been done.
Well here's a clue. To the immediate right of the Saratoga entrance, we see the business is a "Barber Shop" as indicated on the window and by a barber pole to the right. I believe the storefront was once the Caldwell Forwarding Company office and later H.H. Jones Furniture & Undertaking but not sure the time period. In the window, but difficult to make out, is a advertising poster. The first three lines are something like: "Watch May Day, .....on 1, May, Caldwell Idaho" or similar. So I am figuring this is in fact a May 1st—May Day Parade but don't yet know the exact year.
Over to the left we get just a peek of the Caldwell Bank & Trust and maybe someone will recognize this fella standing in the crowd. I see a couple shadows in the windows of the bank but probably not Frank, as I am guessing this photo is post assassination but perhaps around the time of the Haywood trial. Frank's brother, A.K. Steunenberg, may have passed away already too.
The photo is by Hildreth Studio of Caldwell, IDA. I have seen the same name and logo but searching for specifics on the photographer and when the studio existed.

As I just received the photograph today, I have barely begun to search Idaho records but maybe someone out there can add to the information so far. If you have more clues or knowledge about this photo please let us know. You can click on comments or send an email to: john.t.richards@sbcglobal.net 

2 comments:

Patricia said...

The ladies' white blouses and hats tell me it is probably in the 1909-1912 time frame. It certainly isn't much earlier than that. As you get closer to 1920, the hats get smaller, and around 1920 you would expect to see the little cloches. I think one man is wearing a straw boater, which you might see in this time frame also.

John T. Richards Jr. said...

Thank you Patricia. I knew my hat expertise would be sorely lacking! Appreciate the help. Time frame sounds reasonable. Thanks, John