Katheryn McMahon Newton Album,  Logistics,  Social,  Travel,  Weather

“A little lady leaving the hotel”

Katheryn McMahon Newton album, cards 95-97

All of today’s cards went from Fred to Katheryn, and build on the cards recently discussed. None of the images were coincidental, but rather connected to or referenced in Fred’s messages.

First up, one from his trip down to Pueblo on the way to Seattle. Here Fred chose an image of the Mineral Palace. Back in the day it was intended to showcase Colorado’s mineral resources. The image certainly appears intended to invoke various classical architectural styles albeit with a decided angularity.

It evidently required a short trip from where Fred stayed in the city, for he mentioned needing to “jump a car,” i.e. take a streetcar. How much of a tourist he was is debatable, as he only anticipated being there about an hour. He dated his message at 9.30 A.M. and planned to be back at the hotel or depot in time for lunch and to catch a train at 12.25.

But Fred fills this mid-length (for him) message with other wonderful details. He went to a show the night before which he names: “The Man of the Hour” (here’s a quick rundown based on a more recent production). Neither the show nor the venue–the Grand Opera House which Fred described as “so-called”–particularly impressed. His verdict on the play: “fair, but did not expect anything different.” As for the trip, he’d consulted the train schedule and the train from Pueblo to Glenwood Springs covered about 300 miles meaning he should arrive around 10.15 that night. He’d spend about 10 hours on the train, but (from my modernist perspective) he likely found it gorgeous during the daylight as he’d be going through the snow-covered Rockies. Last but not least, Fred did not fail to mention he “expected mail at Glenwood” particularly from Katheryn.

Next up: a view of a different depot in Seattle–not the Great Northern but the Union where Fred had had dinner. His experience of certain characteristic Seattle weather predominated his message on this card.

Basically, the night before and that day, it rained. Rather than paraphrase with select quotes, I’ll give you the whole message as I transcribed it–since this time Fred went for longer. The [unclear] section was covered by the postmark stamp and I haven’t yet figured out quite what he wrote.

Dearie: Just finished dinner here at the Northern Pacific Depot and as it is raining as hard I am obliged to wait for a few minutes until it stops so thought I would drop you a card in the mean time. I could not write you last night because I had to go to “Kent” yesterday a small town about 22 miles out + it rained like old Sam Hill, well I missed my train and had to wait until 7.30. When I got home I was tired, sore + mad all things besides being soaked (rain only) + I decided to make up for the delay dearie. Weather here has not [unclear unclear unclear] had some rain but guess at worst last long Am doing fine my early efforts are showing better results every day. Send me a card occasionaly Lovingly Fred

Fred Newton to Katheryn McMahon, 15 May 1908

In case anyone reading this is unfamiliar with the saying “old Sam Hill” the “Sam Hill” is often a substitute for devil.

The third card for today has a familiar image. Check back a few posts and you’ll see it (card 85, in blog post for 29 March). This instance of the Hotel Butler Annex card actually was sent well over a month prior to the other. Quite interestingly, Fred included some details about the card’s creation. It was evidently one of a hundred that the manager had made. The later version might also be one of the hundred, or the stock might have run out and additional copies been made. I’ve set these two side-by-side and they’re identical to my eyes (unlike the case with the cards in the last post).

In this case, the X does not mark Fred’s room but rather where to start counting windows to locate his room.

Dearie:- This is picture of Butler Annex just [unclear]. A photo was taken a week a [unclear] Sunday + Manager Stoddard had 100 of these cards made. My room is on the 3rd Ave side, 5th floor, ten windows from the X as marked. I can look out of [on reverse] my window (Hotel is on quite a hill) + look over the buildings + see Puget Sound. Clear weather I can see the Olympia Mounts. Great sight that, they are 40 miles away + can see their snow caped peaks any decent day. There is a little lady leaving the Hotel + she is giving a farwell supper to a number of her friends she was good + kind + took pity on me + asked me to join in + be of good cheer which I am going to do. I sent a card to both May[Mary?] + Tim[?] last night. Hope your cold is better + you will remain well. Am expecting picture someday so get to it + let me gaze on you, wont you, With Best Fred

Fred Newton to Katheryn McMahon, 1 April 1

Here he enthused over the mountains, kindly in view (versus the rainy day in the previous card). When I assemble the chronography, it may indicate how long he’s been in Seattle. That might cast some context on the invitation to supper from a fellow guest–particularly if he was arriving just as she was departing. Or not. Here also is a rare instance of explicit name-dropping of people they know.

Tune in for the next post, where we’ll have a rare card sent from Fred to Katheryn while in Chicago.

“A little lady leaving the hotel,” copyright 2021, A.R. Henle.

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