Saturday, November 5, 2011

Flashback - The Gate on 16th Avenue

You have seen this photo before in publications and on this blog. It is the home of Ex-Governor Frank Steunenberg and his family. Pictured is the side gate shortly after the explosion that killed Frank. I always like this version with the description in the lower right hand corner. Others have it on the back of the card or no description at all. Click on the image to enlarge for viewing.

You can also view this photo on the City of Caldwell website historical tour page. On the drop down menu you will see "Steunenberg." A few years ago the city had only the description. I sent this image for them to post to go along with those of the other homes in the historical district. Take the tour while you are there.

I have quite a few of these 100+ year old postcards and recently purchased this one off of eBay. Sorry if you were another bidder. You don't see these very often anymore and, like a lot of things, they can be had at bargain prices during these tough economic times. This is the first one I have seen in a couple of years or so.

I just can't seem to resist getting another photograph of the old place when I have the chance and the price is right. Maybe it's because the house burned down in 1913 and I never had the opportunity to stand at that gate (but I have been to the location), sit by the warm hearth or on that big porch. These old period photographs, with their early postmarks and often mailed from Caldwell, provide a link to that lost past. This image is one of only two or three different photographs showing the house. None exist of the interior that I am aware of.

This particular card has an interesting message on the back. It is postmarked Caldwell, ID, August 27, 1909, almost four years after Frank's murder. It is addressed to a Mr. J. Willett (I believe) in W. Seattle, Wash. "Dear. Mr. J. = This is a card which will no doubt be of more than passing interest."

Why would it "be of more than passing interest"? Who is J. Willett? Maybe a mine owner, labor leader, politician or miner? Who or what is Willett's Idaho connection? Always fun to speculate and I have launched a search for "J. Willett." If you have any leads please let me know.

Related Blog Posts

Friday, January 30, 2009
"The Gate on 16th Avenue" - A Century Ago and Today

Saturday, June 7, 2008
The Bomb at the Governor's Gate by Bryce W. Anderson

Saturday, November 20, 2010
Baker Co. Sheriff Harvey K. Brown (1871- 1907): Small-Town Oregon Sheriff’s Role in Solving Murder of Former Gov. of Idaho May Have Cost Him His Life

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