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VINTAGRAPH • WPA • WWII • EAT MORE FISH, 1917

Poughkeepsie: 1906

Poughkeepsie: 1906

Circa 1906. "Main Street. Poughkeepsie, New York." Behold the Queen City of the Hudson. 8x10 inch glass negative, Detroit Publishing Company. View full size.

 

Get Lost! Up in Poughkeepsie!

Coming from the Midwest but having lived in the Poughkeepsie area for a few years there were two things I found mildly amusing. One the town of Fishkill, just south of Poughkeepsie. Apparently "kill" means "creek" in Dutch, but to a Midwesterner, it sounds like a toxic waste dump site. The other was the expression "Up in Poughkeepsie." I heard this several times when I was there and asked what it meant. It sounds like "Hey, where are we? I have no idea! We must be up in Poughkeepsie." Apparently the Midwestern equivalent is "B.F.E." or out in the middle of nowhere. It means to get lost -- really lost. I guess this originated from the fact that Poughkeepsie is the last stop north on the New York Metro Lines. Watching television over the years, it hit home that this definition must have been in use for a long time. If you watch just about any program depicting the mafia in or around New York City, whenever they are hiding out from the law, it's always up in Poughkeepsie.

Popeye Doyle wants to know

if you ever picked your toes on a pier in Poughkeepsie?

Luckey-Platt

Luckey-Platt (Luckey's as we called it) was around in those days but the Luckey-Platt building did not go up until the 1920s. The building would have been about a half-block behind where the cameraman is standing.

The Trolley Tracks

I'm positive I've been on Main Street on more then one occasion. I figured out the geography prior to reading any information about it and knew it would take you to the Hudson River if you kept heading west down (or is that up) Main Street. Next time I visit Poughkeepsie I am going to see if there are any signs of the trolley tracks. I live 40 miles north across the river in the Village of Catskill. They paved over the tracks that ran up and down our Main Street. For some reason they never pulled the tracks up and no matter how many times they repave those tracks reappear. Obviously steel and asphalt are not friends. The bumps can be quite annoying when passing over with even the best of our modern automobiles.

My grandfather's dream

To come to America and open a little "Going Out of Business" store!

Boston Candy Kitchen

I've run into quite a few towns and cities which had a "Boston Candy Kitchen" or a "Boston Candy Palace" or similar. I can't quite grasp the significance, aside from the fact that there were several confection companies there (Bakers, Lowney, Crane, and others). They generally had one other thing in common- most were run by Greek immigrants.

Western Printing

tterrace is correct. Western Printing was located here just to the north in an absolutely gorgeous art deco factory building originally built to construct Fiat automobiles. As I said: gorgeous.

Imagine my horror upon visiting my home town after a long absence a few years back and finding it had been demolished for yet another mall. Po-kip-see was an indian word meaning: the reed covered lodge near the little water place. When I was in grade school our class was taken down to Route 9 to watch Gene Autry arrive in the convertible as he was on his way to Western Printing where his comic books were printed. He was drunk as a skunk and falling out of the Caddy!

Ahhhhh, the memories.

Poughkeepsie: Comic book center of the universe

My familiarity with Poughkeepsie, which otherwise would have been any one of thousands of towns located thousands of miles away from me that I never heard of, dates back to when I was a kid and saw that it was apparently the source of many of my favorite comic books, the ones with legends indicating that they came from "K.K. Publications" in that city. I envisioned a magic realm of artists pouring out stories of Uncle $crooge and Donald Duck. Actually, the firm was a subsidiary of Western Printing and Lithographing (another being Dell Comics) who had a printing plant in the city. I must have learned the pronunciation early on, as I've always thought of it as Puh-KIP-see.

Signs of the times

Interesting signs -- the Pokeepsie Flag Co., and who hasn't dreamed of a honeymoon at the Hotel Wimpelberg!

Finkels Time

I sure could go for a Finkels pure malt beer about now, especially after maintaining all those wires!

I really dig seeing all those glass insulators in use. And as an old billboard painter, I can appreciate all those signs and such without one single, solitary vinyl letter!

Ah, Good Old Poughkeepsie

I grew up here in the late 1940s and '50s. This view is looking west from half a block east of Market Street. Past Market, Main takes a slight turn and begins a long steep downgrade to the Hudson River, where the trolleys picked up passengers at the New York Central Station and at the shoreline met the Hudson Day-Liners -- lovely ships.

My Dad told me of a particular incident during a very icy day on Main Street. One trolley, heading down the hill, began slipping on the ice and rapidly gaining speed. No sand or brakes made any difference as it was totally out of control. Knowing they were heading for a very bad end, the motorman turned to the passengers and announced loudly: "Next stop, Hudson River!"

The best and the latest

Considering the Mortimer Drake building, here is an excerpt from "The Historic Wallkill and Hudson River Valleys": "Not to the 'Queen City' [Poughkeepsie] alone is our trade confined, but from all directions on both sides of the Hudson River our customers come. Those who seek the best and latest of the dry goods and costuming creations, realize that this store offers an unequaled stock at the fairest of prices."

Wooden Indian

I looked to the right and swore that was Kaw-liga, but, alas, the store across the street isn't an antique store.

In front of the Indian

The guy in the Smokey Bear hat blinks in relief after a whole block of trying not to look like he's checking out the young lady he just passed.

Mortimer C. Drake

Looks like Mortimer C. Drake's place has closed up shop. He was probably related to the large Drake clan, who were rivermen from the village of New Hamburg, just downriver a few miles from Pokip. I'm curious about whether the Luckey-Platt department store was in Pokip back in those days. It doesn't appear to be in this photo.

$1.50 Per Day

I trust that includes HBO and free WiFi.

Post-Mort

I never understood why the name Mortimer went out of style, but this is an interesting street scene with lots to look at!

Wires in all directions

This is a good example of near chaos in the routing and stringing of lines. That is, the early 20th century's lines of commerce -- the electric lines, telephone lines, telegraph lines, and trolley lines that make modern life possible. In the distance, the lines almost black out the sky. It's a characteristic of our cities of that era that is both ugly and beautiful at the same time.

 
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