Local Author’s New Book Features Historical NE Postcards

A rich pictorial survey of North East, spanning the late 1800s through the mid-20th century,
can be taken in "A Look at North East, PA Through Vintage Postcards,"
a new book published by the North East Historical Society

“Postcard are great snapshots of history and several years ago I thought that a book made up of postcards of North East would be a very nice thing,” Dick Tefft, a founding member of the historical society, wrote in the forward of his second book.

Nearly 250 postcards – most of them full color or sepia tone -- were chosen among some 500 postcards in the society’s own files and private collections. Tefft, who wrote “A History of North East Township Schools” in 2004, collaborated with longtime North East Middle School teacher Charles Wagner to gather postcards. Students in the school’s History Club scanned them for future use.

Before embarking on the project, Tefft admits that he didn’t fully appreciate how much North East history these postcards contained. “Certainly there were some that I could say ‘I didn’t know that’,” Tefft noted.

The book, whose cover features a panoramic view of the intersection of Main and Lake streets, contains 11 chapters, each with its own theme: street scenes, businesses, advertising, local events, grapes, novelty, community assets, scenic areas, homes, people and transportation. Most pages feature two postcards and their respective captions.

Postcards of Main and Lake streets, as well as the Clinton Street business district, reveal a wide range of businesses. In fact, the detail on some of them is amazing, and that prompted Tefft to devote an entire page to a postcard of the West Main commercial block. Its many storefronts contained the Corner Store, a stationery shop, Park Drug Store, National Bank of North East, Bon-Ton Café, a tailor’s shop, Kopcke’s men’s store, Bosler & Couse and Cushman Bros. Printing.

Of course, numerous photos depict the fruit industry, spanning vineyards at harvest, fruit processing plants and wineries, along with hotels, such as the Colonial, Earl, Palace, South Shore and Park.
The former St. Mary’s College is also well represented. One shows rarely seen interior photos of the refectory, study hall, dormitory and lavatory/locker room. “Unless one had some business dealings with the seminary, most people in the community had never been inside these buildings,” Tefft wrote in the caption.

Most postcards are from the first three decades of the 20th century, but there are more recent ones of Mums Motel, Penn Shore Winery, Ken Youngs Fruit Farm and Delhurst Inn and Country Store. Souvenir postcards were first produced in 1893 to advertise the World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago.

The society printed 400 copies of the book, which can be purchased at Grape Country Marketplace, 17 W. Main St., open Monday – Saturday from 11-7 (closed Wednesdays) and Sunday from 1-5 p.m. and the society’s museum on Vine St., which is open Friday and Saturday, 4:30 to 8:30 p.m. Proceeds from book sales will help meet museum operating expenses. {North East News Journal August 2013}



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