Thursday, December 8, 2016

George's Photos ca. 1896 page 1 of 5

One of the stories that my mother, Mary Potter Lavery (1911-1994), told about her father George Potter (1875-1943) was that he had tried his hand at professional photography when he was young. 

I recently found a collection of George's early photographs which perhaps represent work he intended to sell.  These photos are mounted on cardboard and most of the cardboard backings have pinholes, suggesting that they may have been displayed for show or for sale.  The photo papers seem to have been trimmed as they are slightly irregular in size; most are 4.5x6.5 inches (around 114x165 mm).  

The two photos below have a common theme.  They capture the resort area of Findley Lake, NY, which was the site of a "Lakeside Assembly" on the Chautauqua model at the turn of the past century.  Structures for lectures and concerts were on one side of the lake, while lodging for the visitors was on another; the two were connected by paddle-wheel steamboats.  The steamboat in George's photo matches up with one illustrated in the Findley Lake historical website:  

The vessel in these photos is almost certainly the "Silver Spray", which operated in this single-deck configuration during the 1896-1898 seasons.  It was converted to a two-deck plan after 1898 and continued to operate until 1910.

The titles in quotes are George's in his hand.

"Moonlight on Findley Lake"
Paddle-wheeler "Silver Spray"

"On Findley Lake"
Waiting for the next boat at Findley Lake.  The owner of the "Silver Spray" added a top deck for the 1899 season.

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