Antique Shop Find: A Collection of Virginia Postcards from Decades Past

31020408326_0d8ccdb980_oA few weekends ago my family and I took a fall weekend trip to Berkeley Springs, West Virginia in hopes of seeing deeper shades of autumn than Alexandria was offering. It’s a quaint little town that my wife and I have visited several times during our stays at the nearby, now-abandoned Coolfont resort.

One of the shops in town that I quite enjoy is the Berkley Springs Antique Mall, an expansive space chock-full of all manner of things out of the past century or so. We stopped in for a visit and after wandering about the place for half an hour or so, I found myself rummaging through a series of boxes full of postcards organized by state. I dug around and uncovered the Virginia box and, flipping through the postcards, pulled out a few that particularly struck my interest and brought them home with a mind to share them here.

The postcards I selected appear to be from the 1960’s or thereabouts. Two of them were postmarked (1961, 1967) with greeting notes penned on the back. I have laid them out below, with all of the descriptive text found on the back of each shown below its card face. You can also see these in my Flickr album.

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The Motor House Pool, Williamsburg, Virginia

The three swimming pools of The Motor House offer guests of this unusual establishment a refreshing pause in the sightseeing schedule of the historic city. There is a pool for diving, one for swimming and another for wading. Adjacent are a playground for children and sports areas for adults. The Motor House is Williamsburg’s most popular family accommodation.

Ektachrome by Thos. L. Williams

Mirro-Krome® Card by H. S. Crocker Co., Inc., Baltimore, Md. 21224

Official Colonial Williamsburg Card

[ see the back of this postcard ]


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Raleigh Tavern, Williamsburg, Virginia

The most famous hostelry of eighteenth-century Williamsburg, offering accommodations and entertainment to many patriots who helped make history at the Capitol, a block away. This reconstructed building is open daily.

Mirro-Krome® Card by H. S. Crocker Co., Inc., San Francisco 1

Official Colonial Williamsburg Card

[ see the back of this postcard ]


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The Margaret Hunter Shop and The Golden Ball

At the Margaret Hunter Shop on Duke of Gloucester Street, fine millinery is featured as it was over 200 years ago. Nearby at the sign of the Golden Ball, the silversmith, using tools and methods of the eighteenth century, fashions items of grace and beauty for the twentieth-century guests in Williamsburg.

Mirro-Krome® Card by H. S. Crocker Co., Inc., San Francisco 1

Official Colonial Williamsburg Card

[ see the back of this postcard ]


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Bruton Parish Church, Williamsburg, Virginia

[ postmarked / dated Sept. 19, 1967 (4¢ stamp) ]
[ sent to Mr. & Mrs. Sylvan H. Neidig from Jack & Winnie McFadden ]

Bruton Parish Church, completed in 1715, is a fine example of the colonial church in America. The walls and windows of the church are original, but much of the interior woodwork was torn out during the nineteenth century. The interior, partially restored in 1905, and more completely in 1938, once again resembles its eighteenth-century appearance.

Mirro-Krome® Card by H. S. Crocker Co., Inc., San Francisco 1

Official Colonial Williamsburg Card

[ see the back of this postcard ]


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Williamsburg Inn, Williamsburg, Virginia

This structure is in the architectural style which was popular at the Springs in Virginia during the early nineteenth century. Its decorations and furnishings are of the Regency period.

Genuine Curteich-Chicago “C. T. Art-Colortone” Post Card (Reg.U.S.Pat.Off.)

[ see the back of this postcard ]


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45–Museum, Colonial Park, Yorktown, Virginia

[ postmarked / dated May 16, 1961 (3¢ stamp) ]

The Museum contains many relics and Historical scenes of the Battle of Yorktown. In the foreground, is one of the British Fieldpieces and also the Earthworks.

Wythe Publishing Co., (Wythe 1321), Hampton, VA.

Curteichcolor® 3-D Natural Color Reproduction (Reg. U.S.A. Pat. Off.)

[ see the back of this postcard ]


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The Stone House Inn and the Old Stone House at the junction of U.S. 29 and 211 and Va. 234, in the center of Manassas Battlefields, Va.

Kodachrome by C. H. Ruth

Pub. by A. J. Simonpetri, Jr., Front Royal, Virginia

“Plastichrome” by Colorpictures, Boston 15, Mass., U.S.A.

[ see the back of this postcard ]


It’s fascinating to me to see these snapshots of places I’ve visited many times in my life, as they were half a century ago. Some of the changes between then and now are particularly interesting. It’s nice to see that the motel next to Manassas’ Stone House has been removed from that historic battlefield… (The Yorktown Battlefield was a golf course back in the 1920s, you know…) And, The Motor House motel is no more, but I believe the building still stands, near the Williamsburg Visitor Center.

I hope that placing these online here has provided a few readers with a similar sense of history, if only five or so decades distant. Putting this post together has inspired me to remain on the look-out and expand this small collection of Virginia postcards. Stay tuned.

UPDATE [ Dec. 8, 2016 ]: A link of potential interest: Williamsburg Postcards: History Through Pictures

5 Comments

  1. Very cool I go to Berkle Springs several times a year and I live not far from Williamsburg.

  2. I also go to Williamsburg’s back in the day from northern Va .with my husband and children , now living over twenty years in Cary NC. Try gone now every other month,. Love to live there.😁 being of the chaperone with Northern Va fifl and drum. Corp with the Evan family..(carry flags down the Williamsburg Street s
    Thank goodness for a cheaper motel I can visit more often,, prices have gone up ,more taxes on hotels, cause non resident😬 . so happy you found the post cards,this was a great treasure. Also interests me I’m from around penna, (Johnstown/Bedford)😁 Love thrift shops,and will check here also in my area Cary. Thank you blessing
    Nancy

  3. I have lived in Williamsburg all my life and have loved it.
    I do miss the slower pace, being able to go through the shops at Colonial Williamsburg for free, knowing where someone lived by the exchange number of their phone, and having no chain restuants and hotels. Such good food in those days!
    Unfortunately greed has taken over, small Mom & Pop motels and restaurants are gone. I remember when the first stop light went up and going to the Pottery was an all day event. Now it is still an all day event just trying to get through all the traffic lights!! But who wants to go there now? How things have changed.
    Some of the small town character and feel of Williamsburg is still here despite what the “Big Boys” are trying to do with our town. I wish they would realize we DO NOT NEED any more hotels or chain restaurants or shopping centers.
    If you plan on visiting Williamsburg, find a local who can show you the best spots left.
    As I get older I realize what my folks meant by the comment, “Those were the good old days!”

  4. I read the article in the WY Daily about your collection and scrolled through the pictures. I nearly fell off my chair when I saw the back of one of the postcards. It was addressed to Sylvan Neidig. My maternal grandfather’s name was Neidig and, of course he was from Pennsylvania (as I believe most Neidigs are from that area). Small world!

  5. Karen Williams Laufer

    December 28, 2016 at 1:17 pm

    I grew up in Williamsburg, and my Father was Colonial WIlliamsburg’s first photographer. He’d been a Navy photographer stationed at Camp Peary when it was a huge SeaBee installation during WWII. CW didn’t have a photographer , and borrowed my Father to photograph construction progress. After my Father’s discharge from the Navy, CW offered him a job as staff photographer. For almost ten years- from 1946-late 1955, he was the only photographer there. I was born in 1946, and when I reached three years old I was issued a colonial costume. When publicity photos were shot, several other children of CW employees and I were put into action . At the time I didn’t appreciate how much these photos would mean to me later in life! My Father was Thomas Williams. He was the photographer on the first post card shown,”The Motor House….” (and I think on most of the others which say “Official CW …..”) Several of my friends and their parents were posed by the pool for this shot. We all swam at the Motor House Pool.
    Matthew Whaley School was, and still is, a great school. After school on many days, several of us would run over to the Governor’s Palace to the maze in the garden, or to the Blacksmith shop, where my friend’s Father was the blacksmith. The CW bus was still operating on the Duke of Gloucester St., so we could hop on board and ride down the street to the Raleigh Tavern Bakery to buy a gingerbread cookie. The rock candy on a string at the Apothocary Shop held special fascination because our parents told us not to buy it because we’d break our teeth!!It was truly a magical childhood here. Your postcard find has prompted me to dig out my collection of some of the cards my Father photographed motels and restaurants for in the ’60’s and “70’s!

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