A few years ago I lucked into finding two photo albums and an autograph book at a charity book sale. All turned out to be from the same family, stuffed with notes and pictures ranging from the 1880s until the 1930s. The oldest set from these photo albums, and the one I’m going to start with, comes from somewhere around 1905 and details a train trip along the Southeastern United States. I plan on putting these photos up and trying to see what it was all about.
Alright, on with the show.
The picture shown here has a caption that says–in the typically indecipherable handwriting of the age– “Entrance to Fort Marion” and then “Mr. Woodford”. Now, thankfully, to go along with my penchant for old photo albums comes a hoarding of books on local history. So off to the bookshelf I went and I pulled out the 1927 edition of Representative Clevelanders. In it I found:
Woodford, Walter Reed, pres. and director, Rail & River Coal Co.; born, Dunkirk, NY, Nov. 9, 1857; son M.S. and Caroline (Reed) Woodford; educated, Fredonia, NY Normal school; married, London, Eng., 1891 to Isabelle S. Woodford; former gen. sup. Wheeling & Lake Erie R. R.; pres. and gen. mgr. Cleveland Lorain & Wheeling R.R.; vice-pres. Pittsburgh Coal Co.; vice-pres. and director Fidelity Mortgage Co.; director F.A. Smith & Western R.R. Co. and Commonwealth Savings and Loan Co.; member Union(1), Mayfield Country(2) and Rowfant(3)Clubs. Residence 2692 Berkshire-rd. Office: 744 Rockefeller Bldg(4).
Well, looks like the our first character is a main actor in the exploding world of industry that characterized Cleveland in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. This will become important later. Watch this space.
Fort Marion is in St. Augustine, Florida and is the oldest fort in the United States, being built by the Spanish starting in 1672. Then and now it is known as Castillo de San Marcos but for a bit over a 100 years it had the Marion title. Oh, when the Brits held it they called it something else. Everything in life is confusion.
Anyway, he is posing in front of the Ravelin Drawbridge, which you can see a more modern photo here:
See the doorway to the right of the picture? That is the doorway to the right of Mr. Woodford. The drawbridge was the only access to the fort. They never did complete the building of that section of the fort but you can see the idea from this aerial view:
The drawbridge is to the left of the arrow that juts from the top-center of the square. Here is another of the Woodford shots, taken from what I suspect is the upper right of the aerial view (Although I’m not certain of this–the castellations don’t quite match up. I wonder if there was a different bridge setup then.):
Alright, that’s enough for now. Soon… Bonaventure!
The Union Club
The Union Club still exists in its same location on Euclid Avenue and East 12th, right before the theater district. The indispensable Shorpy, of course, has a picture of it from the time frame of this album. (If you don’t spend at least a little time on that website every week I don’t understand you.)back up
The Mayfield Country Club
The Mayfield Country Club still exists but in a changed form. The diminishing participation in the country club lifestyle and the flight from city centers–it is hard for me to fathom, exurb boy that I am, that South Euclid was out in the country at one point–has lead the club to merge with another local club, The Oakwood club, and merge with a golf course far out in the wilds beyond civilization. Oh, that’s right, Sand Ridge golf course is a couple miles South of me.
The Rowfant Club
The Rowfant Club is a venerable Cleveland “bibliophillic society”. Now this is kind of interesting. The club is a group of men–women are still not allowed to join–that discuss books and bookmaking. It seems that the a number of such societies were started at the end of the 19th century in response to machine-made books. These societies wished to help continue the tradition of fine printing and design. This club also has a “no publicity” policy which is quite effective. You just never hear about it even though it resides in one of the oldest buildings in Cleveland. Here is an interesting article about a visit.
The Rockefeller Building
The Rockefeller Building still stands at the corner of West 6th Street and Superior. The building seems to have been built after John D. Rockefeller Sr. retired but before Standard Oil was broken up. As seems to be the thing to do, it had a name change in the 1920s to the Kirby building after the new owner. John Jr. didn’t take kindly to that, bought the building and changed the name back.