Friday, October 9, 2009

Broken Arrow, Nebraska

Have you been wondering where the Nebraska Farmers featured this week got all their cool stuff? Well, it was right up the road at the Holland & McDonald hardware store in Broken Bow, Nebraska. The store is pictured above. The picture was taken in 1886, about the same time as the other pictures in this series. When you look at pictures like this, do you sometimes think that everything used to be in Black and White? I sometimes have to remind myself that things back then were in fact in color, it was just the film that was black and white.


  1. I love these old pictures. I wonder why everyone stood so far apart? Was deodorant invented yet?

  2. Oh my goodness! When my girls were little I told them one day that color wasn't invented until the late 1940's. The proof? Look at the old pictures and movies. Their little eyes got big. "Really Mommy?!?" And they actually believed me for a couple of days!

  3. A truly wonderful series of pictures this week causing me to pause and reflect on how much we owe the pioneering spirit and determination to endure and succeed. I guess that would apply to all pioneers in any new world country be it America, Australia, New Zealand or Africa, etc.. Thank you PJM.

    As for the people in the photographs why, with the wide open space they live in perhaps compared with the small cramped accommodation their relatives in the east - or back in the 'old country' live in - would they not be somewhat spread out by way of celebration of the vastness of America and their own piece of it. Maybe a series of pictures showing the cramped tenements some lived in in New York would help illustrate/highlight the differences and afford a better understanding as to why the farmers families were inclined to spread out a bit.

  4. The question of why the people in
    the photos stand so far apart, has
    come up a few times over the week.

    I think their perception of space
    was different to ours. We have 'group' photo shots. A 20th century idea? They are showing us
    something specific about themselves
    and the land they occupy. In most
    of the photos they span the whole
    of the property, making them a
    larger 'group.' The grouping also
    shows us who's who within the family.

    It also makes a picture.

  5. It also makes for a better picture.

  6. The arms around the shoulders group photos is very new. It's also a result of faster film and snapshots. If you look at your own family album you will find people standing further apart than new photos. Did everyone smell or was it just the way it was done when people in a more formal time had to pose for time exposures? Also photos weren't taken so often and definitely useful documentation. It's more important to compose the picture and capture the moment properly. It all seems very logical to do it that way.

  7. There was a classic Sunday "Calvin & Hobbes" strip where Calvin's father explained how the world changed to color in the 30's, and even the paintings from the olden days were also done in shades of grey but then converted to color along with everything else. Only old photos remain as a document of the time when the world was black and white. ;-)

  8. On the top right corner of the store mounted on the roof is an advertisement. I wonder if this is where Studabaker got it's start.

  9. The positions and expressions of people in these photos always has an odd quality. It's like they just froze in place.

    I think I figured out why. I would guess virtually none of these people have seen a photograph of themselves, and probably not of anyone else.

    They would have none of our notions about how to pose and certainly none of the 'say cheeze' thoughts we all have, since photos are so commonplace in our era.

  10. No one dared get caught smiling back in the day. And the guy with the camera never had to tell them to "get a little closer" so they just stopped where they were to get their picture clicked. I thought I was the only one that finds it hard to picture my grandmother (and all them) in color before I came into the world.

  11. I like the little girls on the right side of the photo; especially the little one sitting on the wooden crate. Very sweet.

    I have quite a few old family photos and in none of them are the people standing apart like we have seen this week. Could be cultural, although one side of my family is mostly German and the other side is mostly Scottish - I don't think their cultures had many similarities. Yet they are standing very close sometimes with an arm around someone or their arm over each others shoulders, or close enough to where they are touching. Very interesting question we aren't likely to get answered.

  12. I am so glad you mentioned the forgetting it was colour back then PJM. I thought I was the only one who thought about it.