Elizabethtown, PA

I can’t quite imagine anyone sending this card – it seems too stark and intimate – but that could just be my modern sensibilities at work. I have seen plenty of cards sent from hospitals with messages that say “this is where I’m going to be for the next few days”. In this case, though, it would be more like “this is where I’m going to be for the remainder of my life”.

Leavitts Falls, Sky Top, PA

A bit more detail on why I gave up on Instagram: the tallest aspect ratio it allows is 1.24, while a postcard is 1.57 (5.5 inches by 3.5 inches). It means you have to crop 7/8 of an inch from every one. You would think that given that 5.5 by 3.5 has been a standard dimension for cards and photographs for at least 150 years and that phone screens are typically even more extreme (mine has aspect ratio of 1.75), that I would be able to post my postcard of Leavitts Falls in its original dimensions.

Bushkill Falls, Bushkill, PA

On family excursions to the Poconos in the 1970s I saw many billboards for Bushkill Falls, “the Niagara of Pennsylvania”, but we never stopped, my parents calling it a tourist trap. I didn’t see the harm in that, but even as a child I knew the Niagara comparison was strained – aside from being waterfalls, they have little in common.

Leonard Harrison State Park, PA

This location has followed a typical progression: clear-cut in the late 1800s, then a private tourist attraction in the early 1900s owned by said Leonard Harrison, donated to the state upon his death, reforested by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930s and gradually developed into a modern state park.

Chamounix Falls, Philadelphia, PA

I never knew there was a waterfall of this size in Philadelphia, but that’s because it was buried under the Schuylkill Expressway long before I was born.

The message on the other site reads, “My indignation against one person in this house is very great. You will understand when I explain in a letter to follow. Your affectionate pal, Rufus”