Sunday, December 18, 2011

Box of Vintage Photos

A neighbor of mine loaned me a box of vintage photos that he rescued from a house in New Albany, Indiana (right across the river from Louisville) that was being cleared out. Have had a blast going through them and have separated them all into categories which I will share with you here. This first set looks to maybe be just before the time frame I focus on here; a lady having fun dressing up and posing for the camera:

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

The Division Street School

The Division Street School is little known but amazing historic site currently open to the public in New Albany, Indiana. It was built in 1884, first day of classes were New Years Day, 1885, and it operated until 1946. It was a racially segregated school for African American children so the stories they are able to tell are in interesting mix of education in the past and the too often forgotten story of racial segregation in Indiana. Let's take a look inside:

This is the classroom where grades 1, 2, and 3 met:

Originally, there were outhouses in the back, but when plumbing was installed, it was in the basement, and boys and girls had separate staircases:

 The grades 4, 5, and 6 classroom is now used as exhibit space. This is a comparison between actual seats that were available to Whites and African Americans at The Grand Theater in New Albany (which is still standing and used as a rental facility for special events). I was invited to sit on each, which made for a much more powerful comparison than just seeing it does:

The seats for African Americans were just numbered sections on a bench:

Both times I have been shown around the museum, it was by Vic Megenity, one of the people responsible for saving the building when it was threatened with destruction in 1999 and turned it into a museum:

His partner in the project was Kathryn Hickerson, a graduate of the school, now deceased. She lived just long enough to see her dream for the place become a reality:

I had to take this photo through glass but the girl front and center is Ms. Hickerson during her high school days:

Today, the museum is open for walk in tours from 1pm-3pm every Saturday or by appointment. Every 4th Grader in the Floyd County School System spends a full day of instruction at the Division Street School as it would have been at the turn of the century, complete with lunches prepared according to the recollections of surviving students: a cheese or bologna sandwich with an apple or carrot sticks (milk substituted for the well water). These were the last two teachers at the school, Ms. Mamie Starks and Ms. Vivian Smith. According to those who remember, crossing them was just something you did not do!

Monday, November 28, 2011

1924 Pumpkin Nut Pie

The food of the 1920's is something I have enjoyed doing some research on and experimenting with. One of my most valuable references has been my 1924 copy of the Modern Priscilla Cook Book:
Modern Priscilla was a magazine which ran from the late 19th Century until 1930. One of the best recipes I have tested from this book is Pumpkin Nut Pie, which some good friends and I had most recently this past Thanksgiving:
Here is the recipe, exactly as it appears in the book. I use canned pumpkin (pure pumpkin, NOT pumpkin pie filling) instead of the instructions here on preparing pumpkin. And, of course, baking time may need adjustment depending on how quick or slow your oven is. Good luck and if you have any problems, let me know and I will do my best to help:

1 cup prepared pumpkin                                   2 cups milk
1 cup brown sugar                                            2 tablespoons flour
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg                                         2 eggs
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon                                     1/2 cup grated cocoanut
1 teaspoon salt                                                 Pastry
1/2 cup nut meats (chopped)

Mix ingredients, pour into a pastry-lined plate, and bake in a moderately hot oven.
Time in cooking, 45 minutes. Temperature, 400 deg. 5 minutes, 350 deg. 40 minutes, Servings, 6.
To Prepare Pumpkin: -Three tablespoons pumpkin flour, one cup cold water. Let pumpkin flour stand in the cold water thirty minutes, then simmer slowly ten minutes. Cool pumpkin and then us as ordinary strained pumpkin.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

The Rialto

Where would a Vintage Louisvillian pop in to see a movie? Several places- but one of the top picks was the Rialto on 4th Street- serving Louisville's movie goers from 1921 until 1968. Here it is still under construction around 1920:

Up and running in 1942:

And the interior:

Oops- 1969- somebody needed a parking lot:

Would love to have been there for all of the great (now old) films that hit that big screen One of the many was likely Key Largo from 1948.

(Sorry kids- this one is "Suitable Only for Adults.") Finally got around to watching this in its entirety and I highly recommend it. Humphrey Bogart, Lauren Bacall, and Edward G. Robinson all in one place. One of those films that makes you wonder, "HOW did these people wind up being so cool?" Here's some enticement:

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Union Terminal and the USO

Cincinnati's Union Terminal, now the Cinicnnati Museum Center, was built originally in 1933 as a train station. Huge, significant portions of it have been preserved exactly as the way they were in the 1930's and 40's- there are points when you think you may actually have stepped back in time.

On August 27 of this year, the museum hosted a tribute to the USO during World War II. According to the museum: "Cincinnati Union Terminal was home to the first USO Troops-In Transit lounge, located in the terminal's Rockwood Tea Room. This room opened on June 8, 1941and provided a place for memebers of the armed forces to relax, clean up and write letters."

"The Union Terminal Lounge closed on June 10, 1946 and served 3,340,141 people during its five years in operation. The hostesses checked 2,200,000 pieces of luggage and sent out more than one million pieces of mail. More than 4,000 babies were cared for in the second floor lounge that was open for less than three years."

Some of us able to dress in the period went up to help add some ambience to the event. Here is the events mastermind, Vanessa, going over the plan with my buddy Adin and me:

It was an incredible experience; they had a little bit of everything. A big band and the opportunity to do some swing dancing; a car show:

Classic movies on the big screen:

And a real highlight, the Andrews Sisters-esque  group The Manhattan Dolls:

They had it all- talent, beauty, grace, showmanship- you name it. Check them out at and check out YouTube for some of their performances. They do a great show! Incidentally, Louisville resident and World War II veteran Bob Pilkington was telling me the other day that he remembers how new and fresh the "tight harmony" of the Andrews Sisters sounded when he was listening to them when they were a new act.

SO- on my first post, I imagine I should tie this to Louisville somehow. Well- my Grandma is a life long Louisville resident but Cincinnati was always a big part of her life since she used to go up there to spend Summers with her great aunt Minnie. Aunt Minnie is here on the right; looks like someone may have something to answer for:
 There are a lot of stories about Aunt Minnie, but no one has ever said a single negative thing about her. She may look down to business in the photo but by all acounts, she was a total saint.

Thanks for joining me for my first post, everybody! Special thanks to Adin Pemberton for sharing a number of the images from the museum. Other posts will likely be quite a bit shorter, but I have been wanting to share that event.