Monday, February 14, 2011

Early Photos

Column sent to Frederick Leader and Frederick Press
October 1, 2009

Ligon House, 1905
The Robert Leonard Ligon home was located at 123 North 12th Street in Frederick. Pictured in 1905 are Mr. Ligon, Alice Waggoner Ligon, Anne Ligon (later Mrs. H.T. Harrison), and Ernest Mayfield Ligon. Many years later, the property was purchased by A.S. Minter who moved his farm home to the location. The original Ligon home was kept on the property, but turned 180 degrees to face the alley. Its new address was 212 E. Floral. In 2010 the property was purchased by Frederick's First Baptist Church and both the Ligon house and the Minter house were torn down.

Grand Avenue
This is a postcard photo, dated 1914, that shows a colorized, enhanced version of the 200 block of West Grand Avenue. The First National Bank (now BancFirst) was located at 200 West Grand in the building that is now City of Frederick offices. The Wide-a-Wake Variety Store was located at that time in a building where the city’s drive-through is now located. The building’s exterior received a major update in the 1950s, giving it a completely different look from its original. Colorized, enhanced postcards like this one were very popular in the decade after 1910. This postcard was printed and sold by the Wide-a-Wake.

Simpson Brothers Livery
This old photo was labeled on back, “Livery Stable, across from (current) Post Office.” The photo is undated, but would have been very early. In a 1919 Frederick directory, this address was listed as maintenance and warehouse for the Ozier Automobile Company.

Davidson Threshing Machine 1921
This unnamed wheat threshing crew worked near Davidson in 1921.

Red River Bridge 1920s (two photos, above and below)
These two photos show the first roadway bridge that crossed the Red River south of Davidson. The wooden bridge was built sometime after 1916 and was damaged or washed out several times before being replaced in the 1930s by a concrete bridge. The bridge crossing was part of the coast-to-coast Lee National Highway in the 1920s. These photos were taken by Clifton Fine Photographer, Vernon.

Photos Capture Life in Early Tillman County
Photos of early Tillman County are fascinating because many of them picture a different way of life. Many of the old photos show familiar landmarks, but with unfamiliar surroundings.
The fascinating pictures with this week’s column, for instance, show numerous pieces of the area’s past.
The Tillman County Historical Society is always looking for old photos that show life in the area “the way it was.”
If you have historic photos that we can scan for archive at the museum, bring your old photos by the Pioneer Townsite any weekday between 9:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. and leave them with Frances Goodknight. Make sure that your name and contact information is with the photos, and when they have been scanned we will get them back to you or call you to pick them up.
Of course, we will also accept photos for donation.
We will not scan regular family photos or snapshots, but we do have an interest in scanning historic photos that capture pieces of the area’s history. That could include sites or buildings, events, farm scenes, school activities, church or club activities, etc.
Or, if you have already scanned digital copies of historic photos, we would like to have copies. Load your digital copies of historic photos onto a CD and leave them at the Townsite.
I often scan old photos for historical society archives, and the most frustrating thing about that process is finding great photos that are not labeled. Too often there is no way to know the location of great old buildings, the context of historic scenes, or the names of people in pictures.
My advice to everyone is to write photo descriptions, dates, and names of individuals on the back of photos using a good, non-smearing pen (such as a fine-point Sharpie) or pencil. It’s an important project. Do not put off doing it.
With the wide availability of scanners, many people are scanning their own pictures and it is a great way to preserve and distribute them to family and friends. Too often, though, the pictures are scanned without context.
For that reason, I keep a photo key and I suggest that others do that, too. I assign a number in the name of every photo along with a one- or two-word name. I then keep a written key in a separate computer text file (or it could be on written paper form) that corresponds with the photo number and name, and which contains all of my notes about the photo, including anything that was written on back of the original. It’s an easy way to maintain context for the scanned photos.
- - - - -
Joe Wynn is a member of the Tillman County Historical Society Board. He can be contacted by e-mail at

No comments:

Post a Comment