Friday, May 31, 2013


We wrap up Colorado Week with this fine photograph of Cowboys and Horses. The picture is titled "Roundup on the Cimarron". The picture was taken in 1898. I  love these old pictures of cowboys and the authentic West.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Pack Donkeys

Today's picture is from 1900, and it shows a pack train of donkeys hauling supplies up a mountain road. The picture was taken in Colorado.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Hauling Lumber

Today's picture shows donkeys packing large pieces of lumber. It looks like the lumber has been milled recently, so perhaps it is being taken to a job location. The picture was taken in Colorado.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Silver Mine

Today's picture shows a Silver Mine in Colorado. It looks like the donkeys are about to be loaded up with ore. The picture was taken about 1900.

Monday, May 27, 2013


Colorado Week continues here at OPOD with this picture of a shoe store. The picture was taken in around 1900. We are not told what town it is in, but it looks like it might be some type of mining boom town coming up.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Mesa Verde

Today's picture shows the ruins of a Cliff Palace at Mesa Verde, Colorado. The photograph was taken in 1898. The people who built and lived in these very sophisticated structures remain somewhat of a mystery. This society lived in the area between around 600 AD and 1300 AD. It is unclear what brought the end of this society. If you ever get the chance, visit the Mesa Verde park, and tour these magnificent cliff dwellings.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Steam Locomotive

Welcome to Colorado Week here at OPOD. We will be looking at old pictures from the Rocky Mountain State all week long. We start with this photochrom print from 1900. It shows an old Steam Locomotive. We are not told what part of Colorado the picture is from, but it looks a lot like some of the areas in the southern part. 

Friday, May 24, 2013

Indian Maiden

We wrap up Indian Portrait Week with this photochrom print from 1904. It shows an Indian girl beside a lake and canoe. Her Tipi can be seen in the background. We are not given any information on the location of the photograph, but are told the girl's name is Minnehaha. 

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Crow Indian

Today we have a photochrome print from 1902. It shows an Indian Man in front of his Tipi on the Great Plains. His horses look great, and it also looks like he has a couple of dogs. The man is from the Crow tribe.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Hopi Indian Woman

Today's picture was taken in about 1900, and it shows a woman carrying a bundle. The woman is from the Hopi Indians. The picture was taken in Arizona. Again, this looks like a very tough area to be a farmer.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Old Indian Couple

This is another really nice photochrome print of an Indian Couple. The picture was taken in 1899. We do not know where they are from, but the man's name was Jose Jesus, and the woman is his wife. I love how sophistication of their clothing, and the cane is a nice touch. It really makes you wish you knew more of their story. 

Monday, May 20, 2013

Indian Couple

Today we have another splendid photochrom print. The photograph was taken in 1899 and it shows an Indian man and his wife. The man's name was Pee Viggi. His wife's name is not recorded.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Indian Farmer

Today's picture is from 1902, and it shows a Hopi Indian Man with a hoe. The man is a farmer, and it looks like he is growing corn. The picture was taken in New Mexico. If you have ever tried to garden, you know how hard it is to grow things. I sometimes wonder how mankind survived before mechanized farm implements and pesticides. When I grow things it is an enormous battle with bugs, the weather, and the soil. Even in the picture above, the man has the incredible resource of a steel hoe. Imagine trying to farm before steel implements.

A Comment on Comments:
I think that over the years one of the things that has made this blog successful is the wonderful participation by readers. The insightful comments always add interest to the post. I also understand how unpopular the Word Verification requirement is to post a comment. I have tried hard to make it as easy as possible to for people to comment.

The issue now is that I am getting overwhelmed by spam comments. It is not unusual to get hundreds of spam comments a day. My email becomes almost unusable because my inbox if filled with notifications of these spam comments. Also, as I sort through all this I inadvertently delete real comments.

So, regrettably  I am going to have to go back and turn word verification back on, where you will be asked to type some letters in a box when you comment to show you are a real person. The choice was to do this, or only allow registered users to comment.

I know this is a hassle, but hope you will understand there is really no way for me to manage things otherwise.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Indian Brave

First, we need to follow up on yesterday's picture. On the question of what the string and tab was coming from the cowboy's pocket . . . many of you recognized right off that it was a pouch of Bull Durham tobacco. This was the old roll your own smoke brand. When I was growing up, it was a common sight, and it was quite amazing watching the guys that used it make a cigarette. Truly it was an art form.

Now, on to this week. This will be Indian Portrait week. I have found some really amazing photochrom prints from 1900 that I would like to share with you. The picture above is the first in the series. The man was Arrowmaker, and he was an Ojibwa brave. I love the buckskin and beadwork. He really looks like something you would expect to see in a movie.

Friday, May 17, 2013


We wrap up Ranch Work week with this picture of a cowboy relaxing at the end of the day, having dinner on the ground. The picture was taken in 1939 at the Three Circle Roundup in Powder River, Montana. I really like this picture, and have this little trivia question for you . . . what is the little tab hanging out of his pocket? It is something you never see any more, but was common when I was growing up.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Horse Corral

Today's picture shows a cowboy working horses in a Corral. He has roped one of them with his lariat. The picture was taken in 1939 on a ranch near Spur, Texas.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Throwing Lariat

Today's picture is from 1905, and it shows a cowboy throwing a lariat. Cowboys would "rope" cattle so that they could be branded, dehorned, or other routine maintenance. The picture is from a ranch in Colorado.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013


Today's picture shows a group of cowboys on the XIT Ranch in Texas branding cattle. The XIT was a very famous ranch. XIT stood for Ten in Texas, and it was a group of investors who agreed to build the Texas Capitol Building in exchange for 3,000,000 acres of land in the northern part of Texas. The land became the XIT ranch. The XIT had very strict rules and cowboys were not allowed to drink or gamble. If you look at today's value of the 3,000,000 acres, it would likely make the Texas State Capitol Building the most expensive building ever built.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Dehorning Cattle

Today's picture is from 1905, and it shows cowboys dehorning a calf. Some ranchers dehorn their cattle to keep them from goring each other. Others leave the horns on as they can offer some protection from predators. This is a great pictures of cowboys from over 100 years ago.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Branding Cattle

Ranch Work Week continues with this picture from Colorado. It shows cowboys branding cattle. The picture was taken in about 1900. Branding is a very hard job, and not much fun for anyone involved. It is my impression that not a lot of branding goes on any more with most people using ear tags or other easier ways of marking cattle.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Cattle Buyers

Welcome to Ranch Work Week here at OPOD. We will be looking at the ins and outs of ranching via historical photos. We start with this fine picture of some ranchers buying cattle. The picture was taken at the Big Hole Valley in Montana.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Outdoor Cooking

Today's picture shows a family cooking in a pot in their front yard. The picture was taken in 1914 in North Carolina. I am wondering what they are cooking, but if I were to guess, I would guess they are making Hominy.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Migrant Worker Camp

Today's picture is from a migrant workers camp in Texas during the Great Depression. A woman can be seen cooking from the back of a wagon. It looks to be the back end of a truck, converted into some sort of Chuck Wagon type structure.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Colorado Cowboys

Today's picture is from 1900, and it shows some cooking and eating going on around a chuck wagon. The picture was taken in Colorado, and is a nice vies of a Cowboy Camp.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

San Francisco

Today's picture was taken in 1906, after the earthquake and fire in San Francisco. These people are cooking in the streets presumably because of the damage. It is interesting that even in the midst of the disaster  they all appear to be well dressed and groomed.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Roadside Cooking

This is a depression era picture which shows a woman cooking her meal on the side of the road over a small fire. This was not an uncommon scene during the great depression. The photographer asked her how things were going and she replied, "Do you suppose I'd be out on the highway cooking my steak if I had it good at home?" The picture was taken on the outskirts of El Paso, Texas. The woman was a hotel maid who had fallen on hard times.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Bandit Breakfast

Today's picture shows the short order cook in the Bandit Camp of Pascual Orozco. I would imagine this would be a rather challenging job for a cook, as I bet the clientele would have a rather low tolerance for food not up to their expectations. The picture was taken in 1911 during one of the Mexican Revolutions.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Short Order Cook

Welcome to Short Order Cook Week here at OPOD. We start with this fine example from around 1900. The picture was taken in Constantinople and shows a street cafe where food is prepared over a small wood-fueled grill. I note with interest that you still see street vendors like this in many places in the world. In Africa, scenes like this are still the norm. The bread in the foreground of the picture is called "Chapati". It is grilled in an oily skilled and served hot. WOW is it good. One piece of Chapati is a meal. 

Friday, May 3, 2013

Messenger Boy on Bicycle

We finish out Western Union Week with this photograph of a Messenger Boy delivering messages on a Bicycle. The picture was taken in Washington DC. Interesting to note the horse-drawn wagon in the background. 

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Telegram Operator

Today's picture shows a woman operating a telegram machine. I am curious at what point Telegrams stopped being sent by morse code with telegraph keys, and started being sent by teletype stations with typewriter keyboards. This picture was taken in 1923, so we can see that at this point keyboards were in use.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Messenger Girls

This picture is from 1925, and it shows Western Union Messenger Girls at the United States Capitol. A great picture from the "Roaring Twenties".