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Littleton Fruit: 1908

Littleton Fruit: 1908

Circa 1908. "Main Street -- Littleton, New Hampshire." Yes, they have bananas, and Moxie, too. 8x10 glass negative, Detroit Publishing Co. View full size.


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Moxie II

Moxie must have been good; Ted Williams endorsed it.

RE: Moxie

For anyone who is curious, Moxie tastes something like root beer with cherry cough syrup.


Moxie, for anyone who has never tried it, is an experience. Despite living in New England all my life I never acquired a taste for it. I wonder if perhaps it tasted better in 1908 than it does today?

As for Thayer's Inn, it's a lovely old hotel. My husband and I stayed there around 2005. We keep meaning to go back but haven't yet. There are photos of Bette Davis all over the Inn because she lived in a nearby town in the 1930s (rumor has it she visited Thayer's quite often too) and one of her movie premieres took place at Thayer's.

High voltage

The high voltage wires are there. The bottom crossarm carries the 110/220 household circuits, and three of the four larger insulators on the second crossarm carry the "high" voltage. It could be 1,100 volts, obsolete as soon as it was introduced in the 1890s, or it could be 2,200 volts, a system which was overwhelmingly common until the postwar era. The transformer is the horizontal black oval on the backside of the second pole. (If any transformers of this type are still in existence, there are collectors who will pay ridiculous amounts of money for one.)

The fourth wire on the second crossarm is for street lighting. Only one wire was needed, because it ran in a loop around the neighborhood, with the bulbs wired in series like Christmas lights. Nixiebunny is correct that running power below telephone would not meet current code. The reason it is like this, probably, is that the telephone wires were already in place when the power was installed.

Bananas travel cool.

The bananas probably sailed in United Fruit Co. steamships painted white to reflect the sun, and finally in railroad refrigerator cars from the port to the train station shown in earlier views of Littleton.

Thayers Inn

Here's a photo of the historic Thayers Inn I took while on vacation there in 2006. Established 1843, and glad to say it's still a very hopping hotel.

How did they do that?

In 1908, how would you get bananas from Central America to inland New England before they spoiled? This little shop seems to have an ample supply.
I imagine that bananas were still a bit of a delicacy in 1908.

[USA annual per capita banana consumption in 1909: 19.3 pounds, according to the USDA. -tterrace]

Wires were different back then

It's so strange to see the telephone wires above the power wires. There's a strict hierarchy these days of putting higher voltage wires above lower voltage wires. It's also strange to not see any high voltage lines or transformers on the poles.

Use and Care

The lady crossing the street wearing the long white dress obviously spotted a clear path to the other side. Rules of the day insisted on long skirts even though traversing a roadway could be hazardous to the well-being of the garment.

The far church is still there

As are some left hand buildings in the background, starting with the flat face storefront with the four windows, and the inn behind it, with the tower, and four columns facing the street.

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At least two survivors

The building on the left with the columns and the sharply peaked roof is the well-known Thayers Inn. It was almost 60 years old at the time of this picture and is still going strong today. Also still extant is the Congregational Church whose steeple is visible in the distance on the left side of the street.

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