Wayzata, Minnesota

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Sepia Saturday - 2 Feb 2013

One of the most important things I've learned in life, was to ride a bicycle.


Summer of 1924 Washington, D.C.
Oh what fun it is to pedal 
your day away!

and to visit the S.S. Kresge store too.
(Notice the girl watching the photographer through the car window?)

Have you ever seen such a unique style of Tricycle?
Trundling or treadling along?

Welcome to the world of pedaling and a wee bit of peddling.

Keep an eye open for the Red Light!

More importantly, after scanning various bicycle photographs one major link connecting them all was quite haunting.  All the back stories to those that pedaled so long ago.  It seems the very wealth or lack of it, in one's family determined just what a child's bicycle meant for them.

I'm pretty sure this young man was considered quite popular in his day.  Although, his expression speaks volumes.  What could he be thinking?
 It was sometime in 1921, and he's listed as "Times Boy" at the Library of Congress with no further information. 
Imagine if this lad were a child today and his life at home was much like ours, do you think he might have a happier expression?
A Boy and His Bicycle
brings to mind the song, Me and my arrow, straight up and narrow! Me and my bike!  Better than a trike!
I believe this is the same bicycle as the last photo,
A Ranger.  Ever hear of it before?
 I'm hoping he doesn't have what it completely appears
to be in his mouth! 
Messenger boy 1910.
Taking a walk on the wild side of life!
Growing up way too quickly!
November 1913
Taken by photographer Lewis Wickes Hine.
He's another messenger boy, of more appropriate age working in New Orleans, Louisiana.
But yet again with the sour face.
Below on the left is, Emmet Brewster, Postal Messenger # 3 also 11 years old in this photo and he'd been working for seven months making ten to fifteen dollars a month.  He had finished only the third grade in school, and often worked late at night in Mobile, Alabama.
What kind of messages went out so late at night?
What was so important that it couldn't wait until dawn?
(I sense another post possibly coming, later on.)
Raymond Bykes, also from Western Union No. 23, Norfolk Va. he was 14 years old and works well after 1:00 a.m. and "he's known for being precocious and not a little tough".  He's only been with that office for three months but he knows the Red Light District thoroughly and goes there constantly. 
Lewis Wickes Hine, the photographer said the lad told him, "I often sleeps down at the Bay Line boat docks all night." Hine said this about the boy's mother.  "Several times I saw his mother hanging around the office, but she seemed more concerned about getting his pay envelope than anything else."  Location is Norfolk, Virginia.  June 1911.
For the lad below, a much happier disposition, but why?
 This is a more likely expression for a boy on his bicycle!
October 1913 and 11 year old J. T. Marshall was a messenger for Western Union.  What I found interesting about J. T. is that the Library of Congress was quite helpful with this lad. Yes, they list him as being a lad that goes to the "Red Light District" often and that he knows some of the girls there.  They list this has Houston, Texas.
But, that's all they have to say, over and over.
Surely, there was so much more to this lad's life.
So just what else do we know about a boy and his bicycle in the Red Light District, and can we discover what ever happened to him?
Maybe later......
From Houston, Texas meet,
Wilmington, Delaware- May 1910
 William Gross, 516 Tatnall Street, Newsboy, age 15 sold papers for 5 years.  His average earnings were fifty cents per week.  But on May 25th William gave investigator, Edward F. Brown, a list of houses of prostitution written in his own handwriting, and to which he serves papers.  He spoke openly about occasionally giving directions to strangers to these various houses for 15 cents to a quarter. 
How about pedaling those railroad wheels with a family of four.  Why is that the nanny or grandma riding along?
September 30, 1924.
I'm thinking Mommy is the lady holding hands with the little boy but my aren't her eyes a bit scary?
Isn't it interesting, watching people!
A roadster pedaling of sorts, with this busy mother of three.
California November 1936
I'm going to leave off right here at the campsite, because someone mentioned there's great fish to be caught down by the water.  Not to mention the campfire and roasted marshmallows too!  Maybe you want to grab your own bike and fishing pole and come on down too!
For more Sepia Saturday posts go here


Cloudia said...

Cheers on this excellent post! Actually, I'm a scooter gal! Vroom &Aloha

Mike Burnett said...

Interesting way you've developed the theme. I wonder if the the authorities are more concerned with the "moral welfare" of thwe kids rather than the fact that they appear to working endless hours for peanuts.

The boy on the cross-bar, we used to see it all the time when I was a youngster. Kids must have backsides made of iron - mine smarts just riding the bike.

viridian said...

I have posted a similar photo of a newsboy and mentioned Lewis Hine too.

Monica T. said...

That's a lot of photos very fitting to the prompt... I found two from my dad's childhood.

Filip and Kristel said...

Very special article. Love the tricycle and the boy with the pipe.


Peter said...

The Mommy in the railroad picture: if eyes could kill...
You pictured a "nice" piece of social history.
In another post I read that the publishers literally sold the papers to the boys. And they in turn had to sell them to their customers. That's what I would now call (despicable) risk management. but in those days it must have been common practice.

Helen Bauch McHargue said...

These boys had to develop street smarts early on or they wouldn't have survived. Love the photos.

Wendy said...

Those 2 girls look like they're on the forerunner of the Segway. My dad started smoking at age 9, so I'm not surprised that kid is smoking a pipe. Of course, a pipe seems more sophisticated than a plain ol' cig.

sage said...

neat photos--I remember reading of the train station in Carson City NV during prohibition... when the Revenuers got on the train in Reno, the telegrapher would send the word down that they were on their way and the messenger boys would be sent out to tell the hotels to hid the booze

Mike Brubaker said...

A really good choice of fantastic photos. Maybe those late night telegrams were the same messages that we send on cellphones now. "I'm at the train station now, be home soon."

I never tire of looking at Lewis Hine's photos, but his descriptions are just as important as the images for documenting history.

Boobook said...

We used to call riding on the crossbar 'dinking' or 'double dinking' here in Australia. Was that word used elsewhere?

Lovely's Blot said...

we worry so much nw about getting the right size bike! Some of those bikes were way too big for the riders; I'm suprised they managed to stay on! LoL

Brett Payne said...

I'm thinking those vehicles in the first photo are parked so close together that they must at a taxi cab rank. Quite a collection you've found there.

Alan Burnett said...

Yet another great collection of pictures. Some of those bikes do look a little on the large side, but when a lad is smoking a pipe I suppose he thinks he is big enough to tackle anything.

Bob Scotney said...

We seem to have gone down similar lines, Karen. I can't match the two girls on the cross between a gokart and a scooter. However we have the same Lewis Hine photo from New Orleans; the hours wroked by young children struck me too. I can't help thinking that having a stove of some sort in a tent needing a chimney would have been a recipe for an accident.

Oregon Gifts of Comfort and Joy said...

"Me and my bike! Better than a trike!" LOL ... you crack me up, Karen. What an awesome post, once again. Those bikes all seem so huge for those little boys. I noticed that the curb could be a booster step in some cases. I guess they just figured out how to get on and off of them safely.

That one boy who worked in the Red Light District looked like an old man already, as if he had seen it all.

Can't wait for your brother post to this one!

Kathy M.

Joan said...

I have seen the "November 13" photo by Hines a number of times -- and am always drawn in by the look of this young man. Great selection of photos for the theme.

Hazel Ceej said...

Yeah... he (Messenger Boy 1910) would be too young for that, wouldn't he?

I've never seen that kind of tricycle, but I think the trundling and treadling would make good exercise.