Collecting,  General Info,  Katheryn McMahon Newton Album,  Logistics,  Travel

Three Domes and One Hotel

Katheryn McMahon Newton album, cards 86-89

First up: a view of Washington, D.C., bearing the initials J.T.R. Still no additional information about the sender. As with others, they directed the card to Anna McMahon of 1800 State Street, Chicago.

Colorized photo of the Capitol at Washington, D.C. Handwritten initials at bottom center-right.
J.T.R. to Anna McMahon, 13 July 1907

The fact that the card presents a DC image does not also mean the sender was in D.C. at any time. Cards, after all, were a highly mobile medium (they still are for that matter). Whether or not J.T.R. acquired the card in Washington, they did not post it in there. Rather, the reverse clearly denotes the card as sent from Niagara Falls on 13 July 1907. This date happens to also be the day J.T.R. sent Anna McMahon a number of cards (mostly of the falls or vicinity) from the same place. So it’s possible that J.T.R. acquired this along with others in Niagara (as there’s no reason a store there couldn’t carry it) or had it with them. We’ll never know.

As an aside, it is far from unusual for senders to mail multiple cards to recipients at the same day, time, and post office. This is particularly the case when recipients were known to be collectors. Sometimes people were quite generous in how many cards they’d send a collector. In this case, the initials indicate the sender is a different person from the recipient, however I have a different album where a number of the cards were ones the sender sent herself for her collection. Perhaps she valued not merely cards but having them postmarked, or wanted to prove she’d been somewhere. (As it happens, I have a number of cards she sent herself from Niagara Falls a year or two prior to J.T.R.’s visit.)

There’s another little mystery attached to this card.

Stamp. Postmark Niagara Falls, 1 P.M., 13 July 1907. Addressed to Miss Anna McMahon 1800 State St. Chicago Ill. McMahon written above crossed out "Crawford."
J.T.R. to Anna McMahon, 13 July 1907

As can easily happen, the sender changed their mind when writing the recipient’s name or accidentally inscribed the wrong name. Which? Again, we’ll never know.

The next cards comprise part of the messages Fred sent Katheryn as he traveled from Chicago to Seattle.

Entrance to Pavilion, Salt Air, Great Salt Lake, Utah
Fred Newton to Katheryn McMahon, 17 February 1908

From Salt Lake, he sent an image that certainly deserved to be tinted. It’s very nicely done too. The producer, Edward Mitchell, was evidently known for developing techniques for printing.

Fred inscribed a medium length (for him) message on the reverse of the card from Salt Lake. Dated 17 February 1908 (and postmarked the 18th), he wrote shortly after eating at a restaurant “+ feel[ing] slightly recuperated after a 12 hour steady ride aboard train,” a time which he also described as “tedious” despite having “met several very nice sociable parties.”

He evidently also arrived very late at night, since he noted he wrote the card at 1.30 A.M. He had planned to write her from Glenwood Springs, where he left from, but the train came before he’d done more than write Katheryn’s name and address. This may or may not be that card, as the Salt Lake City image suggests he obtained it there but, as per above, it’s also possible it was for sale in Glenwood Springs. Interestingly, Fred prefaced the information about the train’s arrival with “I want to explain” so perhaps he anticipated her noticing he hadn’t sent a card saying he was leaving there. There are certainly other instances where he dropped a card in just as he was departing from one place or another. This is another instance where I look forward to placing the cards in chronological order!

The Albany, a large hotel in Denver.
Fred Newton to Katheryn McMahon, 11 February 1908

The inscription on the next card is an interesting contrast to the image–and provides additional information as to how Fred encouraged Katheryn to send him cards along his journey. He relied upon his mail being forwarded, but he even as he updated her on his movements he also alerted her to where he would be in the future. For, even as he arrived in Denver and settled into the Albany (pictured above), he advised Katheryn to send cards to Colorado Springs.

Exactly what he meant by specifying “The Hub” isn’t clear. It didn’t survive the passage of time (a quick internet search resulted in a car wash by that name, hardly the kind of place he’d reference) unless there’s local lingo I’m unfamiliar with. That’s the kind of thing that, if I decide it matters down the road, may be explored with the assistance of older maps and/or directories for the town.

Lastly, we have another card directed to Anna McMahon, sent from West Baden, Indiana. This lacks any information as to sender. The handwriting looks vaguely familiar and it’s likely the sender directed other cards to one or another McMahon (I distinctly remember another from French Lick, for one).

A scene at French Lick Springs, Indiana, showing a towered building topped with a dome and a gazebo.
[Unknown] to A. McMahon, 22 September 1906

The French Lick Springs still exist in Indiana, by the way. I didn’t see any dome or observatory when I viewed a modern photo of the hotel. Yet the pattern of windows (the second-to-top row have arches at the top whereas the others are rectangular) was visible around the building. The dome must have been removed during one or another remodeling phase.

“Three Domes and One Hotel,” copyright 2021, A.R. Henle.

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