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An ordinary park bench to the casual observer

Katheryn McMahon Newton album, cards 130-133

The last cards in the album! There are a few non-cards for the next post, then on to a chronological overview–and we’ll be off to our next set of cards (I’m looking forward to introducing Madge to the world). But I’m getting ahead of myself.

Chicago, Ill., Coliseum
“Mama” Newton to Mrs. Fred Newton, 7 October 1908

First up, one of the few items in the album that affirm Katheryn married Fred. In this case, his mother (name alas unknown right now) sent them a postcard which means I have their address in Seattle as of late 1908. If they were still there (or nearby) in 1910 this may help locate them in the census. (FYI: it was 830 17th Avenue.)

“Mama” Newton’s message, to my mind, is mostly a matter of reaching out and connecting across the distance and perhaps affirming pleasure in their married state. She wrote “aint this pretty” on the front, referring to the image of the Coliseum, and on the back:

“Dear Children all are well from mama no news it is a beautiful day mama newton”

“Mama” Newton to Mrs. Fred Newton, 7 October 1908
Birdseye View from the Chutes, White City, Chicago
Fred Newton to Katheryn McMahon, 31 July 1907

Next up is another in the group of cards Fred sent Katheryn while courting her, and while she was off in Michigan and he remained behind in Chicago. This card, as shown, documents that he was out-and-about. The White City referenced in the card was an amusement park.

On the reverse, he reported receiving another postcard from her. He also bought her something “swell” made of gold–unfortunately a second postmark obscures what it was–that he planned to send care of general delivery. Even though she’d sent him a postmark, he wanted a letter in addition for he closed with”write me that letter or I’ll – well just wait.”

As for this next-to-last card, it offers further insight into their courtship–and where it took place. Note the added text identifying the location of a “Famous Bench” in “Lake Front Park”.

Grant Park and Illinois Central Depot, Chicago, lll. See post for added inscription.
Fred Newton to Katheryn McMahon, 20 January 1908

This was likely one of the last postcards Fred sent Katheryn from Chicago before his trip west–or at least one of the last ones in the album when it reached me. On the reverse, he expanded a bit about the bench “One of the most interesting sights when visiting this park is an ordinary park bench to the casual observer but is famous & renowned to two citizens of this great city”. It is, perhaps, worthy of note that he directed this particular card to Katheryn at her workplace.

Since the majority of the cards document the relationship between Fred and Katheryn from his perspective, it is appropriate that the very last card do so as well.

City of Benton Harbor (boat) plying between St. Joe, Michigan, and Chicago Light House, Chicago Harbor
Fred Newton to Katheryn McMahon, 12 November 1907

Since I, not Fred, will have the last word on the cards as a whole, I’ll leave this last inscription for you. Tune in again next time for a letter or two and then onward!

Dear Katherine: Can memory take you back to that bright + Sunny Sat afternoon when we entered this harbor. The “way” was clear then as the day not a cloud in the sky I could not resist this little reminder, the picture + ect. having stirred up those never to be forgotten happy hours Yours as always Fred

Fred Newton to Katheryn McMahon, 12 November 1907

“An ordinary park bench to the casual observer,” copyright 2021, A.R. Henle.

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