Monday, November 13, 2006

Rail Road Street 100 Years Ago

Welcome to Sherwood Oregon USA: The way we were at the Turn of the Century. There is a fire-plug at the lower right corner which means the year is later than 1898 (because that was when the water tower was built to prevent a disaster like the Great Fire of 1895). The sidewalk is made of wood, meaning we are earlier than 1913. You would have to visit some fairly remote part of the world to photograph a scene as rugged as this today. But wait.

DETAIL 1: Notice the two gents in front of the McConnell and Hall store. We assume they are the proprietors McConnell and Hall. They seem quite pleased with themselves and their surroundings. The Post Office is there. In the window on the right there is a bill advertising a 4th of July celebration. The Sherwin Williams logo is prominant. You can go to any store by that name today and learn more. The only anecdote about paint in Sherwood is the house that was painted blue in "Bluetown," mentioned elsewhere on this blog (October 2005).
DETAIL 2: Oh oh! Here are some teenagers in front of the Meat Market (Note the well-fed dog). They have probably drifted over from the train depot across the street just to get in on the photograph. Every railroad town had its "depot loafers." Get ready for some rough language. I wonder what they're laughing about.


DETAIL 3: At the far end of Railroad Street, Joe Morback is posing in front of his general merchandise store. And his bank. And his "Farm Produce A Specialty" depot. He wasn't just a successful businessman. J.E.Morback served as Mayor longer than any mayor anywhere in Oregon. He ran a tight ship. But wait! What's that going on at the corner of Railroad and Main just below the bank sign!?

DETAIL 4: The wagon meister appears to be busy keeping his small son's (or daughter's) attention off the couple on the corner. Or perhaps he's focused on not running over a pedestrian (note the leg sticking out). The picture is a bit too blurry to show the crop being hauled. Too oblong to be onions. Could be corn or potatoes.

DETAIL 5: Looks like hanky-panky, but no amount of photo analysis has been able to prove just what's going on here.



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11 comments:

Anonymous said...

Depot loafers are what? Did they work for the train? What kind of talk did they say some type of language like chinese?

Anonymous said...

Me and Anne think that those people are kissing!!!!We don't thing that they should be doing that in the old days.

Anonymous said...

What is hanky pankey? Is it a game?
Why are all the peole standing in the street?
Ben an Tyler

Anonymous said...

Why is there mud on the street?

from Jimmy

JayCee said...

During the Turn of the 19th Century, everyone knew what a "depot loafer" was. He (or she) was a teenager who hangs out at the train depot. Today, you kids do the same thing, except that Sherwood has no train depot anymore.

I always have to smile when I drive by Rainbow Market in Old Sherwood Town and see kids "loafing" at the same spot where this photograph was taken. After 100 years, nothing has changed.

JayCee said...

It really is shocking to see people kissing in an old photograph like this one. I expect never to see "Anne" and her friend "Anonymous" doing that.

JayCee said...

What is hanky panky? I googled that one and was surprised to see that those words come from the ancient language spoken by gypsies! See for yourself at:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hokkani_boro

The gypsies used to travel through Sherwood and you'd need to be careful to hide your money. They were very smart and would talk you out of it. It was usually worth it though. They were fun to meet. Losing your money to them was like paying to see a good movie.

JayCee said...

The "hanky panky" in this old Sherwood photograph is what the couple is doing on the corner. They're not gypsies, I'm sure. They're just doing something "suspicious."

JayCee said...

Everyone except the two kissers are coming out onto the street for one important reason. They see the photographer there. It took a long time to take a photograph then, and there was plenty of time for people to go out and get in on it. As you can see, there are a couple of people who are late getting across the street in time. One of them gets his leg photographed instead of his face!

JayCee said...

You ask why there is mud on the street. The street IS made of mud. This photo was taken in summer, so the ground is hard as brick. If you go to the Morback House Museum and look at the photo closer yet, you will notice some brick half buried in the ground. They tried to pave the streets with brick, but it didn't work. We've got lots of stories about that.

JayCee said...

You ask: What kind of talk did the depot loafers say? Some type of language like Chinese?

Oh my! This is the most interesting question of all. What would have been said to you if you strolled down that wooden sidewalk?

Chinese is possible. The railroad was built by Chinese and at that time there were more Chinese in Sherwood than any other kind of person. But then again, they might have talked to you in German or Italian. These languages were often heard on the streets of Sherwood.

What would they have said to you? At that time, the People of Sherwood weren't always certain about what country they belonged to. Your language made a big difference because the First World War was coming. My own German ancestors were ordered to join the army and to shoot at their relatives in the Old Country!

Can you imagine what it was like to celebrate the Fourth of July when you had stuff like that to think about? Riots would break out.

Imagine not knowing what country you belong to. I wonder if that's why people are behaving the strange way some of them are doing in this photograph!

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