Category Archives: Treasure Chest Thursdays

Treasure Chest Thursday: Mom’s Infamous Coin Purses

To bronze or not to bronze . . . was definitely not an option my mother worried about when she contemplated what to do with our baby shoes once we outgrew them. Our treasured baby shoes became infamous coin purses she filled with money and hid around the house in case of emergencies — LOL!

Vintage Baby Shoes, 1950

The baby shoes above were purchased in the summer of 1950 and were worn by my oldest brother Elgin. Then they were passed down to my brother Jon who began wearing them in the summer of 1953. The baby shoes featured below were purchased  in the spring of 1960 for yours truly . . . me!

Vintage Baby Shoes, 1960

Both pairs featured above were purchased from Foley’s Downtown Budget Store at 1110 South Main Street, Houston, TX. One thing I do know is that we definitely got our money’s worth, and then some, out of these baby shoes!

I would really like to display our baby shoes in a creative way in my home. I saw some interesting things to do with baby shoes on Pinterest last week – http://pinterest.com/pigzfly/baby-shoes-what-to-do-with-them/. Check out the link and tell me what you think and if you’ve done something creative with your baby shoes, or your children’s baby shoes, let me hear from you!

 

Treasure Chest Thursday: Southern Pacific’s Famous Sunset Route

I had no idea that my father (John Willie Taylor) worked for the railroad industry also until I came upon a W-2 with total wages he earned working for Southern Pacific (SP) in 1949. When I asked mom about his employment with SP, she said he did work for them, but only for a short period of time before going on to work full time for Sheffield Steel Corporation (Armco Steel).

In addition to the W-2, I found an old postcard booklet dad saved from 1949 about the famous SP Sunset Route from New Orleans, Louisiana to El Paso, Texas. A quick search online shows that this antique/vintage postcard collection sells for $2.50 and up today, depending on its condition. Even though my souvenir folder is a little brown from dirt & dust through the years, it has never been used and therefore, in pretty good condition (see below)!

Souvenir Folder of Southern Pacific Lines along the Sunset Route - New Orleans, LA. - El Paso, Texas

Front

 

Southern Pacific's Famous Sunset Route from New Orleans, LA to El Paso, Texas

Inside

SOUTHERN PACIFIC’S
Famous Sunset Route
from
NEW ORLEANS, LA
to EL PASO, TEXAS

There’s absolutely no doubt that Southern Pacific’s Sunset Route to California is the most romantic rail line in the country. It starts in New Orleans, which is one of the three cities in America that they write stories about. Five different nations have left their marks here. New Orleans has some of the finest restaurants in the world, and it is worth a trip to this city just to see the old French Quarter with its balconies of filigree wrought iron, and the antique shops on Royal Street, almost bursting with treasure, some of it from the fine old plantation homes of pre-Civil War days.

Leaving the Old South at New Orleans, the Sunset Route travels westward across the picturesque Bayou country of Louisiana, the land of Evangeline, fringed with moss draped oaks. Over the Texas border to Beaumont, famous for its vast oil production and then to Houston, bustling, prosperous, shiny Metropolis of Texas. Thence to San Antonio – famous for her Alamo, Missions, and the picturesque San Antonio River. Then over the famous new high bridge over Pecos to the Mexican border at El Paso.

Canal Street, looking west, New Orleans, LA

Canal Street, looking west, New Orleans, LA

Lacework in Iron, Royal Street, New Orleans, LA

Lacework in Iron, Royal Street, New Orleans, LA

Huey P. Long Bridge, New Orleans, LA

Huey P. Long Bridge, New Orleans, LA

Shadows on the Teche, New Iberia, LA

Shadows on the Teche, New Iberia, LA

Harbor View of Beaumont, Texas

Harbor View of Beaumont, Texas

San Jacinto Memorial Shaft, Houston, Texas

San Jacinto Memorial Shaft, Houston, Texas

Skyline of Houston, Texas

Skyline of Houston, Texas

Southern Pacific Depot, Houston, Texas

Southern Pacific Depot, Houston, Texas

Randolph Field near San Antonio, Texas

Randolph Field near San Antonio, Texas

The Alamo, San Antonio, Texas

The Alamo, San Antonio, Texas

Grand Canyon of Texas

Grand Canyon of Texas

Pecos High Bridge on Southern Pacific Line, Sunset Route Near Del Rio, Texas

Pecos High Bridge on Southern Pacific Line, Sunset Route Near Del Rio, Texas

Saw Tooth Mountain, Davis Mountain Range

Saw Tooth Mountain, Davis Mountain Range

Cattle Kings of the Great Southwest

Cattle Kings of the Great Southwest

Bird's Eye View of Marfa, Texas

Bird’s Eye View of Marfa, Texas

Bird's Eye View of Alpine, Texas

Bird’s Eye View of Alpine, Texas

The International Bridge between El Paso, Texas and C. Juarez, Mexico

The International Bridge between El Paso, Texas and C. Juarez, Mexico

View of Downtown El Paso, Texas

View of Downtown El Paso, Texas

 

—–
Source Citation:

“Southern Pacific Lines Along the Sunset Route: New Orleans, LA to El Paso, Texas.” Souvenir Folder. Southern Pacific Lines. 1949.

Treasure Chest Thursday: My father’s 1937 Kodak Jiffy Camera

Dad at age 18 or 19 holding his Kodak Jiffy camera case

My father loved cameras! He enjoyed posing for pictures just as much as he enjoyed taking them. I believe I’m the one in the family that enjoys cameras as much as he did. Since his death, all of his cameras have been passed on to me. So on my list of things to do this year, I will inspect each one and determine what condition they are in at this time. Well, the day to inspect one of those cameras came this past weekend while I was scanning some old photos of my father to my computer. I came across the photo you see to the right  of him around the age of 18 or 19 posing for a picture while holding a camera case in his hand. That camera case looked very familiar to me. So I pulled out all the stored cameras and there it was — dad’s Kodak Jiffy Camera (series II), 620 roll film camera for eight 6 x 9 cm negatives that was built around 1937!

Kodak Jiffy (series II) camera, 1937

According to the UK website – The Living Image Vintage Camera Museum, “The Jiffy is a budget camera but [offers] a little more control than a box camera. The lens has two position focus with the front element mounted in a screw barrel… The Jiffy cameras all share a common design of catch to keep the back closed; whilst it succeeds at keeping the back tightly closed and is unlikely to open accidentally, it is subject to binding after a few years of inactivity. Consequently many are broken.”

One thing I know for sure is that the common design of  the catch to keep the back of the camera tightly close works like a pro because 75 years later, I cannot get the back of this camera open — LOL!  I will be taking it to a camera shop this summer to get it open and determine if  I will be able to use it, and/or, actually learn to use it. It is in mint condition after all these years. I’m excited to see what this little jewel from 1937 can do!

If you love cameras and have a vintage Kodak like this one, let me hear from you!

Treasure Chest Thursdays: Mulberry Bower

It was during one of my visits home for the holidays in 1998 that I came across the “5 Generations” photo that I featured for Wordless Wednesday, 23 March 2011. That photo featuring my 97-year-old great-great-grandmother (Lula Routt Green) is what launched my research into my father’s side of my family tree.  Based on a few names he could remember, I was able to glean from the 1870 and 1880 census that Lula Routt, born 12 September 1867 in Chappel Hill, Washington County, Texas, was the daughter of Osborn and Sallie Routt.  Lula was born 13 years after slavery ended in Texas. Prior to her birth, her parents — Osborn and Sallie —  were slaves on one of the eight plantations in the Chappel Hill area.

So I turned to the Internet to find and connect with Chappel Hill’s Historical Society to learn more about the plantations in their town during the 1860’s. My email queries put me in direct contact with the town’s well-respected historians, Nath & Judy Winfield who sent  the email below:

Date: Tue, 25 Aug 1998 15:13:23  -500
Subject: Plantation Homes

Re: your inquery about plantation homes in this area:

Joseph William Routt, my maternal great grandfather, came to Washington Co. from Huntsville, Alabama in the mid 1840’s, bringing his family with him. He bought a tract of land between Chappell Hill and the Brazos River and began building a house. Before it was completed, it was blown down in a storm, whereupon he moved the location a short distance south and built again. I have a drawing of the floor plan, typically Texan in style, with a dogtrot and rooms on either side, one with a fireplace. The kitchen was a separate building about ten steps behind the house, with a large fireplace for cooking (My great grandmother bought her first stove after the War). When he became to old to raise cotton, Mr. Routt moved to town. My grandfather sold the property and moved the cotton gin into Chappell Hill. The house has been somewhat modified over the years and has been moved to the outskirts of Chappell Hill. I tried, unsuccessfully, to buy it at the time it was moved. The Routt Plantation was called “Mulberry Bower…”

Can you say — hit paydirt?!  HIT PAYDIRT! What are the chances of the great-grand son of the Slaveholder who owned and brought my ancestors to Texas would be sharing family history with me via email?! All I can say is — WOW! A few weeks later 16 September 1998, I received  the drawing  of the Old Routt House as well as a photo of  the house after a room had been added on the front porch in 1846:

Old Routt House Drawing, circa 1846

 

John W. Routt House, circ 1846

I cannot begin to explain the emotions I felt that day in 1998 when I actually saw this drawing and photograph of the house that I know my ancestors helped build, kept cleaned, and worked hard and long in the fields of the Mulberry Bower Plantation.

So what has become of this house since 1846? Well, a recent road-trip to the area revealed that the house still exist today and that it sits back along FM 2447 not far from the National Historic District of Chappell Hill, TX.

Routt descendants purchased another small 4-room house of cedar from a carpenter/sawmill owner in 1898. The house was enlarged with Victorian trim and two chimneys. The house was added to the National Register of Historic Places in Texas on February 20, 1985 (see below):

Routt House photo taken 20 May 2011

So if you have some Routts in your family tree, or slave ancestors who have connections with the Mulberry Bower Plantation, let me hear from you because – I’m Claiming Kin!