This is the first early-1900s postcard I’ve seen that refers to the Rockport Granite Company pier by the name Granite Pier. Although that is what we call it today, I had not previously found any references from that era that use the name.
This postcard was postmarked on June 18, 1908, and mailed to an address in Roxbury, Mass. The note on the back, dated June 17, urges the recipient to “begin to think about coming on the steamer.” The writer adds, “It has not begun to run yet but thought it was time for you to think it over and come before the fog.”
In recognition of Motif No. 1 Day tomorrow in Rockport, here is a gallery of views of our famous landmark.
This postcard, with its beautiful view of Straitsmouth Island and lighthouse, is unique. I have over 100 postcards that were published by the Rockport Photo Bureau. Yet this is the first I’ve seen that used colorization. The colors are subtle and it is difficult to say whether they’ve faded or were always that way. But the effect is striking. It is also the first postcard from this publisher that I’ve seen with no top border, perhaps a result of the color printing.
The postcard has no date or postmark. By comparing the lettering and markings on the back to other postcards from Rockport Photo Bureau, I estimate this to be from around 1925.
In honor of Earth Day today, we present this February 1973 photograph of Toad Hall Bookstore in Rockport, another photo from the series of Rockport photographs taken for the U.S. government by Deborah Parks.
Ever since its founding in 1972, Toad Hall has given 100 percent of its profits to environmental projects. Toad Hall’s founder, Nelson “Buck” Robinson, was an assistant dean at Northeastern University when the first Earth Day was held in 1970. Inspired to help the environment, he found his way to Rockport, bought the old Granite Savings Bank building, and opened the bookstore. (I believe that is Robinson in the center of the photo.)
Since then, the Essex County Ecology Center, which operates the bookstore, has gone on to fund a number of environmental projects. According to the store’s website, it has donated over $133,000.
Robinson died in December 2003. He had been a graduate of Williams College, the University of Michigan Law School and Harvard Business School.
This postcard was postmarked in Rockport on July 31, 1909. The sender writes that the day before had been “96 degrees in the shade.”
I cannot make out the gold letters on the black sign above the store behind the wagon, but the white lettering in the window says, “Salada Tea.” Note the trolley tracks in the foreground.
The postcard was published by E.C. McIntire of Gloucester and printed in Germany.
Can you identify the people in these photographs? They are from a series of Rockport photographs taken for the U.S. government by Deborah Parks, a Rockport resident at the time of her death in 2010 and the wife of Winfield Parks, a well-known National Geographic photographer.
The caption says that this is the Steamer Wilhelmina and that it is taking on granite bound for Key West, Florida. The steamer is tied up along what today is known as Granite Pier. The small building in the center background appears to be the Rockport Granite Co. headquarters building that still stands just next to the Stone Bridge.
I have not been able to find any information on this vessel. The only Steamer Wilhelmina I can find was a much larger ship that originally served as a passenger steamer between San Francisco and Honolulu and that then served as a Naval vessel during World War I.
In 1909, a Rockport Granite Co. four-masted schooner bound for Key West, the William C. Tanner, was lost en route. According to a new report, she carried 1,654 tons of granite, which was to be used in construction of a jetty in Key West. Perhaps the Wilhelmina’s cargo was destined for the same project.
This postcard has no date and identifies no publisher. It does say that it was printed in Germany, which indicated that it was published sometime prior to 1917.