Page 4 - Postcards from the Past—Then & Now Pictures of Eau Claire, Wisconsin -- Sample Pages
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POSTCARDS FROM THE PAST — Eau Claire1Greetings,I love imagining how places looked in the past. As I walk down the street I try to picture what I’d have been looking at if I was standing in that same spot a century or 50 years ago.The popularity of picture postcards, beginning in the early 1900s, has left us with a wonderful record of life over the past dozen decades. Postcard photographers weren’t after artistic shots. Their goal was to capture images of contemporary, day-to-day, public life. “This is what I saw today” was a common thought written on the back of these photo- graphic time capsules.Most of the postcards I’ve found were not dated by the publisher. A copyrightdate wasnot typicallyincluded, perhapsto give the cards a longer shelf life in the drugstore or tourist destination.Fortu-nately, ifthe cardhad beenmailed, itusuallyincluded a postmark with the date. That doesn’t tell us precisely when the picture was taken, but it does indicate that it was taken before the date on the postmark, and postcards typically were sold within a couple years of creation. Most cards in this book were dated using the post- mark, if there was one. In some cases the date is based on similar cards that appear to be from the same time period by the same publish- er or from visual cues, such as automobiles of a certain era.My approach to taking the pictures for this book was to stand in exact- ly the same spot as the original photographer had stood when the first picture was taken. Being off by even a few feet meant that I couldn’tPublished by Northern Post Card Company, Eau Claire, Wis.

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