Monday, September 30, 2013

Deputy Sheriff

Today we feature a picture of the Deputy Sheriff from Mogollon, New Mexico. He is the first officer of our series to actually have his gun showing. To me, it looks like a Colt peacemaker.

Sunday, September 29, 2013


Today we feature a picture of the Deputy Sheriff from Gonzales, Texas. The picture was taken in 1939. This guy certainly has an element of intimidation about him.

Saturday, September 28, 2013


Welcome to Law Enforcement Week here at OPOD. We will be looking at pictures of policemen, sheriffs and deputies this week. We start with this picture from McAlester, Oklahoma. This guy has been sheriff for 30 years. The picture was taken in 1936. Is it just me, or are his pants riding up pretty high . . . like up to his armpits?

Friday, September 27, 2013

Fire Department

Today's picture shows a fire engine from the York, Pennsylvania fire department. The picture was taken in 1911. I find it interesting that in most cases the old fire pumps are pulled by three white horses. I wonder if white horses was some sort of fire fighter tradition.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Fire Truck

This is a picture of a very early fire truck. The picture was taken in 1911, when motorized vehicles were still pretty much of a novelty. What I find interesting about the picture is that I don't really see fire hoses, ladders, or muh equipment. It appears the truck was primarily used to take fire fighters to the fire.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Fire Fighters

This is a very early picture of fire fighters. The picture was taken in 1855, and it shows three members of the Phoenix Fire Company of Charleston, South Carolina. I wonder what the trumpet/megaphone looking device was for?

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

New York City Fire Department

Today's picture shows the scene of a fire on Broadway in New York City. The picture was taken in 1893.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Horse Drawn Fire Engine

Today's picture shows an exciting scene with a horse-drawn fire engine racing to a fire. The picture was taken around 1900.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

New York City Fireman

This picture is from 1908, and it shows a New York City Fireman operating a fire hydrant. I really love this picture. I am always amazed at how much trimmer people were back then.

Saturday, September 21, 2013


Welcome to Fire Fighter week here at OPOD. We will be spending the week looking at the brave men who run into burning buildings. We start with this picture from 1911. They are demonstrating a new "smoke mask". It looks like the main fire hose has a separate hose that pumps air for the men to breathe.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Card Game on the Range

This is an interesting picture from 1908 showing a Cowboy, Indian and Mexican playing cards. One has to wonder what the outcome was.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Playing Cards

Today's picture shows a man with a stack of poker chips playing cards. The picture was taken in 1930 and presents a rather more elegant look at vice. It is interesting to look at pictures and movies from this era and see how glamorous looking the advertisers and movies made smoking look.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013


Today's picture shows two young boys playing dice. They look to be shoe shine boys. The picture was taken in 1901.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Field Hands

This picture is from 1900 and shows cotton field hands gambling with dice during a break. It is amazing how sometimes people who work the hardest have a weakness for games of chance. I find it interesting to watch people buy lottery cards in the convenience stores. People can do what they want with their money . . . it is their business, but wow, you can lose money quickly gambling.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Miners Gambling

Today's picture shows Coal Miners gambling. The picture was taken in Chaplin, West Virginia. It is payday, and the men are playing cards for money on the porch of the company store. Oh well, easy come, easy go I guess.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Poker Game

Today's picture is a fascinating scene of a poker game. Lots of interesting detail if you zoom in. The picture was taken in 1913.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Gambling Saloon

Welcome to Gambler's Week here at OPOD. We will be looking at pictures of people engaging in games of chance. We start with this fine example from Telluride, Colorado. The picture shows an establishment with both a bar and gaming tables. The picture was taken around 1910.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Christoval Cowboys

Of all the cowboy pictures I have been able to find, this one comes the closest the iconic Hollywood image of the Old West town and cowboys. The picture has Western hats, Lariats, Chaps, Spurs, Bandanas and Gloves. I love how the women are riding side-saddle, but are wearing six shooters. The picture is from my very own little home town of Christoval, Texas, and it was taken about 1900. How I wish I could not more of the story of the people in the picture.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Texas Cowboys

I consider this to be a fine cowboy picture. It was taken somewhere in Texas around 1908. He is on a hill overlooking a herd of cattle. It looks like very nice range land with lots of grass and no brush.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

On the Range

Today's picture is a great scene of Cowboys roping a buffalo out on the open range. This picture is well worth zooming in on and looking at the incredible detail of the cowboys and their gear. The picture was taken in about 1890.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Texas Cowboys

Today's picture shows some Texas Cowboys at the XIT ranch branding cattle. The picture was taken in 1904.

Monday, September 9, 2013


It is funny how much our idea of cowboys is defined by the iconic imagery produced in Hollywood. I find myself searching for pictures that would reflect what I have come to expect based on movies and TV shows. The truth is, you are just hard pressed to find any images remotely like the Clint Eastwood characters, or Matt Dillon or even Festus. I guess I should realize that the photographs define reality, and not the movies. One thing I find is that it is very unusual to find a picture of a cowboy wearing a six shooter. As you can see in this picture, there is not a gun in sight. I think cowboys carrying guns was much more rare than would would be indicated from the movies.

Saturday, September 7, 2013


Welcome to Cowboy Week here at OPOD. We will be looking at all things cowboy and ranching this week, starting with this picture from 1905. It shows cowboys at a "Roundup" branding cattle. There is no location recorded on this photograph.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Farm Woman

We wrap up Farm Week with this picture of a woman who has brought her chickens to market. The picture was taken at the Farmer's Market in Weatherford, Texas. The photo was taken in 1939.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Farm Family

This is a picture of the wife and baby of a farm hand on a plantation in Mississippi. The picture was taken in 1937.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Hoeing Cotton

Today's picture shows a woman hoeing cotton in Louisiana. Again, I am sure a very hot and humid day, and a very hard job. I am curious how many people in this country today have actually ever had to work for an entire day in a manual labor job in the sun? Fewer and fewer are capable of enduring this type of work.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Chopping Cotton

If there is one thing you would not want to do, it would be to have to chop cotton in Natchitoches, Louisiana, but unfortunately that is what this man had to do. It is hard to imagine anything rougher than having to work in the sun in that humidity. I think we all forget too easily how good we have it.

Monday, September 2, 2013


Today's picture shows the yard where men and animals got an hour lunch break from work in the field. They were cultivators, responsible for breaking up the field in preparation for planting. Lunch break is over, and they are on their way back to the fields. The picture was taken in 1940 on the King and Anderson Plantation in Mississippi.

Sunday, September 1, 2013


Today's picture is from King and Anderson Plantation near Clarksdale Mississippi. This child is getting ready to do some plowing behind a team of horses. The picture was taken in 1940.