NYC Fire Department engine racing to fire

 

Salt water baths San Rafael, CA

DC-6 Flying over Manhattan

Yesterday my cousin Mark sent me a link to Penny Postcards, a site he thought I’d find interesting. I did. Covering all U.S. states, it collects images of penny postcards showing our cities and towns in long gone days.

Taking a nostalgic trip along Memory Lane, I visited the Connecticut town where I was born, marveling at the wide open spaces and sparsely populated streets where there was always plenty of room to play or sled or bike without danger or restraint. And how quaint the views of old New York City looked with their enormous expanses of empty sky, now crowded cheek to cheek with skyscrapers of bricks and steel and glass.

America came late to postcards. In 1840 Great Britain introduced uniform penny postage and in 1869 Austria came out with the first postcard. After their popularity quickly spread across Europe, America finally got into the act in 1873.

Our little old one-cent postage lasted a surprisingly long time, all the way to January 1952 when the price increased to 2 cents. From then on the Post Office went to town increasing prices left and right till today we now pay $.32 to sent a postcard, a whopping increase of 1500%.

As newer, faster ways to communicate have come along, picture postcards have been fading from the  scene.  Still, they’re fun to look at, evocative reminders of our country when it glowed with a younger, more innocent light.

More Americana: