Friday, February 27, 2009

Another Postcard Friendship Friday!

The Million Dollar Pier, St. Petersburg, FL
Happy Postcard Friendship Friday! I have added this to my collection of what is now two vintage postcards! The picture is an airplane view of what was then called the Million Dollar Pier in St. Petersburg Florida. The world famous Million Dollar Pier opened in 1926. The Mediterranean-revival casino style building featured a central atrium, an open-air ballroom with terrazzo floors on the rooftop and an observation deck costing $998,279.18. Trolley tracks ran right up to the casino. Notice the battleships docked at the pier!
A succession of piers at this location included
  • the privately owned Railroad Pier in 1889,
  • the privately owned Electric Pier in 1906, with wonderful night lighting
  • The Municipal pier in 1914 (seriously damaged by the hurricane of 1921)
  • The Million Dollar Pier in 1926
  • The Pier in 1973 to present
The postcard is postmarked February 12, 1934, and the message reads:
Dear Dad,
Howard and I visited the battleships you see in the picture. Mr Bates took Howard's picture on one of the cannon seats and was he tickled. Weather has been perfectly lovely and warm. We go bathing every day. You will be surprised to hear that I can float and is it fun. Heard you had a very bad cold spell up north. Well we didn't get any of it down here. Will write letter later on.
The mailing address is Bogata NJ - which by the way is pronounced Buh-GO-ta. The "Bog" recalls the Bogarts and the "ta" is for the Bantas, two families that used to own all of what is now Bogota which is on the east shore of the Hackensack River. The population was 7,341 in 1930, and the industry was paperboard mills. Their products included baseball cards.
My take on the people involved here is:
Henrietta Peters has taken little Howard (aged 10 1/2) to visit friends in Florida - Mr. and Mrs. Bates (who offhandedly suggested they stop in and see them if they are ever in Florida - never expecting for one moment that they would actually show up on their doorstep - for 3 weeks no less.) Henrietta's husband, Lawrence, who she calls "Dad" manages one of the mill offices. He prefers to take his 2 week holiday at Coney Island in the summer so he has packed Henrietta and young Howard off for a few weeks of frolic in St. Petersburg, FL.
Their daughter, nineteen year old Audry, has also stayed home. She is recently engaged to Albert Blogmeister III - quite a catch according to the bridge club - and she is completing her studies at Windmere College and Finishing School For Women. Mother Peters is staying with Audrey and Lawrence to see to their needs and provide meals that are much more nutritious than those her daughter-in-law Henrietta manages to throw together. Henrietta buys store bought bread - can you imagine!
Meanwhile, in Florida, Mr. Bates is taking great pains to entertain the precocious young Howard and has brought him to see the battleships docked at the Million Dollar Pier. He has been cowed into convincing the ship's Captain to let Howard sit in the cannon seat for a picture. Howard promised not to touch a thing, but just as Mr.Bates expected, Howard did just the opposite, and has fired two cannon shots directly at Tampa, hitting the bell tower on the Sacred Heart Cathedral. The Coast Guard, on full alert, is speeding towards them across Tampa Bay while Henrietta, oblivious as always is busy writing yet another postcard to her husband whom she insists on calling "Dad" which just sets Mr. Bates teeth on edge to the point that his wife is having to give him a powder each night before bed.

The Pier as it looks today.

For more Postcard Friendship Friday Fun visit Marie at Voila! Vintage Postcards!


Marie Reed said...

Musey! I'll say it again.. You are one talented gal! You have an awesome ability to spin quirky and uproariously funny tales! I love the adventures of Howie and Henrietta!

Debby said...

I gotta say, Paul Harvey is not the only one with 'the rest of the story'! Good investigative reporting, Musey!

Anonymous said...

Ha! Thanks for the 'story behind the story'. I'm sure that the circumstances and events as you describe them are bang-on. I see your 'psycho' powers are getting a good workout these days, moosey.


Sparky ♥ ∞ said...

Gosh that was funny Cindy! I could just picture all this happening that way too! That story brightened my day fer shure. (I'll tell you that you're talented but I don't want you to get a swelled head. This is for your own good.) Have a good'en! :o) ♥ ∞


MuseSwings said...

Thanks youse guys! Those all important back stories are just begging to be told! Thanks for your early morning visits to enjoy with my coffee.

Rabbi Lars Shalom said...

hello use

Martha said...

Great tour, I love St.Pete's beaches! Thank you for the great back story. Best to you and the Mr.

dmarks said...

I like battleship tours too.

papel1 said...

What a great way to start the morning. I am sitting at my table with a cup of coffee reading about the pier. You are a fountain of information.

Pearl said...

I love vintage postcards and have a number of them framed and in my kitchen!

Betsy said...

So interesting ....I love these kind of posts that you do!

Nihal said...

It's amazing and exciting to see the change Cynthia: pier from 1934's today. Everything changes, and I enjoy a lot seeing the difference thru these mini mini visual records.
Loved reading the story while drinking my milk before going bed:)
Enjoy your new day, bright morning and a cup of coffee there in FL:)

Sandy said...

Cynthia, you are an incredibly talented story Enjoyed this so much.

p.s. I haven't forgotten about my country western song, I keep getting bits and pieces floating through my mind...ha.

Janeen said...

Such a fun post, as usual! That is such a pretty card too! Let's take your collection into my wanna-be library and we'll invite Lavinia too. Perhaps the Gem will show up among the book ends! :)

Betty Flocken said...

Sandy from Rancho Cucamonga wrote about you on her blog and I thought I'd pay you a visit. Glad I did. I enjoyed your muses (sp?) very much. Liked your version of the story too.

Midlife, menopause, mistakes and random stuff... said...

OMG.......I love that postcard Muse Swings!!!!
I collect old books, especially first editions. I feel like you, when I am reading one, I wonder who was reading it before me and what their life was like.
Thanks.......I loved this :)
Take good care and......

Steady On
Reggie Girl

ROSIDAH said...

Hi Cynthia, sorry if this comment shows up twice. I had some trouble here. I love the detailed story behind the postcard. Beautiful images of the pier. Best wishes :)

Anonymous said...

Awesome! Gotta love vintage!

sarala said...

I like the story you've made of it. It is interesting to think of the lives of these long ago and maybe long forgotten people.

Bibi said...

I come to your blog nearly every day and am always entertained/amused! I love this story, too.

Sheila said...

Great story you have woven around the card! And it's so interesting to learn a little history around the pier.

Jeanne said...

Store bought bread? That slut! (because slut used to mean "poor housekeeper" -- see how far we've fallen?)

Dave King said...

That made a litle bit of local history come alive. Always interesting, that. Good blogging!

LaY hOoN said...

Thanks for the story behind of the postcard. Love the now and previous photo of the building.