Monday, January 28, 2013

7th Avenue, Caldwell, ID pre 1906

Here is an early real photo postcard from the undivided back era (1901-1907). There is no writing, postmark or stamp. On the back is a one cent stamp box.
We are looking West down 7th Avenue toward the intersection with Main Street in Caldwell, ID. The Blaine Street intersection would be to the East behind the photographer and in 1907 would become the site of the new Caldwell City Hall. Feel free to straighten me out if I got it wrong or to comment with additional information.

Up on the right at the street corner of 7th Avenue and Main Street we can see the brick facade of the Caldwell Bank & Trust and across Main on the same side is the I.O.O.F. brick building that housed various businesses over the years. On  the opposite left corner is the Saratoga Hotel identified by its steeples.

Here is the same view today about as close as I can get it on Goggle Street view. Takes a minute to upload sometimes.

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" As the governor crossed Seventh Avenue, he approached the pale cream facade of the Saratoga Hotel, Caldwell's principal hostelry, the fulcrum of its social life." —Big Trouble by J. Anthony Lukas

If we enlarge the photo, we can see the Herr Clothing store nearest on the right (J. F. Herr Clothing Co). A man is squatting down as he appears to be working on a sign at the edge of the street with advertising for the store.
In the distance (West down 7th Avenue) we see what I believe is the Union Pacific Railroad water tank along with a small building to the right facing the train tracks.The railroad had reached Caldwell in 1883 but the station we know today was not constructed until 1906 at the site of this tank. The Pacific Hotel, built by the Union Pacific Railroad, was just to the left of the water tank but I don't see it hereat least not all of it. According to Early Caldwell Through Photographs, the Pacific Hotel was cut in half and moved to 115 North Kimball. When exactly that occurred I do not know. I am guessing it had been moved by the time of this photographwith the Saratoga having now been built across the street. To the left of the tower, but on the East side of the tracks, is I believe a peek of the roof line and chimney of the older depot (or perhaps a section of the Pacific Hotel?) soon to be torn down in favor of the brick building we know today.
In the 2012 Cavalcade, a similar but slightly later photograph shows 7th Avenue after the train depot has been erected and compares it to a contemporary view.
7th Avenue - Idaho Press-Tribune: Cavalcade
Real photographs of Caldwell, ID pre-1906 seem to be few and far between. I am always looking for items from that period that show the same view as would have been seen by Governor Steunenberg during his many walks up and down 7th and Main to the Saratoga and the Caldwell Bank before he was murdered.
Frank sighting in this photo postcard? What appears to be a rather large figure with hat and a full length coat standing on the corner directly in front of the Caldwell Bank & Trust. Frank would have been at the bank and back and forth to his office there on almost a daily basis.

"It wasn't so much of his size that made people cock an eye at the governor; it was the way the weight was distributed, much of it packed around his stubby neck and sloping shoulders, then again just above his belt. A long swatch of auburn hair was invariably plastered flat across the right forehead. The cumulative picture of awkward dishevelment gave many people the feeling there was something 'a little bit different' about Frank. One amicable commentator said he was 'a fit subject for  portrait by Rembrandt.' Another thought he had 'the face of a Roman Senator,' but not the heroic features of Marcus Antonius, more the slightly cockeyed visage of Popilius Lena. A friend fondly remarked, 'He didn't have so many peculiarities, but those he did have, he hugged very close to him.'" —Big Trouble by J. Anthony Lukas

Monday, January 14, 2013

The "New Gate" on 16th Avenue

Here is a real photo postcard I recently purchased showing the home of  Frank and Belle Steunenberg in Caldwell, Idaho. My apology to fellow Idaho collectors, as the bidding got a bit spirited at the end but this was a must have since so few photos exist of the house. Of course, maybe my Idaho friends should apologize to me for driving up that price!
The photo shows a little different view of the house from others we have seen taken shortly after the assassination. In this one, the gate and fence have been repaired and summer and spring grass is covering the ground and tree foliage is in bloom. The card has an undivided back dating it to 1901-1907. It has not been used or postmarked and I would guess the photo to be circa summer/spring 1906. On one back edge, someone has written "Gov. Steunenberg Res." Here is a closeup of what I believe is a newly constructed gate.

Many of you have seen the postcard below of the house and splintered gate taken shortly after the explosion. In contrast to the above card, most of these that I own or have seen are of the divided back era, 1907-1914, and were popular along with the Haywood trial postcard (1907) and continuing for several years thereafter.

We can see the winter bareness of the foliage and a light snow present on the ground at the time of the December 1905 explosion that killed my great grandfather, Ex. Governor Frank Steunenberg. The gate is nowhere to be seen, the explosion having completely ripped it apart, as it did Frank's lower body. We can see boards stacked up against the house. They may have been there to repair the boardwalk or to cover windows shattered by the explosion.
Unfortunately, the Steunenberg home burned down in 1913. If you have any comments, observations or additional photos, please feel free to email me.
This card was sold as a souvenir of the Haywood trial.

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

Saturday, November 5, 2011
Flashback - The Gate on 16th Avenue

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Remembering Former Idaho Supreme Court Justice Byron Johnson

Byron signed my prized copy of
Debaters & Dynamiters at
the premiere in Boise 11/7/2007

I knew Byron had of course been ill for sometime but learned only recently that he had passed away earlier in December. I will perhaps have a little more to say later down the road about my all too limited but treasured contacts with him during visits to Idaho leading up to the production and premiere of Assassination: Idaho's Trial of the Century.

Byron Johnson Interview for IPTV.

Wake for Byron Johnson 1/6/2013.

A favorite of mine: Byron's Surviving the "Battle of Chicago" at the 1968 Democratic Convention.

Listen to Byron recite some of his poetry.

A treasured note from Byron.