For this month’s mystery, Historian Carol Jensen would like to know where the orchard and drying shed were located. “Perhaps the photographer took liberties with identifying the location as Oakley – not an uncommon practice,” Jensen said. “Who owns this orchard and are the farmer’s family members in the image? The use of a horse and wagon gives us a clue to the era. No diesel tractors or Ford trucks here.
“The reverse of the card gives us some clues. It appears to be a sample postcard used for marketing postcard printing services. Note the advertisement on the back.”
The advertisement reads “LITHOTINT, 1 M Editions Only, DELIVERY 5 TO 6 WEEKS, COMMERCIAL COLORTYPE CO., 29 RIVER ST. CHICAGO, ILL.” The logo also provides information. The Maltese cross with a circle in the center is a symbol of the Templar.
Additional clues help identify the card-printing era. “We can narrow the printing date to the period between 1873 and 1943, when ‘CAL’ was the preferred USPO abbreviation for California,” said Jensen. “Divided-back cards providing a space for both address and message are approved by the USPO for use on March 1, 1907. ”
The prize for information leading to the date, location and property ownership of this peach orchard and drying operation is a copy of “East Contra Costa County,” an Arcadia Postcard Series publication.
E-mail your discoveries to Jensen at firstname.lastname@example.org. All History Mystery updates are archived with the East Contra Costa Historical Society.