As I write this post, I feel like I’ve found new friends, or old friends, or a friend lost in time. This card led me down a garden path to Hiawatha, Kansas. It appears our sender arrived in Phoenix on December 31, 1908 by train from Kansas. The writer dates the card 12-31- 1909 and the postmark is Jan 1, 1909. Which leads me to wonder, did our writer anticipate 1909, or did the postmaster neglect to update the postmark stamp?
The card is signed Auntie, which I find charming and lovely. This Auntie sent this card to Mrs. Ernst Fairchild thanking her for her card, a package soon to arrive and to report on the weather in Phoenix.
“Dear Jennie, I found your Christmas card in the mail box just as we were leaving for the depot Mon. Had not received the package but thank you just the same. Stella will open and care for it until our return and I know they will be very useful. We arrived here yesterday morning and it seems so good to be out of the snow. The climate here (sic) the same as Calif. They have had snow at the Needles this winter A Happy New Year Auntie”
I wonder what it is that will be very useful? Tea towels, sugar spoons?
A search of newspapers mentions a Mrs. Ernst Fairchild, and sometimes Ernst Fairchild. 1902 finds them having a “jolly time…in celebration of the completion of threshing in their neighborhood”.
1920 finds our Mrs. Fairchild, President of the Saturday Club hosting the meeting. Five o’clock tea was served upon a table with pink carnations.
You may wonder – what is a Saturday Club? An entire book could be written about Saturday Clubs, Shakespeare Clubs, women’s education and philanthropic clubs. These women met on Saturdays, studied classics, read Shakespeare, raised money and changed their towns. Women across the country formed clubs, for women, by women and for the benefit of their chosen social endeavors. This particular club funded traveling libraries, art shows, education for girls and many other social enterprises. The Hiawatha city website lists the Saturday Club as a continuing civic enterprise. The other name for Saturday Clubs, was Shakespeare Clubs – founded for all the same reasons. In fact, in Pasadena, a Shakespeare Club, in a lovely building carries on this tradition, of education, philanthropy and women’s clubs.
The Fairchilds appear frequently in Kansas newspapers, as do other relatives. Among other things Ernst had an apple orchard, where he raised Jonathan, Ben Davis, Rawle’s Janet, Snow, Winesap and “some sweet varieties.” Interestingly, on this July 4th, Rawle’s Janet was an apple grown by Thomas Jefferson at Monticello.
Onto the postcard itself, which states, “Looking West from Third Street, Phoenix, Arizona.” We have two ladies walking across the street in blue and pink. Sincerely, I hope they were not out walking in the summer. I cannot imagine how women functioned in these clothes, at this time, in the summer.
The New York Store sign hangs on the right side of the street, with horses, carriages and a man also crossing. The New York store was opened in the late 1890’s and was one of the first department stores in Phoenix.
It was later renamed Korrick’s, after the founders. A letter printed in the paper, 1909 thanks the Korrick’s for Crystallized Cactus Candy, shipped to Chicago. This exotic treat was being enjoyed by someone in Chicago, the letter saying, “we certain had no idea that the wild growing cactus of Arizona could make such a delicious sweetmeat.”
In 1909, The New York Stores ads included a box where Mr. Korrick promoted a “Vote for the Center Street Bridge and Greater Phoenix.” I have post cards of said bridge, which tells me that the ballot measure passed, Mr. Korrick got his wish and the bridge was built.
Off to find more friends, lost in time.
Happy 4th of July, 2020