Posts Tagged ‘Put-in-Bay’

Bicentennial of the Battle of Lake Erie – Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry’s Victory

August 28, 2013

There is much activity around South Bass Island and the village of Put-in-Bay over Labor Day weekend, 2013, since celebrations, re-enactments, tall ships, music and more are planned 08/29/2013 through 09/10/2013.  The latter date is the bicentennial of the Battle of Lake Erie, in which the American ships under the direction of Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry prevailed over the British fleet. This postcard depicts the monument which was erected in the early 1900s to commemorate the centennial of Perry’s victory:

Sohio_Perry_Monument_obverse Sohio_Perry_Monument_reverse

Sometime after March 3, 1919 and prior to  June 13, 1920, the National Board of Memorial Commissioners published a fourteen-page Official Souvenir booklet entitled ‘The Perry’s Victory Memorial — Put-in-Bay — South Bass Island, Ohio’.  The booklet is in the public domain, and the copy owned by the Library of Congress is available for viewing as a digital image or as plain text, and for downloading in PDF format.  The publication is worth a look for its nine half-tone reproductions of period photographs.  The plain text version of the document, however, is rife with typographical and punctuation errors, due to the inability of the optical character reader (OCR) to properly interpret the characters of the text.  Example: ‘Amund the walls <if the rotunda are carved stone tablets iji\-ins4- the names of the American shi])s, and the killed on board, engaged in the Battle o{ Lake Erie.’  Here is the brochure text, with typos and punctuation edited to match the PDF version:


The Perry’s Victory Memorial at Put-in-Bay, South Bass Island, Ohio, was erected under the auspices of the United States Government and the States of Ohio, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Illinois, Wisconsin, New York, Rhode Island, Kentucky and Massachusetts (the states being here mentioned in the order in which their Commissioners were appointed, except Massachusetts, which made no provision for Commissioners) in commemoration of the victory of Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry and his men over the British fleet under Commodore Barclay in the Battle of Lake Erie, commonly called Perry’s Victory, fought and won September 10, 1813; and in commemoration of the Northwestern Campaign of General William Henry Harrison in the War of 1812 and of the hundred years of peace ensuing between Great Britain and the United States. In connection with the construction of the Memorial, National and State legislation provided for a Centennial Celebration of the Battle of Lake Erie, which was duly observed under the direction of the Inter-State Board of the Perry’s Victory Centennial Commissioners, September 9-10-11, 1913. These joint enterprises originated in legislation by the State of Ohio, the first Commissioners being appointed by that state in 1909.

The Memorial, plaza and approaches are constructed in their entirety of pink Milford granite from the quarries at Milford, Massachusetts. Its geological composition is particularly adapted to the objects of a monument destined to endure through the ages. The color effect is pure white. The foundations of the column and the plaza rest directly on rock. The Memorial stands on the isthmus of South Bass Island, overlooking the waters of Lake Erie and the scene of Perry’s Victory off West Sister Island. The great Doric column rises 352 feet above the Lake level. It is the highest monument in the world, excepting the Washington Monument; the greatest battle monument in the world and the most massive column ever attempted by ancients or moderns.

The column is forty-five feet in diameter at the base and thirty-five feet and six inches at the neck; thickness of the walls at the base, nine feet and nine inches, and at the neck five feet. The diameter of the clear space in the interior of the column is twenty-six feet, six inches. There are seventy-eight courses of stone in the height of the column. Two flights of granite stairs built in the thickness of the walls afford communication between the four entrance vestibules adjacent to the rotunda and the elevator floor above it. At this level the elevator and staircase start and run to the top of the column. The elevator, protected by all modern safety devices, ascends in one minute. The stairway to the top is composed of 467 steps. From the upper platform a door leads to the outside parapet or spectator’s gallery, capable of accommodating two hundred people in the open air. The entire column is lighted electrically.

From the parapet, 329 feet above Lake Erie, is disclosed a scene of unrivaled beauty. Surmounting the spectator’s gallery is an imposing great bronze tripod, holding the beacon light of the Memorial, which is a glow upward. The tripod is of solid bronze, twenty-three feet in height, its greatest diameter twenty feet; weight, eleven tons; cost, $14,000. It was designed by the architects of the Memorial and cast by the Gorham Company, of New York. It supports a massive bowl for illumination purposes, the top of which is of ground plate glass one half inch thick, having two hundred incandescent lamps beneath it.

The main approach to the Memorial is from Put-in-Bay Harbor. The granite steps ascending to the plaza are sixty-seven feet wide. Entrance to the rotunda of the Memorial is obtained through four bronze doors marking the diameter of the column and facing the cardinal points of the compass. The rotunda is faced with Indiana limestone, and the floor of Tennessee marble, with a centerpiece and border in color. Beneath it, at a spot appropriately marked, repose the remains of the three Americans and three British officers killed in the Battle of Lake Erie, which for a hundred years lay buried on the shores of Put-in-Bay, where they were interred after the battle. They were disinterred by the Commissioners of the Memorial and placed in the Memorial with impressive services September 13, 1913. one hundred years from the date of their original burial on the shore. The seamen killed in the Battle of Lake Erie were buried at sea. The officers killed, whose remains now rest within the Memorial, were (Americans) Lieutenant John Brooks of the brig “Lawrence”: Midshipman Henry Laub, of the “Lawrence.” and Midshipman John Clark, of the schooner “Scorpion”; and (British) Captain Robert Finnis. of the brig “Queen Charlotte”; Lieutenant James Garden, of the Royal New Foundland Regiment, and Lieutenant John Garland. of the ship “Detroit.” Around the walls of the rotunda are carved stone tablets giving the names of the American ships, and the killed on board, engaged in the Battle of Lake Erie.

Around the walls of the elevator floor above, on bronze tablets, are names of all persons engaged in the battle and who received prize money from the government in connection with it—507 names in all. The ceiling of the rotunda takes the form of a dome. At the main entrance are bronze tablets containing the names of the Federal Government, the States and their Commissioners participating in the erection of the Memorial. The Memorial is surrounded by a reservation of fourteen acres, five hundred feet in width between the waters of Put-in-Bay Harbor and those of Lake Erie. Operations to clear the site, originally an unbroken forest, were begun in June, 1912; ground broken for the construction of the Doric column, October 1st, 1912; cornerstone laid, July 4th, 1913; the Memorial opened to the public, June 13, 1915.

Including all items of incidental and necessary expense, the cost of the Memorial was approximately $700,000. For actual construction purposes the Federal Commissioners segregated from the United States funds, $240,000; the Ohio Commissioners, $126,000, and $20,000 additional for the improvement of the grounds; Pennsylvania, $50,000; Michigan, $25,000; Illinois, $30,000; Wisconsin, $25,000; New York, $30,000; Rhode Island, $25,000; Kentucky, $25,000; and Massachusetts, $15,000. Total, $611,000. These figures, however, do not include the necessary cost of the purchase of the Memorial site, of the architectural competition, superintendence of construction, fees for engineers, electrical conduits, retaining walls, and the organization necessary to promote and carry on the work over a period of years.

The architect and designer of the Memorial was Joseph H. Freedlander, of New York, with whom was associated A. Duncan Seymour, of New York. The successful design was determined in the largest architectural competition ever held in this country or Europe. The competitive designs were exhibited in the National Museum, Washington, and the judges of awards were the members of the National Fine Arts Commission, consisting of David H. Burnham, architect, Thomas Hastings, architect, Cass Gilbert, architect, Daniel C. French, sculptor, Frank D. Miller, painter, Frederick Law Olmstead, architect, and Charles Moore, art connoisseur. The Building Committee of the Memorial, authorized by the Inter-State Board of Commissioners, consisted of President-General George H. Worthington, chairman; First Vice-President-General Henry Watterson; United States Commissioner Nelson A. Miles; with Secretary-General Webster P. Huntington as secretary. The Doric column was constructed by J. C. Robinson & Son, of New York and Chicago, and the plaza and approaches by the Stewart Engineering Corporation, of New York, both under the supervision of Superintendent of Construction C. E. Sudler. The Custodian of the Memorial is S. M. Johannsen, of the Ohio Commission, residing at Put-in-Bay.

The Commissioners appointed by the President of the United States and the Governors of the States participating in the erection of the Memorial organized the Inter-State Board of the Perry’s Victory Centennial Commissioners at a meeting held at Put-in-Bay, September 10th, 1910. This organization has since continued and is now known, by act of Congress, as the Perry’s Victory Memorial Commission. At the period of the Centennial Celebration in 1913 it was composed of the following Commissioners:

General Officers: President-General, George H. Worthington, Cleveland, Ohio; First Vice-President-General, Henry Watterson, Louisville, Kentucky; Secretary-General, Webster P. Huntington, Columbus, Ohio; Treasurer-General, A. E. Sisson, Erie, Pennsylvania; Auditor-General, Colonel Harry Cutler, Providence, Rhode Island; Financial Secretary, Mackenzie R. Todd, Frankfort, Kentucky.

Commissioners: For the United States Government, Lieutenant General Nelson A. Miles, U. S. A., Ret., Washington, D. C.; Rear Admiral Charles H. Davis, U. S. N. Ret., Washington, D. C.; Major General J. Warren Keifer, Springfield, Ohio.

Ohio: John H. Clarke, George H. Worthington, Cleveland; Webster P. Huntington, Columbus; S. M. Johannsen, Put-in-Bay; Eli Winkler, Nicholas Longworth, Cincinnati; Horace Holbrook, Warren; William C. Mooney, Woodsfield; Horace L. Chapman, Columbus; George W. Dun, Toledo.

Pennsylvania: A. E. Sisson, Milton W. Shreve, Erie; Edwin H. Vare, Philadelphia; T. C. Jones, McKeesport; George W. Nefi, M. D., Masontown.

Michigan: George W. Parker, John C. Lodge, Detroit; Arthur P. Loomis, Lansing; Roy S. Barnhart, Grand Rapids; E. K. Warren, Three Oaks.

Illinois: William H. Thompson, James Pugh, Richard S. Folsom, Nelson W. Lampert, Adam Weckler, Chesley R. Perry, William Porter Adams, Willis J. Wells, Chicago; General Philip C. Hayes, Joliet; W . H. Mcintosh, Rockford ; H. S. Bekemeyer, Springheld.

Wisconsin: Rear Admiral Frederick M. Symonds, U. S. N. Ret., Galesville; John M. Whitehead, Janesville; A. W. Sanborn, Ashland; Louis Bohmrich, Milwaukee; C. B. Perry, Wauwatosa; S. W. Randolph, Manitowoc; Sol P. Huntington, Green Bay. (Joseph McBell, Secretary, Milwaukee.)

New York: William J. Conners, George D. Emerson, William Simon, John F. Malone, Edward D. Jackson, Buffalo; Simon L. Adler, Rochester; Martin H. Glynn, Albany; Clinton B. Herrick, M. D., Troy; William F. Rafferty, Syracuse; William L. Ormrod, Churchville; Jacob Schifferdecker, Brooklyn.

Rhode Island: John P. Sanborn, Newport; Louis N. Arnold, Westerly; Sumner Mowry, Peace Dale; Henry E. Davis, Woonsocket; Colonel Harry Cutler, Providence.

Kentucky: Henry Watterson, Colonel Andrew Cowan, Louisville; Samuel M. Wilson, Lexington; Colonel R. W. Nelson, Newport; Mackenzie R. Todd, Frankfort.

The General Officers of the Inter-State Board have been annually re-elected since 1910.

The Memorial and Reservation are the property of the United States Government, and the Reservation a national park, both under the direction and control of the Perry’s Victory Memorial Commission, created by Act of Congress approved by President Wilson March 3d, 1919. The property contained in the Reservation was originally purchased from private owners, for the objects to which it has been dedicated, by condemnation proceedings brought in the name of the State of Ohio, and the title vested in that State. By act of the General Assembly of Ohio the property was ceded to the United Slates, and the title was accepted on the part of the United States by the Act of Congress referred to.

The view from the top of the Memorial is never forgotten by those who have had the privilege of ascending. By day the picture grows upon the senses with charming allurement, while night reveals a fairyland of starlit skies, shadowy forms and shimmering reflections.

From an architectural standpoint the Memorial is one of the great works of the ages, happily destined to endure as long as any reared by human hands. Scientifically, it has been the subject of unbounded admiration on the part of experts of both hemispheres. The public has not been slow to realize the educational value of a visit to Put-in-Bay and the Memorial. The Island is readily accessible by daily boats from Sandusky, Toledo, Cleveland and Detroit. The throngs of visitors to the Memorial therefore naturally include many organizations and societies. Special rates for transportation and hotel accommodations may always be obtained.


Detail of the Perry's Victory Memorial, the world's largest Doric column.

Detail of the Perry’s Victory Memorial, the world’s largest Doric column.

The present-day (2013) name of this National Park is “Perry’s Victory and International Peace Memorial”.


The Difference of Night and Day

February 28, 2010

I have a few postcards in my collection that claim to depict a view at night.  But close examination of the supposed nighttime view almost always shows much brighter detail than would have been visible if the view had been originally photographed after the sun had set.  So, there must be a different way to depict a night scene than starting with an original photograph that had actually been taken after dark.  What I discovered is that at least some — and probably most if not all — of pre-photochrome night time postcards really show a daytime view that has been altered to make it appear to be a nighttime scene!  I have chosen two linen-era[1] postcards to demonstrate my thesis.  Shown below is “AUDITORIUM AND CONVENTION HALL BY NIGHT, ATLANTIC CITY, N. J. — 5“.[2]  

The eye is immediately drawn to the spectacular shafts of colored light emanating from spotlights mounted atop the front facade of the auditorium:  Three yellow spotlights, two red and two blue lights, and one central purple spotlight.  The windows of the auditorium and the surrounding buildings are aglow with yellow light, and a large sign on the right side of the auditorium proclaims GOLF in bright red letters, apparently illuminated from within.  The right side of the auditorium is adorned with ten flags:  A United States flag at each corner, with varicolored pennant flags in between.  The beach in front of the auditorium is dotted with people, right up to the seashore, and a multitude of people are wading and swimming in the ocean, enjoying the waves and water.  A not implausible scene, taken as a whole, but, on reflection, the beach — and especially the water — would most likely be almost bereft of people after dark, even at such a popular vacation spot as Atlantic City, New Jersey.  Still, in lieu of evidence to the contrary, we can hypothesize that this postcard view of the auditorium truly is based on a photograph that was taken at night.   





 Matched set of postcards: NIGHT – Above   |||   DAY – Below





Now consider the above postcard.  Obverse top caption: “9  ATLANTIC CITY AUDITORIUM AND CONVENTION HALL, ATLANTIC CITY, N.. J.”  Obverse bottom caption: “LARGEST CONVENTION HALL IN THE WORLD, SEATING CAPACITY 40,000, BALL ROOM 5,000”  

Close examination reveals that both this daytime view as well as the nighttime view are based on the same photographic original!  Note especially the identical pattern of the breaking waves as they approach the shore.  The most telling piece of evidence, however,  is that the distribution of people both on the beach and in the water is exactly the same in both the daytime and nighttime postcard views!  

There are some minor differences between the two postcards.  The GOLF sign lighted in red in the night view is completely absent in the day view, and the day view shows the American flag flying at the top of each of the ten flagpoles along the right side of the auditorium, whereas the night view has pennant flags in the second through ninth positions.  How can this be?  Most of us are familiar with the magic that can be accomplished with PhotoShop and other software programs that can be used to alter a digital photograph in ways both major and minor.  Well, the photographers and printers of years gone by had similar techniques at their disposal, albeit in analog form.  The GOLF sign actually existed in the day view; it has simply been removed to better show off the architectural lines of the auditorium.  In the day view, a very close examination of the portion of the side of the auditorium that was obstructed by the GOLF sign shows a slightly lighter building color with the same outline as the GOLF sign.  

As for the flags, it is probable that the original photograph upon which both views are based showed flags atop the flagpoles, but it is highly unlikely that all of the flags would have been flying straight out at the moment the photo was taken.  Thus, all of the flags in both the day view and the night view almost certainly have been manually added.  American flags are more impressive in the day view, and the replacement of eight of the American flags with pennants gives the night view more splashes of color.  It is also possible that the auditorium had no flags at all, and that the flags – flagpoles and all – were added to the postcard view to supply more visual interest.  One would have to reference contemporary real photo images of the auditorium to verify.  Keep in mind that until the advent of the photochrome postcard, all view postcards were either printed in black and white, or black and white that was colorized.  The selection and placement of color was under the complete control of the printer, as was the design, even when the design was based on a photographic original.  I intend to explore the altering of postcard images in an upcoming post.  Suffice it to say for now, when it comes to a postcard view, you can’t always believe what you see!  

Some postcards are more amenable to a nighttime version than others.  Postcards that lend themselves to a night view are ones that would typically have light or illuminated elements after dark.  Postcards that depict a skyline or an areal (sometimes called a bird’s eye) view can show all of the windows in the buildings lit up in the night version.  Views of ships often work well in an “at night” version, since they were often equipped with one or more searchlights, to which the color artist would add a shaft of white light.  Too, light would be shown emanating from each of the windows or portholes of the ship.  Postcard views of lighthouses also lend themselves well to both nighttime and daytime editions.  

Just one more observation concerning vintage postcard night views.  Many of the night scenes that do not have an obvious terrestrial light source (and even some that do) will show a full moon in the sky, which would lead the viewer of the postcard to assume that the light of the full moon was the light source for the night scene.  Nope!  The postcard was almost certainly based on a photograph that had been taken in bright sunlight, with the sky that had been colored light blue in the daytime view version of the postcard replaced with a dark blue-black color for the nighttime version.  Then, the creation of a full moon was one of the easiest tricks up the postcard color artist’s metaphorical sleeve:  Simply leave a circular area in the dark sky without any color!  A full moon in the night sky on an older view postcard is almost a dead giveaway that the view is really a daytime view that has been turned into a faux night view.  

To the best of my knowledge, the Atlantic City Auditorium is the only day-and-night matched set in my collection, but I do own one half of two other sets.

I have the daytime version of “New Flyer of the Lakes, Steamer Put-in-Bay, Detroit Put-in-Bay Sandusky” (a Lake Erie steamer):

New Flyer of the Lakes__Put-in-Bay__DAY__obverse

New Flyer of the Lakes__Put-in-Bay__DAY__obverse

New Flyer of the Lakes__Put-in-Bay__DAY__reverse

New Flyer of the Lakes__Put-in-Bay__DAY__reverse

Its nighttime counterpart is listed on eBay as ”Antique POSTCARD “New Flyer of the Lakes” Ship, Detroit”.  This eBay seller uses photo hosting by Auctiva, so you can click on the front image in the item description to see an enlarged view.  Close examination of the night view will show that it is merely the day view printed with a different palette of colors.  Note especially that the wave pattern is identical in both printings.  A shaft of white has been added to the searchlight anchored above the captain’s bridge, the windows of the ship have been printed with yellow ink, and the nearly obligatory full moon has been added to the sky.

Here is the nighttime version of “Birds Eye View of Albany N. Y.”:

Birds Eye View of Albany N. Y.__NIGHT__obverse

Birds Eye View of Albany N. Y.__NIGHT__obverse

Birds Eye View of Albany N. Y.__NIGHT__reverse

Birds Eye View of Albany N. Y.__NIGHT__reverse

Its daytime counterpart, titled Lower Portion of Albany, New York 1910, is posted in the “Albany, New York Postcards & Old Photos” area of  Note that the designer-printer of the night version has not only drawn in a full moon, but also has drawn a star-studded sky over the skyline of Albany.  It may be hard to see in the image provided above, but the stars have been drawn with points, just like the star that tops a Christmas tree!  Also, the artist must have known at least a little about constellations, since there is a star pattern on the right that approximates the Big Dipper (Ursa Major).  Also, the star cluster located beneath the full moon could be a representation of the Pleiades (“The Seven Sisters”).  Although I’m sure that the artist was striving for an overall pleasing effect that would sell more postcards rather than for astronomical accuracy, whether by accident or design, the star cluster is drawn showing six stars, the seventh star being much fainter than the other six when viewing the Pleiades with the naked eye.

With a bit of patience and diligent searching, a postcard collector could acquire a number of day-and-night matched sets such as the above examples, which would make an unusual and informative display at a local library, museum or postcard show.  Also, such a collection could form the basis for an interesting lecture presentation at a postcard club meeting.  I would like to know of other day-and-night matched sets that you may find!  

So, what is the difference between night and day?  When it comes to vintage postcards, the only difference is the color of the ink!  However, when it comes to music, perhaps this composition by Indiana’s own Cole Porter explains the difference (note the faux full moon backdrop in the final video footage of this YouTube video):

As we close this exploration of night and day scenes on old postcards, if we have gained a little knowledge, we can truly proclaim, “I’m beginning to see the light!”  Or, we can sing along with Ella Fitzgerald (with Duke Ellington and his orchestra):

This post is being submitted to the Festival of Postcards, coordinated by Evelyn Yvonne Theriault, since the theme of this Festival (7th Edition) is “Light.”  Please do view the dazzling array of entries at A Festival of Postcards (7th Ed.) – Light | A Canadian Family!

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  1. ^ Both of these linen era postcards are unused, so cannot be dated using a postmark date, but the daytime view is printed by Curt Teich and Company, Chicago, Illinois, and so can be dated to 1933 by the postcard number 3A-H1235.  The “3A” indicates the 3 year of the 1930s.  I have not found a way to date the unused nighttime postcard, published by the E. C. Kropp Company, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, based on identification marks on the card (31465 at the top middle area of the address side of the reverse and EJY at the bottom of the dividing line text on the reverse), but if anyone knows of a guide to dating E. C. Kropp postcards, please let me know.  In any case, the fact that the nighttime card has a linen finish (on both sides) and has explanatory text on the reverse is consistent with a printing date in the mid-to-late 1930s, roughly contemporaneous with the daytime card.
  2. ^ The reverse of the card has further commentary: “The Convention Hall, possibly the largest in the world, covers seven acres of ground and can seat the entire permanent population of Atlantic City at one time, with room to spare. The main Auditorium is used for exhibition purposes, ice-skating carnivals, and even made into a full-sized football field.”



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