Our very first holiday card, sent in April of 1911 and acquired just last month, pretty much says it all. This card is located in our Holiday exhibit.
Our 250th postcard has arrived! An early divided back card, it's a view of Wells Avenue looking west with a group of five or six grade school-aged children standing on the corner. Two high school students (or possibly young adults) are standing on the sidewalk. All are clearly posing for the picture. Although summer trees blot out most of the houses, a large church (unidentified) is visible in the background. The card is postmarked August 26, 1908 from Escanaba, and was sent from C. L. French to Sara L. Brown of Grand Rapids, Michigan. While neither our oldest–nor our most beautiful or well-preserved–postcard, it is truly a milestone to reach 250 cards, which represents nearly 20 years of collecting. This card is located in our Other City Streets exhibit.
While most of our postcards were mailed to folks throughout the midwest, some traveled even further away. It's kind of neat to think of all these great cards starting out in the same place, but ending up scattered across the country. To better illustrate this, our Where'd They Go? page contains an interactive map showing the destination city for each of our postmarked cards.
It's the end of an era as the last of Escanaba's mighty ore docks will close down next month after 165 years of continuous operation. Check out our Iron Ore exhibit for a look back at the long history of these massive structures.
As Escanabans anxiously await the spring thaw, I've begun thinking more about the abundance of water surrounding the city and its influence on the area. Early Escanaba was famous for its massive ore docks. Escanaba's excellent location, of course, was what made it all possible. All that water and all those ships made lighthouses a necessity.
Escanaba's most famous lighthouse will always be the iconic Sand Point, often used as a symbol of the city. Since 1938, the harbor has also featured an automated crib light to guide ships in and out. The lighthouse we'll focus on in this post is the Minneapolis Shoal Light Station, located a distance away from Escanaba but vital to its shipping heritage nonetheless.
Nineteenth century shipping traffic into Escanaba, Michigan went by way of Peninsula Point; to guide the traffic there, the Peninsula Point Light was established in 1856. However, by the 1930s, shipping traffic had shifted far south of the point, and in response funds were appropriated for the Minneapolis Shoal Light Station in 1932. Construction was completed in 1934, and the light was first lit in 1935. The station was later automated in 1979, and is still in use.
This post, however, is really less about the history of the lighthouse and more about a new feature we're calling Then & Now, which will focus on one of our cards and provide a view of how the structure or location looks today. We plan to add more of these posts in the future. Enjoy!
Sometime in the near future we'll add our 250th card to the collection!
Our fist card was purchased nearly 18 years ago in June of 1999. A decade later, the Escanaba Postcard Museum website was launched in November of 2009. Some years many cards were added, and other years none at all, but we've always remained passionate about exploring Escanaba's history through these wonderful little time capsules.
Which card will be number 250? Only time will tell. In the meantime, you can read the story of our very first card over on our How It Began page.