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A Vintage Postcard Tour of the USA:
On the road again with the Phantom

People have been collecting postcards since the late 1800s. It's a hobby that seems to have no end in sight. Just log onto ebay and you'll find thousands of postcards changing hands every day. The Phantom has been collecting them for years too, so Clever Magazine has decided it would be fun to make a virtual tour of the US focusing on some of the Phantom's vintage postcards.


California here I come!

The backside

This postcard is called a "Large Letter Linen Greeting Card", circa early 1940s. 
It was mailed with a one cent "for defense" stamp that was cancelled by the post office 
with the message: "Buy Defense Savings Bonds and Stamps". 


California is Clever Magazine's home state so we'll start our virtual tour here. Let's begin in the Southland and then move north. First up is Santa Catalina Island.

Santa Catalina is awaiting for me!
This is a "Linen" of Santa Catalina Island, just off the southern coast. Catalina has been a popular 
off-beat tourist attraction for years. Looks inviting, right? (Linen postcards are recognizable because the paper they are printed on has the texture and feel of linen fabric. This card was probably printed in the 1940s.) 

The most efficient way to travel through California is via Interstate Highway 5, which dissects the state in half lengthwise, right through our great central valleys. It's an efficient way to drive through California, but it's not a very pretty sight, just miles and miles of farmland, dotted mostly with farm towns. The dramatic beauty of California lies mainly in its mountains and along the coast. 

On the Road to the Real Palm Springs
This small postcard features the road to the "real" Palm Springs Canyon, circa early 1950s. 
The road has not changed in the past 50 years. Be careful of that rock when venturing into this 
Palm Springs oasis. If you wanna see more about Palm Springs, check this out!

Palm Springs lies directly east of Catalina on the map, but there's no direct route. You have to travel through some horrid freeway traffic, but it's worth the time and effort. There's plenty to see in So. California, of course, and we don't have to list the sights here. Tourists know all about Disneyland and so forth. But sometimes they miss the off-the beaten track beauty, like Death Valley and Joshua Tree National Monument

Bette Davis house
Maybe we'll stay in LA long enough to take the Bus Tour of the Star's Houses.
This old linen postcard features the home of Bette Davis!

Back on the road, head west again and follow the Pacific Coast Highway up to Santa Barbara, one of California's truly beautiful coastal cities. And then take either Highway 1 (the long way) or 101 north to see the best, I mean the rest of California.

Do you know the way to San Jose?
This is a "pre-linen" postcard of early San Jose, the Phantom's hometown
circa the turn of the 20th century. 

San Jose erected the "electric light tower" featured on this card. The tower fell down after a few years and was never rebuilt. However, San Jose is now trying to revive the trolley system shown above, which was paved over many years ago. Unfortunately, the streets don't look like this any longer, but some of these building still remain.

Lick Observatory
This is a very old postcard, circa 1906. It's called an "undivided back" card, 
which means that the backside was used only for the address. So people had to
write their messages on the front side. Eventually the post office decreed that
it would be okay to divide the back for both a message and an address.

One of San Jose's sort of forgotten attractions is the James Lick Observatory that still stands way up in the hills above the city. Our most famous tourist venue is the Winchester Mystery house, for some strange reason. San Jose is located about 50 miles south of San Francisco, which needs no further introduction.


Here's a familiar view of San Francisco. From the clothing, I assume this card
was produced in the 1950s. As everybody knows, SF still has cable cars. Horray!

California chickens!
This postcard probably dates from the turn of the 20th Century. I think this chicken farm
was located near Petaluma in Marin County. Chickens were treated much better in those days.


This linen postcard, circa the 1930s, is one of thousands of collectible Yosemite postcards. 

You must travel southeast across the state from the Bay Area to reach Yosemite, but it's worth the trip. Visitors are still warned to watch out for the bears, who continue to be hungry for people food. Yosemite is a natural wonder, a place that everybody should experience if possible.
(The Clever Archives hold several interesting articles on Yosemite: Yosemite for non-campers, Yosemite for Artists, and Hiking Yosemite)

This is a very old "Real Photo" of the Shasta Springs area of Northern California.
Notice the passengers' clothing! We'll pretend we're aboard the "Shasta Daylight"
making our way north to Oregon country.


Please join the Phantom  as our virtual tour of the US continues. So far, our tour includes the following states:

California, Oregon, Washington,
Alaska, Hawaii
, Montana, Idaho, & Arizona, Canyon Country, Texas, and Massachusetts.

Stay with us as we visit all of the United States, 
and who knows where next...

American Black Bear Postcards
Backs of the postcards
Cruising, 1970s style

Couples: rules to live by
Dangerous postcard animals
Dear Diary: Italy again
Driving the I-95  (text by Johnna Kaplan)
Not sure I'd want to see this
Old Hawaii
Old Motels

Other People's Vacations
Places I'd like to Visit

Postcard recipes
Side trip to Europe!
Spring in the Desert
Ugly Postcard Tour
Where My Friends Went, part 2
World Tour
The 50 State Quick Tour




Diannek, clevermag's editor, 
is affectionately known as
the Phantom to friends and family.

 

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