Sunday, March 26, 2017

Climate Cooling, Wiretapping and Unrealistic Postcards

Postcard I received this week: the Cascade Pool, in downtown Kerrville.
It was along the river bluff at the end of Earl Garrett Street.
Click to enlarge image.  Yes, someone is performing a swan dive.
Several interesting things came into the print shop this week, thanks to kind readers and friends.
A letter arrived in the mail from a kind reader, full of antique postcards showing Kerrville as it might have looked in the late 1940s or early 1950s. I say "might have looked" because the postcards are based upon photographs, but have been retouched to such an extent they no longer look real. They are the "Natural Color Card" product of the E. C. Kropp Company in Milwakee, which apparently took black and white photographs and tried to make them look like color photographs.
One of the cards says "Published by Commercial Office Supply," and another says "Published by Lehmann's." Commercial Office Supply was open for many years, and the most recent owner was the family of the late Nell Hutzler. I don't remember Lehmann's, but I do remember the store that followed it in the same building: Winn's. It was in the 700 block of Water in what had originally been the Schreiner Wool Warehouse. That old building is gone now, except for one curved limestone wall.
The postcards brought back lots of memories, and I am thankful for them.
Another kind person brought by a different postcard which featured a Conoco service station at the corner of Junction Highway and Spence Street. It's a structure I should remember, but I do not. The Wells-Fargo Bank at Five Points has their ATM building at the same location today.
She also brought me a Special Bicentennial Edition of the Kerrville Daily Times, which was published May 2, 1976.
The top story in that edition, above the fold on page 1, had the headline "Report Indicates Change in Earth's Climate...." A closer reading of the story cited a CIA report that said "based upon the climatic change study by Reid A. Bryson of the University of Wisconsin... the world's climate is cooling and will revert to conditions that prevailed between 1600 and 1850."
The report further predicted famines because of the cooler temperatures, and political unrest because of the famines. Because of the Earth's cooling temperatures.  [How quaint.]
The second story on page 1 was titled "Innocent talks heard by federal and state investigators." That story said the government used listening devices and telephone taps to eavesdrop on nearly 50,000 people in 1975.
Aside from the fact that the climate change story is 180 degrees opposite from the stories published lately, those headlines would be at home in almost any daily newspaper today.
A "Special 60-page Bicentennial Edition Inside" banner graced the top of page one. A 60-page extra edition takes a ton of work even today, and in 1976 it took several tons of work because almost everything was done by hand. While computers helped set the type, the pages were still pasted up by hand, and the photographs were processed separately and "stripped in" to the page.
Wally Jacobs, who was the newspaper's managing editor when this 1976 edition was published, wrote, in a page 1 column, "This special issue represents amounts of work that is impossible to measure. Everyone in this office, and everyone associated with this newspaper outside of the office, had a hand in preparing and delivering this colorful edition." I believe him.
I know I'll enjoy studying each page of this special edition.
Other items that came in this week -- a local map of Kerrville and Kerr County published by the Charles Schreiner Bank back in the 1970s, a complete 1956 Kerr County Centennial edition of both the Kerrville Daily Times and the Kerrville Mountain Sun, plus other local newspapers from the 1940s.
I'm like a kid in a candy store.
Until next week, all the best.

Joe Herring Jr. is a Kerrville native who collects Kerrville and Kerr County historical items. This column originally appeared in the Kerrville Daily Times March 25, 2017.

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