Monday, June 15, 2009

Under The Boardwalk, Down By The Sea

The bathing suits in which you dress
Are nothing much and mostly less,
And as you saunter to and fro

A lot of family traits they show.


~ J.P. McEvoy 1919 ~



TheEnd


I marvel every time I look at the photograph below, how anyone thought they could swim in this outfit. A hat, a dress, stockings, and laced boots - all to go swimming? But look at the vintage poster above. The lovely mermaid is wearing a hat, a dress, and boots. I assume it was fashionable.

This is a photograph of my Grandmother Greene when she was about eleven years old. Where she was going to go swimming is unknown; or even for that matter if she ever got wet. Note the man in the background wearing a wool swimsuit. I wonder if the weight of a wet wool swimsuit contributed to people drowning.


My Mother's family spent a great deal of time near the water. Note I have said near, as I have no photographs of them actually in the water. Before they were married, my grandparents would motor down to Edgemere from Flushing with my Great Grandparents on holiday. They stayed in one of the many cottages found there in the early 1900s.


Cottage At Edgemere
1915


Edgemere was a neighborhood in southwestern Queens on the Rockaway Peninsula. It is found between Beach 32nd and Beach 16th streets. It was home to the famous Edgemere Hotel built by Frederick Lancaster in 1895 and operated by him until 1919. He also owned many of the cottages.


Great Grandmother Salter
Edgemere 1915
Woman's Work Knows No Holiday



My Grandfather Greene
& The Hottest Car on Long Island
Edgemere 1915

This photo is the reason I believe my family motored out to Edgemere. My Grandfather loved to drive and was fond of what he called hot cars. Once on a visit to New York he took my sister and me for a ride in his Karman Gia which he called the "Hottest Car On Long Island." He drove so fast it scared my Mother and she had a conversation with he about speeding with her children in the car. He laughed, teased my Mother and she gave up on the lecture. We did not, however, go for a ride with Grandpa again. So it is an assumption on my part that he always had a hot car and that the family drove to Edgemere. Rail service at the time made it a very easy trip from Flushing, so perhaps they took the train and hired a car when they arrived.


Grandpa Greene & His Camera
Edgemere 1915


My Grandfather never went anywhere without a camera, and as you can see here, he had graduated to moving pictures. He documented everything. How I wish I knew where some of those old moving pictures were hidden.

Once they were married and my Uncle Edward was born the family would take the baby with them on their trips to the beach. Below is a photograph of the family having a picnic on the beach, fully clothed, hats, and ties with nothing that resembles a bathing suit.

Then of course, the baby had to be wheeled down the boardwalk - notice no bathing suits in sight. I'm beginning to get an idea of why the old photographers had the painted backdrops of the beach. No one actually put on a bathing suit and got wet during this period of time.


More Beach - No Suits
Bathing Suits That Is

I had started to think that perhaps it was just the part of the country. New York wasn't then and isn't now sunny California. Then I found the photograph below. Venice City, California, 1915, on the beach with Grandpa Greene. Dapper as always, but no bathing suit.


Venice Beach, California
1915

So it can only be the times or the family. My money is on the family. You don't see any photos of me in a swimsuit do you? We're a lot smarter than we look!

This article is from a previous edition of the COG. It's one of my favorites and contains all the swimsuit photographs I can find. I have reworked the article a bit and I hope you enjoy the second look. And, like Jasia, I've used these photographs as decorative elements in my home. These photographs decorate the powder room; as close to "Down By The Sea" as I get.


Sources:

Photographs:


Lillian Salter. Photograph. ca. 1908. Digital image. Privately held by the footnoteMaven, Preston, Washington. 2007.

Cottage At Edgemere. Photograph. 1915. Digital image. Privately held by the footnoteMaven, Preston, Washington. 2007.

Julia Salter Sweeping. Photograph. 1915. Digital image. Privately held by the footnoteMaven, Preston, Washington. 2007.

Edward Greene In Car. Photograph. 1915. Digital image. Privately held by the footnoteMaven, Preston, Washington. 2007.

Edward Greene With Camera. Photograph. 1915. Digital image. Privately held by the footnoteMaven, Preston, Washington. 2007.

Picnic. Photograph. Unknown. Digital image. Privately held by the footnoteMaven, Preston, Washington. 2007.

Boardwalk
. Photograph. Unknown. Digital image. Privately held by the footnoteMaven, Preston, Washington. 2007.

Venice Beach
. Photograph. 1915. Digital image. Privately held by the footnoteMaven, Preston, Washington. 2007

6 Comments:

Blogger Family Curator said...

Photos like these remind me that summer is nearly here! Even in Southern California we have to wait out the June Gloom to welcome Ol Sol.

Thanks for sharing the memories.

June 16, 2009 at 10:39 AM  
Blogger Greta Koehl said...

Under the Boardwalk, Runaround Lu -- sounds like a serious case of music nostalgia. (And yes, I remember these songs. From my older brother, of course.)

June 16, 2009 at 4:24 PM  
Blogger jecampbell said...

Love the pictures. Have Salters in my family from Ireland 1850s any possible connection?

June 16, 2009 at 6:41 PM  
Blogger Judith Richards Shubert said...

Great pictures!

June 20, 2009 at 10:49 AM  
Blogger Bill West said...

Liked the pictures fM!

Maybe the boots were because the beach was more rocks
than sand, like some up here in Massachusetts?

June 23, 2009 at 10:56 PM  
Blogger lindalee said...

As always a delightful and informative blog. Love the photos and the story woven between them. The Venice Beach uniform has certainly changed over the years ;-)

June 24, 2009 at 7:25 PM  

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