Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Embargo Lifted!

Due to the exceptional quantity of passionate comments yesterday, I am pleased to announce that the Old Picture Embargo has been lifted. Once again you can enjoy your morning fix of Old Pictures. We can now just put this unpleasantness of  '12 behind us. Today's picture shows a California Family in the 1880's beside their Adobe Home. It looks like a quiet beautiful area they live in. The picture caption indicated that this was an Indian family.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012


An Old Picture Embargo has been issued due to LACK OF COMMENTS. That was a great picture yesterday of a man building an adobe wall, and it got only one comment. Embargo will be lifted when visitors begin posting again!

Monday, October 29, 2012

Adobe House

Today we show one of my favorite Indigenous construction methods . . . Adobe Bricks. Adobe bricks are made from mud and are dried in the sun. This was a popular building style in New Mexico. Often times the Adobe walls are up to two feet thick, and so the houses are very well insulated. If you visit New Mexico today, many of the homes have that Adobe Style, but in fact are standard frame houses covered in stucco, made to look like Adobe Homes. I guess Adobe construction techniques are not suited for today's build-em-fast-and-cheap construction methods.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Tennessee Mountain Family

Indigenous Housing week continues here at OPOD with this picture of a Tennessee Mountain Family in front of their log cabin. Talk about self reliant folks, they have two spinning wheels and all sorts of other things to allow them to provide for themselves. I wonder what the difference is between the big spinning wheel and the small spinning wheel. 

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Eskimo Igloo

Welcome to Indigenous Housing Week here at OPOD. We will be looking at various ways people have built houses based on locally available materials. What better way to start than with this picture from 1924 of Eskimos building an Igloo. I wish I understood more about how these people could survive in such inhospitable climates. Imagine . . . no firewood, no vegetables. They had very little to work with, but survived quiet nicely. 

Friday, October 26, 2012

Gathering Wood

Today's picture shows an Indian Woman gathering wood. The woman is of the Asparoke people, and the picture was taken in 1908. The picture is a scene from Montana.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Indian Family by River

Today we feature a picture of an Indian family camped by a river. The picture was taken in 1905, and the people are part of the Crow tribe.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Winter Camp

This is a picture of a Crow Indian camp in Winter. It was taken in Montana in 1908. All I can say is this is a very dreary scene. Not sure how cold it is, but I bet it is nice and toasty in the Tipi.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Indian Camp

Welcome to Indian Camp week here at OPOD. We start with the wonderful photograph of a camp at the side of the lake. The Indians are not identified, but we know the picture was taken in 1904. The picture is a photochrom print, which was an early technique for making color prints of photographs.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Fairbanks, Alaska

We wrap up Boom Town week with this picture from Fairbanks, Alaska in the early 1900's. Fairbanks was one of the Boom Towns that came out of the Alaskan Gold Rush. It looks pretty darn cold to me.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Virginia City Stage Coach

Today's picture shows a Stage Coach loaded up in front of the Wells Fargo Express company in Virginia City, Nevada. The picture was taken in 1866. Looks like six horses pulling the stage coach. The one sign reads "Plumbing". Wonder what type of plumbing they had in 1866?

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Virginia City

Today we feature a picture of the boom town of Virginia City, Nevada. The town sprung up out of nowhere with the discovery of the Comstock Load, one of the richest mines in the Old West. This picture was taken in 1866, which would have been in the very early days of the town.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Beaumont, Texas

Normally we think of "Boom Towns" developing around Gold or Silver strikes, but you can see in this picture that finding oil will also lead to a boom town. This is a picture from Beaumont, Texas in 1901. The town developed around the famous Spindletop oil field.

Monday, October 15, 2012

San Francisco

Boom Town Week continues with this fine picture of San Francisco, California. The picture was taken in about 1850. It is hard to imagine that San Francisco was ever this sparsely populated. If you click on the picture you can see some interesting detail in the scene. 

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Silverton, Colorado

Today's picture shows the Boom Town of Silverton, Colorado. Silverton is in Southern Colorado in a beautiful mountain setting. You can take a narrow gauge railroad from Durango to Silverton. It is a magnificent ride. 

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Summit City

Welcome to Boom Town week here at OPOD. Boom towns have sprung up around many different areas over the course of history. They usually pop up as the result of finding gold, silver, or oil in the area. Boom Towns also came about as the result of government works projects. In this case, Summit City came about as a result of the Shasta Dam project. This picture was taken in 1940

Friday, October 12, 2012


Today's picture shows a stagecoach on the road into Deadwood. The picture was taken in 1889. The cool thing about this picture is the stagecoach looks just like the ones in the Old West movies. In looking at old photographs, it seems like there are many, many different styles of stagecoaches, and they rarely look like the ones in the movies.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Mining Camp

Today's picture shows a couple of prospectors in their mining camp near Deadwood. The picture was taken in 1887. One man is tending a pot on a campfire, while the other one is bringing in a deer he has shot. Also notice in the foreground there is another deer with a rifle leaning on it. I would say these men will eat well this winter.

I have enjoyed this week of pictures, and the discussions on Old West boom towns. I have had the chance to visit Virginia City, Silverton, Durango and several others in Northern New Mexico and Southern Colorado. One place I have always wanted to visit but have never had the chance is Tombstone, Arizona.  Has anyone visited there? Is it nicely preserved? I always considered the story of Wyatt Earp and Doc Holiday at the showdown at the OK coral to be the absolute classic of all Western shootouts.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Deadwood Stage

Today's picture shows a great shot of the Deadwood Stage. The picture was taken in 1890. The stage has a full load of passengers.

There has been some great discussion on the topic of old historic towns being turned into gambling towns with casinos. I had mentioned that I visited Virginia City in Nevada, and how sad it was to see the historic mining boom town turned into little more than rows and rows of tawdry slot machines. On the other hand, I had the chance to visit Silverton, Colorado several times. Gaming had not moved in there, and it was a quaint little town that had very well preserved its history. Nice little shops, lots of antiques, and lots of historical things to see. 

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Downtown Deadwood

Today's picture shows Downtown Deadwood in 1888. There is some sort of parade going on, and you can get a real sense of the hustle and bustle of this mining boom town. Some people commented yesterday that Deadwood today has become a casino town. That is really sad to me. I had visited a mining boom town outside Reno, Nevada. I think the town was Virginia City, and it was the same things. All the historic old hotels and everything had been turned into casinos.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Wells Fargo Gold Wagon

Today's picture shows the Wells Fargo Gold Wagon in Deadwood. This was the armored car of the day. If you click on the picture for an enlarged view, you can see the men are all armed. The wagon was used to transport gold from the Great Homestake Mine. The wagon is carrying $250,000 in gold. At the time, gold was about $20 an ounce, so that would be 12,500 ounces of gold. So in today's dollars, it would be carrying  $22,125,000. 

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Railroad Engineers

Today's picture features a group of Railroad Engineers building a track to Deadwood. This was a particularly challenging area where they had to carve a track bed into the side of the mountain. The picture was taken in 1888.

Saturday, October 6, 2012


I have always been fascinated by the Old West, so this week will be Deadwood Week here at OPOD. We will be looking at the sites of this iconic gold rush town of the late 1800's. Today's picture was taken in 1890, and shows the City Hall of Deadwood.

Friday, October 5, 2012


We wrap up New Mexico week with this picture from Taos, New Mexico, 1940. The picture was taken at their Summer Fiesta, and is shows a band playing music. I love this style of music, but must say I prefer the bands that have a trumpet player.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Kiva Oven

Today's picture shows one of the outdoor Kiva Ovens New Mexico is famous for. These adobe ovens are used to cook bread and other foods. You often see little old ladies selling their bread made in these ovens on the side of the road. I have had it, and the bread is delicious. 

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Manhattan Project

I am really enjoying New Mexico Week, and I hope you are too. There is so much interesting history there. Normally we think of the very old and rich cultures of the Native Americans and Spanish there. What we sometimes forget is that it is one of the central locations for secret military projects.

The picture above is of Robert Oppenheimer and Leslie Groves looking at ground zero after the first nuclear bomb explosion, which was done at Alamogordo as part of the Manhattan Project. 

New Mexico is still home to the Sandia and Los Alamos National Laboratories, and the White Sands missile range.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Winnowing Wheat

Today's picture shows a woman winnowing wheat on the San Juan Pueblo in New Mexico. The wheat is thrown in the air, so the chaff then blows away. The picture was taken in 1905. One of the really neat things about New Mexico is its rich cultural heritage. There is the Native American culture, and the very old Spanish culture going all the way back to Spanish land grants.