Schenectady, NY

This was called the Great Western Gateway because it’s the most level route to the interior of the U.S. anywhere between Maine and Georgia. The “Great” part of the name fell out of use somewhere along the way.

Rochester, NY

Here is what the Ellison Park web page has to say about its disc golf course: “If you’ve never played before, there’s never been a better time to get out and learn.” I respectfully disagree – I think that a January evening during a pandemic is one of the worst possible times to learn.

New Castle, DE

I seem to have acquired the postcard collection of Bob Millspaugh, formerly of Newburgh, New York. What is curious is that far more of the postcards were sent from Bob than to Bob. How did they end up back in the same place, I do not know. Quite a few were sent by Bob to his mother, Fannie Millspaugh, so it makes sense that these would have gone back to Bob, perhaps after her death.

Bob’s writing is very perfunctory, perhaps hardly worth mentioning, but taken together they tell a bit of a story. I have two copies of this card, one from 1952 and one from 1954. Both make reference to the annual Dupont company bowling tournament held in late March. In 1952 the weather was almost like summer, but in 1954 there was heavy rain all the way.

Yosemite National Park, CA

I don’t know if I’ve said this already, but for me these postcards represent my travel for this year, both in space and time. Today I imagine myself emerging from the nearly-mile long Wawona Tunnel, where I am greeted by El Capitan to the left, Half Dome in the distance, and Bridal Veil falls straight ahead. Incredibly, the parking lot is entirely empty. I ease my 1937 Packard Super Eight to a halt and take in the view, making small talk with a couple of hikers.

Multnomah Falls, Cascade Locks, OR

I sent a card of Multnomah Falls to a record-shop owner I know in Portland, both because it’s his home state and because the caption on the back contains the very band-name-like phrase “The Smashing Leap”. The full sentence:

“It has many falls along its picturesque course and the climax of its dashing is the smashing leap it makes for union with the Columbia”.

Park Avenue Tunnel, Ironton, OH

When I was about 22 I spent a week here working at a former coal tar plant that had been classified as a Superfund site. As usual on these trips, there was not a lot for me to do (I was the “quality assurance officer”, little more than a glorified security guard) and I began seeing how many different Ohio and Kentucky town names I could find stamped on the many loose bricks scattered about. The site foreman thought this was neat and he kept it up after I left. A few months later, he sent one of my colleagues back to my office with a large box of bricks, which he delivered to my desk with great effort, swearing the whole time. A nice story, but that foreman was also the most racist person I’ve ever had to work with.