Vacations… Ah, the stuff that dreams are made of! Who doesn’t love the thought of traveling to far-away places to see and experience sights, sounds, and smells that we don’t get at home? For me, it was taking the yearly trip to Jekyll Island. How my mom and dad saved up enough to take this annual pilgrimage I still do not know, but for one week each year, I was able to live in a motel (not hotel), eat seafood that I had never heard of, much less tasted, stay up late with my cousins, and begin my love of anything coastal. It was the same for many people who traveled in the 19th and 20th centuries. Some of those people came from the northern states to vacation not on the coast but in the small communities of our state. For us, all we have to do is get online and Google the place we want to visit, but for those vacationers, they found out about these places from postcards, possibly sent to them by a family member. The Crossroads Chronicle reached out to local historian and collector David Morgan to get insight as to how these postcards came to be so important. Morgan is an avid collector of movie poster, stamps, and postcards. He allowed us a peak into his collection of postcards—some of them unique, some rare, and all of them interesting.
According to the information from Morgan, postcards were sold at train stations and drugstores to try to get people to collect them. Most of the cards were made by companies in Germany, prior to World War I, who would send photographers to go around the country and take photographs of small towns. They would make a deal with drugstores or train stations to sell them 100 or so cards for pennies, and they, in turn, would sell them for five to 10 cents. Of course, all of the photographs were black and white, but some of the photographs were in color. For those, David said they were actually hand-colored by the companies who sold them.
His collection is mostly of Georgia towns, some that many of us have never heard of, some that we have traveled through, and some that may not exist anymore. His prized cards, though, are of the small towns and communities that make up Emanuel County and places he has lived.
One of the cards was of the Hotel Albert that was located in Graymont. It was a fantastic two-story structure with wrap-around porches and more than six fireplaces that we could count. One can just imagine visitors to our area staying in this hotel. Of course, as many of our early structures, it fell victim to fire, so we only have this postcard as a record of its existence.
He showed us next cards with that showed the Graymont Mineral Springs, Coleman Sanitarium, Graymont Academy, and others. He had a postcard of The Peoples Bank of Summit, Georgia that featured an interior picture of the tellers area, which included beautiful etched glass. Two postcards of Stillmore showed the Farmers Exchange Bank and The Methodist Church.
He next showed a postcard that he found in Macon and asked me to see if I recognized the building. After a few seconds, I correctly identified it as The Edenfield House; the street that ran in front of it was listed as Race Street, not Racetrack Street.
Morgan said there were no catalogs made of these postcards, so the beauty of it is making those rare finds, which are getting harder and harder to come by. He told us there is not a network of people that trade cards like there are of baseball cards, but he does have a group of people who often get in touch with each other if they find a card they know someone else would be interested in. The most interesting ones for Morgan are those he knows there is only one of, and he has several of those.
He confided in us that he has been doing this for more than 40 years, and it never gets old, getting a chance to look at someone else’s collection and finding one he doesn’t have, then bartering to add that one to his collection. His plan is to pass this collection down to his children and eventually his grandchildren.
Morgan is quick to give a lot of credit to his wife, Lynda, in his lifelong passion. He says she is supportive whenever he makes a find that he wants to add to his collection.
We at The Crossroads look forward to having a chance in the near future to also have a glimpse into his movie poster collection. Until then, Morgan was generous enough to allow a few photographs of cards of our area. We here at The Chronicle thank David for his time, and we hope everyone enjoys the photos of those cards.