May 17, 2013

Found Slides, A Life Remembered: Another Update

For those of you who have followed the Found Slides, A Life Remembered saga, it is my sad duty to report to you the passing of  Donna and Hugh Forsythe, the couple to whom I returned the slides. Donna Forsythe passed away in November of 2012 after a long battle with cancer, and her husband Hugh passed away on May 3rd, 2013. Hugh Forsythe, known as Casey to his wife Donna, family members and friends, is survived by three children and Donna is survived by five children.

This is a sad development. I knew them only briefly but liked and respected them both very much. My life is richer for having met them. While I grieve for their passing, I feel blessed to have met them. There is a reason why things worked out the way they did, why our paths crossed. Hugh and Donna Forsythe were part of a fun, uplifting story followed by many people, whose spirits were lifted by the way it turned out.

They were decent, honorable people and will be missed. If you wish, memorial donations may be given to the Suncoast Hospice Foundation at 5771 Roosevelt Blvd., Clearwater, FL 33760 or

Attending the service for Hugh Forsythe, to whom I returned the slides, was more emotional than I expected. I met the extended Forsythe family and spent the afternoon with them, learning even more about them. They all think the entire story is wonderful, and I will be seeing them again I'm sure. I told them this adventure has been a gift that has kept on giving.

The Forsythes and the Moores have been extremely gracious in sharing their stories with us. Neither family had any obligation to share anything at all, but because they did, we have all benefited, and for that we owe them gratitude and appreciation.

Update: I have met with Etta Forsythe, and she has shared a lot of additional information with me about these wonderful images, and her memories of growing up in Rochester in the 1950s! It will take me some time to update this post so be patient while I go through the information and post it.

  • The link to the first news story is HERE (includes video!).:
  • News10 in the Tampa Bay area has the story - see the segment  HERE!  
  • The YNN  news story with Scott Patterson, the one that cracked the case, is HERE! 
  • News 10 in St. Petersburg has a follow-up story; check it out HERE

To read about the detective work involved inthe search for the people in the slides, click HERE!

The Found Slides Soundtrack

While I was writing this blog post, before I knew who the people in the slides were, I was listening to a beautiful piece of music called Lady Child's Dream by David Darling. I'll forever associate this music with the slides and the people I've met because of them. It's since become my Found Slides, A Life Remembered soundtrack. 

To listen to it while you read this blog post, click HERE. Enjoy the music while you enjoy these wonderful images.

The original post is below; I am going to leave my original notes, so that I can compare how accurate my guesses were to what the reality is.The added information is in yellow type.

This is a very special post, resulting from my purchase of a vintage slide projector at a St. Petersburg thrift store. 

In the base of the slide projector were two trays of forgotten color slides taken in the 1950s of a family in a blue collar, working class neighborhood somewhere in America the Rochester NY area. I do not know who the people in the slides are, but looking at them is like stepping back in time, a time of postwar prosperity when America was at its greatest, when people had good paying jobs that allowed them to buy nice homes and big American cars; cars had style and personality back then, unlike the drab rolling appliances we drive today.

Looking at these pictures makes me kind of sad. Photography is about capturing moments that are gone forever, and the children in the pictures are grown up now, and probably have children of their own. I wish I knew what their names were, and who they really were, and what the story was behind each of these pictures.

The 501st Legion's Florida and Excelsior Garrisons have been helping with research, to try to discover who these families could be, and I have been receiving e-mails from people in the Rochester area who have given me valuable clues. All of us would like to see that these wonderful images be returned to the families' descendants.

You can help! If you recognize anyone or any places in these pictures, or have any clues, please e-mail me at

[Click on each picture for a large-size view]

Since I don't know the people in these pictures, all I can do is try to fill in the blanks. Trying to guess people's personalities through photographs is a fool's errand of course, but it is kind of fun to guess what they were like, and you can tell a lot by the eyes. The eyes are the true windows to the soul.

This is the father, name unknown. He's very proud of his 1951 Chevrolet, made possible, along with his house in a suburban working class neighborhood, because of a good paying job, probably in a machine parts factory. At the end of each working day he drives his Chevrolet home to his wife and kids, and on the weekends he putters around the house, goes bowling with his pals in the bowling league. His job allows him to take two vacations a year and put food on the table for his family.

His stoicism can perhaps be explained by his time fighting in the war that just ended, or his upbringing in a home where a man showing emotions was something that was simply not done. Like most men of this era, he provided for his family the socially acceptable way, by giving them a good home in a nice neighborhood.

This is Hugh Forsythe, who worked as a machinist at Kodak in Rochester. Mr. Forsythe, born in 1912 (the same year the Titanic sank, to put things in perspective) passed away in 1998, and was father to Hugh Forsythe Jr (to whom I delivered slides), Guy, Etta and Judith. Hugh Forsythe Jr. was stationed in France during the time these pictures were taken and does not appear in them. He is a Korea War veteran who loves cars and airplanes and has an immaculate Ford AC Cobra parked in his garage.

On this quiet Sunday afternoon, there is a lawnmower droning somewhere nearby, as another home owner pushes his Briggs & Stratton over his piece of the American dream.

Later, when the mower stops, you can hear the occasional dog barking, and a passing car every once in awhile. When he wakes up, it'll be time to snap on the radio to find out who won the game.

This little boy has a sad, worried expression on his face, as if he didn't feel like posing for a picture at that particular moment.

This is Guy Forsythe in the above and below pictures

This is the man's son, who like most boys in the 1950s, has a fascination with cowboys and lawmen. Notice the yellow STOP sign in the background, before the Department of Transportation was created in 1957 and mandated the stop signs all be red.

The man lived on or near an intersection; this is most probably his front yard, and the boy is playing on the sidewalk in front of his house. The house in the background is the same house as in the below picture, taken after an early evening rain. Also the car behind the Chevrolet (mostly off frame, and hidden behind the tree) might be the same car in a picture that comes later in this blog post; below is a close-up of both:

A proud father, he takes lots of pictures of his son , usually near the Chevrolet he so carefully maintains. He buys a nice camera (no Polaroid for this man) so he can document his family. At each family gathering the slide projector comes out and everyone looks at the slides. Eastman Kodak was based in Rochester and was a huge employer; it's possible the man worked there.

Life is good...the war is finally over, factories have stopped making tanks and weapons and have reverted back to making brand new cars, and America is entering a new age of prosperity. Harry Truman is in the White House, and the next year, 1951, cost-to-coast television is introduced by a speech by Truman himself. Another war just started, however; the North Korean Communist forces invaded South Korea in 1950. But that seems a world away these days.

Note the small tree-trimmed yards typical of working class homes in mid-fifties America. People raising families and enjoying their piece of prosperity brought about by the victorious end to the war.

There is something haunting about this child's expression, an expression that seems older than his years. 

The closest car in the above picture is a 1948 Chevrolet and belonged to Hugh Forsythe Jr.

Below are various snapshots of life at home, most probably taken on weekends. By the time Dad gets home from work, taking pictures is the last thing on his mind. All he wants to do is throw some cheese on some crackers until dinner's ready, crack open a cold beer and read the afternoon paper.

Below: this might be the same house, #96, in the below pictures, but with new siding on it. The steps look similar, and both pictures show a covered porch on the right, probably in the same neighborhood.

The family's last name begins with the letter F. They don't have a lot of money but they are a close family, and the mother does everything in her power for them. Being a good mother is the most important thing in the world to her.

I'm guessing this is the younger woman's mother, a pillar of strength when she needs it. The younger woman's mother lived through the Great Depression, which instilled in her a firm sense of survival and impressed upon her what is important: family. Money can come and go, but one's family is the most important anchor.

I imagine long, deep conversations between a worried younger mother and the strong, reassuring words of advice from her mother, at the kitchen table when the kids are asleep, or playing in the back yard.

Is she a single mother? Did her husband not come back from the war? In the 1940s, young men dropped everything - careers, families, their life plans - to go overseas and fight because their country needed them. Tom Brokaw was right; it was truly the greatest generation, and our nation is free because of their sacrifices. There was no facet of this country that was unaffected by the war effort.  

The family above is the Serrie family, sitting on the Forsythe's front steps. The older woman is Mrs. Serrie's mother-in-law.

UPDATE - This house has been identified!

Amanda wrote me last night after the news broadcast saying she saw her house on TV and couldn't believe it. She writes, "I am in shock, utter shock. I am so filled with excitement to see all of these pictures of who was here before us." Her family bought this house thirty years ago, and she may have information about the previous owners.I am waiting to hear back from her with more information, and I have assured her that I would not post her address without her permission.

A Request: if you happen to discover the location of this house, I ask that you please do not put the address on-line. The owner quite understandably wishes to avoid people driving by and stopping in front of her house taking pictures.  Let's respect her family's privacy. If she consents to letting me put a picture on this blog of the house as it looks today, I will of course do so, but I wish to honor her wishes for anonymity.

Here are some more pictures taken at this house:

Here's the little sheriff in his new duds, with a cowboy hat and toy guns, being gushed over by the mother, while the sister looks on inside.

The father may have been a Shriner; that could be a possible clue

This little boy is wearing the tee shirt that references the brother in the Air Force, namely Samson Air Force Base which is southeast of Rochester; maybe the man in the black leather jacket?

A little boy with his most prized possession: his bicycle. Once he learns to ride it without his training wheels, his whole world will open up, as he explores his neighborhood and rides on patrol with his friends.

His mother will always remember the day she went down to the hardware store or bike shop one December to pick out just the right bike. Likewise she will always remember the look on his face when he saw it for the first time that Christmas morning, and the look of exasperation as he realized he would have to wait six months to ride it.

A winter picture of the house

Below are some pictures that Amanda, who currently lives in the #96 house, has been kind enough to allow me to share 



This is Carol.

Carol and the girl below (who is on the boat in the pictures below) are very good friends, maybe best friends, and grew up together in the same neighborhood, going to the same school together. I wonder if they maintained contact as they grew older or they lost touch with each other?

Carol is the more withdrawn one, more shy than her friend, who is outgoing, more confident, and has a sunny, positive personality that attracts people to her. Their different personalities compliment each other, and over the years they have become very close friends. Neither one can imagine life without the other. Carol is the more artistic one of the pair, I'm guessing, and loves to read. Her friend is more athletic, and may even have been a cheer leader at the local high school.

Update -  Kathy, who has lived in Rochester her whole life, has been feeding me great tips and reported  that in Rochester, Ben Franklin was the only school with red and white colors, and in the suburbs, Fairport had red and white colors. So the school jacket Carol is wearing might place her at one of those schools.

Could this be Carol Ann Adamski?

Kathy also found this Class of '51 yearbook picture of a Carol Ann Adamski. Same person?? There's definitely a similarity here!

As most people probably realize by now from the news broadcasts, this is not Carole, but Barbara Moore, who was wearing Carole's red varsity jacket. Carole's name on the jacket was misspelled; it should have had an "e" on it. In the above picture with the 1952 Cadillac, Barbara Moore poses with Etta Forsythe. Barbara and Etta were very close friends as they grew up. They haven't seen each other in a long time because Etta now lives in San Diego with her husband (on a boat, no less!). Because of these pictures, however, Etta and Barbara are going to re-establish contact.

The Moore family consists of Barbara and Carole, Ken, and Bob Moore, who now lives in Atlanta and runs his own graphics business.

Joey Two Hats, a member of the 501st Legion's Florida Garrison, has a theory that the blonde girl in the Christmas pictures below is the same girl as in the above pictures. He surmises that it may be possible that Carol began wearing the school jacket about six to eight years after the Christmas pictures were taken, when Carol was a freshman.

We know now that this pretty blonde girl was Judith Forsythe. I'm sad to report that she passed away in 2004. My belated condolences to the Forsythes.

This is the same side of the house where the picture of Carol was taken, although she may not have necessarily lived there.

Carol Ann Adamski is listed in the yearbook as having lived on 194 Bremen Street.

Donna, who has also been helping me with leads and tips, lives in Rochester and feels fairly confident the neighborhood in the above pictures was in the city, as opposed to Fairport, which back then was out in the sticks and not very developed. Additionally, Donna commented that in the 1950s, neighborhoods were largely grouped by ethnicity, and since Adamski is most likely a Polish name, Carol would have lived in a neighborhood where families who shared that background would have lived. 

These people are different. Are they related? Friends or relatives? The man seems to be the owner of this very beautiful boat. The keys are in his hand, meaning it is time to cast off. Notice Carol's friend, the pretty, all-American girl on the right, standing up. She is in several pictures. What a beautiful, radiant smile she has!

The man on the boat is Fred Speary. Fred was the father of Donna Forsythe, the woman who is now married to Hugh Forsythe Jr. Also on the boat is Etta Forsythe and her mother, Grace Forsythe, in the corner.I'm pretty sure Hugh Forsythe Sr. was the one taking the picture. Donna and Hugh Forsythe Jr. were childhood sweethearts and grew up together. 

Fred was an avid boater, owned a new boat almost every year. He had a delightfully mischievous side; you can see it in his eyes. Donna Forsythe told me she did not have a good picture of him until these slides surfaced. Karen, his grand daughter, also contacted me to say, "The handsome man standing in the boat is my grandfather. His name is Fred Speary. He passed away when I was only 12 or 13 and I loved him dearly.I have many wonderful memories of boating on the Genesee river with him and my grandmother. Thank you so very much."

While underway, the mystery person behind the camera snaps her picture. I'm thinking it's the dad, and the boat owner is a buddy of his, or maybe even his brother.

Below, the boat is docked at Trenton Cold Storage, which is located in Ontario, Canada. So wherever this family lived, it was either in Canada or in New York, near the border (in one picture, there's a bottle of Genessee beer, which was brewed in New York).

Etta Forsythe, with whom I had the pleasure of meeting and speaking several times, is a lively, energetic person with a playfully mischievous side, as described by Hugh Forsythe. She is in perpetual motion and has a zest for life. She sounds a lot like myself!

UPDATE- The boats moored above were docked at Fraser Park Marina, in Trenton Ontario (street address: 1 Fraser Drive, Trenton, Ontario). The marina is located directly next to Trenton Cold Storage, and has a small park. So our family took a day cruise across the lake and tied up at the marina.

Below is a small photo of Trenton Cold Storage pulled from their website; the buildings are undeniably identical.

Here's a picture of what it looks like today:

Trenton Cold Storage is on the other side of Lake Ontario from Rochester. Which means that this sea cruise took them all the way across one of the Great Lakes. You can see the marina on the right. Quite a trip! Below is a map of the journey, to give you an idea of the scale.

I wonder how long this trip took. Has anyone out there ever motored across Lake Ontario, and might know how long it would take? That's a long day on the water.

Donna Forsythe told me that crossing the lake was an eight hour trip, as they didn't motor across at full power. Fred Speary and his family would take trips deep into Canada on the river sometimes

Here are some recent pictures of Fraser Park Marina; this link HERE has some nice overhead views but is in Flash format so I cannot put the photos here.

The travel blog Great Circle Loop has a nice picture of what the park at Fraser Park Marina looks like:

A nice aerial shot of the park and Trenton Cold Storage; you can still see the box-like tower that juts up from the roof, and the stone pier where the boats were tied up in the 50s, when the picture was taken

A sailboat on Lake Ontario, seen either on the way to or from the marina.

The below bridge most probably spans the Genessee River. The boat this photo was taken from appears to be a sailboat, although the water is too calm for sailing; no wind. It was probably under power when it was cruising up the river one late afternoon, as the sun grew lower in the sky, and the shadows got longer. Another day will soon be gone forever.

Update: A reader says that this bridge is the Veterans Memorial Bridge, which crosses the Genessee River and is part of route 104. It was also known as the Keeler Street Expressway. It was completed in 1931. Below left is a vintage postcard depicting an aerial view [link], below right is a view of what it looks like from above today [link]:

Here's another vintage view of the bridge:
R.P. from Rochester said that many people used this bridge to get to work at Kodak, which was a big reason why it was built. 

The person added this recollection: "My friend and I used to play around this bridge when we were boys in the 50s. We used to go inside of it. There was a ladder on the wall that went straight up to the road bed and some kids used to climb all the way to the top. And if that doesn't scare you, check the railing. It was perfectly flat about two feet wide without any guard rail. Kids used to show courage (aka stupidity!!!) by walking over the bridge on it!!!I once saw a kid do it on his bike! Well, I guess we all lived. Numerous changes were made to the bridge over the years, most recently the widening of the roadway which completely altered the top portion of the bridge.It wasn't the Keeler Street expressway then, it was simply Ridge Road."

Halloween in the 1950s, and this young woman has chosen a gypsy costume, with a mask. The Halloween party will be starting later that evening at a neighbor's house, but while the sun is still is the sky it's a good time for a quick snapshot. Here, hold the jack-o-lantern you spent so much time carving!

This is a young Etta Forsythe in the gypsy costume, it has been confirmed. The boy in the pictures is unidentified, but may be Hugh Forsythe Jr.

Here's a young man holding what looks like the same jack-o-lantern, taken at the same time. These are probably the little boy and girl as seen in the pictures Christmas morning (below); I do not know if all these slides are from the same roll, or how long the film stayed in the camera before it was finally processed.

My guess is that these two pictures were taken later, perhaps 1957 or so.

Christmas morning in the fifties: does it get any better than that?

I think not! 

Is it only nostalgia which makes people look back on Christmas in the 1950s with such fondness and longing? Our society today is so jaded, cynical and filled with a sense of entitlement, that this era in American history seems magical.

Note the period wall hangings above the black and white TV (fourteen million TV sets are sold in 1950). The little boy has his lawman hat and his pair of six shooters, just what he wanted from Santa. His sister got ice skates, a new doll and what looks like a make-up case. Life is good this December twenty-fifth. After years of sacrifice and a lack of goods to buy during the war, America went on a spending spree in the 1950s, and subsequently became one of the most powerful economies in the world.

This is Guy and Judith Forsythe; the woman sitting in the char is Etta Forsythe

The red box behind the boy is a Lasso 'Em Bill cowboy costume, made by the Kenton hardware Company, which went out of business in 1952, which puts this picture between 1950-51 (because of the 1951 Chevrolet in a lot of the pictures). The other Christmas pictures below are from two different Christmases, because the sister's hair is different, and the boy is a year or two older.

A huge number of babies were born in the 1950s, giving retailers a huge market for cowboy outfits, toy guns, pedal cars and board games. Few children watched television, and the reception of most sets was fuzzy and intermittent, making toy commercials a poor investment. Thus, the Christmas catalog was born: a way for kids to beg, plead and cajole their parents into buying them new toys they ogled within those magical pages.

One member found this out about the toy bus the little boy is sitting on:
"The Robert’s Manufacturing Company of New Castle, Pennsylvania was in the toy making business during the late 1940’s and early 50’s. Production dates for these vans are uncertain, but they were marketed from at least 1948 through 1955. The most distinguishing characteristic between the very earliest of the vans and later models was the style of the grille. The early van grille was a separate piece of sheet metal which was lithographed with horizontal bars and then inserted behind a large gaping hole above the front bumper. A metal plate was used for the Roberts name badge just above the grille opening. Later vans did away with the separate grille and replaced it with a simple decal. Grille decal designs and colors changed over the years. The metal"Robert’s" name badge was also eliminated in favor of a decal above the windshield. At first the decal read simply, “Robert’s” and later it read, “Robert’s U-Ride-It.Two types of steering wheels are also used. The early vans featured a simple one-piece bent rod wheel and column assembly with no bell attached - a bell was added later. The steering wheel design was changed to a stamped metal shape attached to the steering column with spot welding. These later design steering wheels had bells."

Here are a picture of the brother and sister playing in the driveway, and a picture of the little boy when he was much younger, or a different little boy

These are pictures taken in the driveway of the #96 house; that is Guy and Judith Forsythe playing in front of the double garage doors. The Forsythes moved into the house across the street from the Moores when Donna, Guy and Judith were little, which began their life long friendship. In 1969, The Forsythes moved away.

A backyard party, with all the neighborhood kids, all of whom are retiring now, or have already retired. Do any of them still remember this summer evening in the back yard? Note the 1950 Pontiac parked in the driveway; this looks like the same car that appears later on.

The little boy and his best friend playing cowboys and Indians in the back yard, as summer surrenders to the onset of autumn. One season dies, so that another can be born

The father built this backyard grill, probably using plans in Mechanics Illustrated, or a home improvement magazine. One weekend he took his Chevrolet down to the hardware store and bought bricks and mortar mix and spent the weekend building his own barbecue pit so his family could grill outside on warm summer evenings. The fifties was a booming time for home improvement projects. The Genessee beer puts this location in New York, probably upstate, close to the Canadian border.

Grace Forsythe is the woman cooking at the grill, which was built by Hugh Forsythe. Grace Forsythe, born in 1914 (two years after the sinking of the Titanic), recently passed away on April 19th, 2011. In forty years of living in the same house in Florida, there was a lot of possessions that had accumulated, and Hugh and Donna Forsythe had some help in emptying the house, which is how the projector ended up where I found it.

My condolences to the Forsythe family for their loss.

A visit from a cousin, perhaps? One that rode a motorcycle (probably a Harley Davidson, or if he had money, an Indian). There were no imported cars or motorcycles back then. Everything was made in America.

The jacket could be an Air Force jacket; in another picture a little boy has a T-shirt  indicating that a brother serves in the Air Force.

This is Billy Joe Rutter. Billy Joe was Hugh Forsythe Jr's cousin, and a mechanic in the Army, later working at Kodak as a mechanic. Billy Joe and Hugh Forsythe Jr. owned and operated a gas station on Lake Avenue and Stone Road for three years before Hugh sold it after the landlord sold the lot the station sat on.. Billy Joe had a sister who appears in the pictures below. Billy Joe Rutter passed away approximately 20 years ago.

This woman below is in a lot of the slides, and may have been the man's wife, or maybe an aunt, and drives a 1952 Cadillac. She's pretty and confident, and looks like an intelligent, elegant woman who has a strong, proud spirit. This is a person you would be glad to have on your side when you need encouragement.

The above and below pictures are Grace Forsythe with her son Guy; the picture most probably was taking by her husband Hugh

On a day trip somewhere, our family stops by the side of the road to take some pictures. You can see the pride and happiness of the mother as she poses with her child. The authentic sentiment in these images is what makes them so special.

She is posing with the little boy in an earlier picture by the side of the road; I wonder who was taking the picture? The man? The boy's mother?  

One reader commented, "The stone work on the picture with the 52 Caddy looks like bridges on the Lake Ontario Parkway (north of Greece, NY)"


A prom picture, taken by proud parents in the back yard before she is picked up by her date? This picture looks like late 50s, judging by the dress and hair style.

Carole Moore is the woman in the white prom dress above. The dress was worn many times and was made by a friend of Carole's. Back then clothes were loaned and handed down several times.

The two women in the above picture are the two women in the picture below. I would love to hear the background story of these two pictures; all we have is a snapshot of time. Obviously a special occasion; maybe a church service, or maybe even a funeral, or a big family reunion. The man (her brother maybe?) has a pensive expression, as if he would rather be somewhere else, or is troubled by something. I wonder what was going through his mind when the picture was taken.

The above picture is Billy Joe Rutter with his mother Daisy and sister Nancy Rutter. The house ws located not in New York but Pensylvania. 

The little boy in his finest, wearing a hat just like daddy's. The picture was taken at the same time as the picture above; note the side of the car on the right. It's the same car behind the pensive man in the picture above. 

Guy Forsythe in his best suit

What would a childhood be without a visit to Grandmom's house?

A bad one, that's what.

I think this house is the same one as in the above two pictures, on the same street, taken at a different day or year. The house siding is identical, so we have a view now of what the other side of the street looked like.
The young woman in the pink dress above is in the picture at right and below. 

She has a heart of gold, and cares about people's needs, always seeing the best in people, and situations. 

But behind those expressive eyes is a hint of sadness, or anxiety, perhaps of the future, or a secret insecurity. Sometimes the world just seems too cruel and unfair.

I hope she lived a happy, fulfilling life. She looks like the kind of person who sincerely deserves it.

Nancy Rutter in the above (with her mother Daisy, wearing the straw hat)  and below pictures was truly a remarkable person. She was blind, and a school teacher. She was an independent person who taught school every day. Mrs. Forsythe told me she did indeed have a happy and fulfilling life, with a husband who took good care of her.The husband is still with us, and I hope to speak to him soon.  I'm sad to report that she has passed away.. I would have loved to have met her.

Donna Forsythe told me that she was indeed a caring, heart-of-gold person who did not let her blindness affect the quality of her life. Sometimes at the beach, guys would come up to her, being attracted to this lovely young woman, and she would not let on at first that she was blind, allowing them to figure it out themselves. Good for her!

Another picture taken in front of this awning

I love the 1950s clothes in this picture. The shorter man on the left might be the pensive man in the above picture, and the one wearing the black leather jacket. They are standing in the driveway in front of a 1950 Pontiac. The driveway is in several pictures


Same man? What do you think? We know now this is Billy Joe Rutter

Below is a picture of the 1950 Pontiac, the same car in the driveway of the summer backyard party above. Back then General Motors had a car for every part of your life. When you were just starting out, you bought a Chevrolet. Later, you moved up to a Pontiac. When you were doing really well, you stepped up to a Buick. By the time you bought a Cadillac, you were ready to announce to the world that you have truly made it.

Some more pictures taken in this driveway:

This is probably an uncle of the little boy, after a day of hunting with two dead deer strapped to the hood of his Hudson. 


A close up of the Hudson with the deer on it. The deer heads will probably be stuffed and mounted in the basement rumpus room or the den.

There has been some speculation about which amusement park these two pictures were taken in, with one person commenting:

"I am pretty sure that is not Seabreeze Park in the pictures. I am fairly positive that they never had a carousel with pigs on it. They had a classic horse carousel. Another possibility in the area would be the original Roseland Amusement Park in Canandaigua."

Nicky from the Excelsior Garrison also added, "I found this picture of the famous Dentzel Carousel at Ontario Beach Park. There are 3 pigs on this carousel and while the pig in the picture above and the pig the boy is riding on the slides aren't identical (even if the paint jobs were changed the ears look different) it looks like they belong in the same carousel set."

Some pictures of get-togethers and what looks like a banquet

Grace Forsythe is the woman in the blue dress on the right, most probably at a Kodak-related function.

This looks like a basement rumpus room during an evening when relatives get together, slap each other on the back and ask how they are doing. Children's cheeks are being pinched, and promises are being made that everyone will see each other more often, a promise renewed the next time everyone does, which is usually next year.

I might be wrong about the rumpus room. DW in Brighton wrote, "I don't think the three seated people are in a basement rumpus room. They look overdressed, and basements of houses like the ones pictured wouldn't have had that much open space. I think they are in a local banquet facility- in Rochester they were called Party Houses, and the decor would to today's eyes look a little basic-perhaps rumpus-y. They were for special events, and I'm imagining a Shriner annual meeting or maybe someone's wedding."

A day of baseball, probably with a father introducing his son to the sport

Brownie Troop 236; I believe there was (and may still be) such a troop operating in the Rochester area, although a woman e-mailed me to report that Brownie Troop 236 is based out of a church in Morrisville, PA. 

One reader commented that Brownie troop numbers are not exclusive to a geographic area; there could be a Troop 236 in many cities.

Three girls playing on a weekend afternoon, while dad is either golfing or puttering around the house, or, watching the game. Mom is inside working on dinner, or talking with her friend on the phone. There were no video games back then, no PCs or smart phones. Back then kids went outside and played, using their imaginations.

Today? Not so much.

One of the girls in this picture is Judith Forsythe, playing with her friends

I have no idea what the occasion was for this gathering, but I'll bet there is a good story behind it.

One person commented that this could be an Easter egg hunt; it's typical for jackets to be needed at Easter.

A small town parade featuring the high school marching band makes its way down the street on an idyllic Sunday afternoon...

A reader said that Charlotte High School had those colors, so the parade could be from there 

Bob Moore, who worked for Kodak for twenty-five years, had a vivid recollection of this picture; the man leaning against the tree was George Appleton, a WW 1 veteran, with his dog Peggy.  His dog was lost at some point, and he got another one, naming it Peggy. In Mr. Appleton's basement he had a huge collection of WW 1 memorabilia, so much it was like a museum in his home.

UPDATE - Emily wrote to me this morning with information about the above picture: 

"The photo that you have labeled as "Causeway" looks like the Spillway at Pymatuning State Park in northwest PA. This is still a tourist attraction, and has since been built up - the dirt along the side of the road in the background of this photo is now a concrete walkway to get over to the round spillway in the background. The Spillway is filled with carp that surface as they see you walk past them - for as long as I remember (I'm 29 years old - I remember going to Pymatuning when I was around 7 and again just this past April) people would bring loaves of bread, or buy it there, and feed the carp. Sometimes there were so many carp that they were just piled on top of each other and seemed to be fighting more for water than for the bread we tossed in to them. The "prohibited" sign in the background is probably prohibiting fishing, as there are still similar signs prohibiting fishing and littering in the same place.

"Pymatuning is at the other end of the state from Morrisville, PA - so maybe this is a different spillway than the one at Pymatuning? Worth looking into more though..."

Thanks Emily!!

At some point our camera owner took some pictures of cows crossing a dirt road somewhere.

JM commented, "The picture of the family at scenic overlook looks like Letchworth State Park which is south of Rochester. I couldn't find pictures with the same view but there are huge gorges there which account for the white streaks in the picture."

This boat looks hand made, or a modified boat and is most probably on the Genessee River. The bridge beyond is most likely a swivel bridge; the picture below has a better view of it. Many thanks to Nicky from the 510st Legion's Excelsior Garrison for the image  below

There has been some speculation by readers that the bridge behind the Sereph may be the Hojack Swing Bridge; this is unconfirmed. The bridge behind the Seraph looks different. I do not believe it is the Hojack. Several readers have offered their input, with one saying it is a bridge up near Charlotte.

The bridge behind the boat was most likely in Canada, and the people in front of the Seraph were people the Moores and Forsythes met on one of their trips up the river. They most probably ran into them for a day, spent a brief time socially and took a picture, before going their separate ways

Kathy reports that this petting zoo may be the Seneca Park Zoo, which is not too far away from where our families lived; she is going to ask a friend of hers, who is an animal trainer, if she knows a history of the zoo.    

John emailed me saying he didn't think the picture was the Seneca Park Zoo, but the Durand Eastman Park Zoo, which closed in the early 1960s. He lives in the area where the zoo was and described it as a small petting zoo, with sheep, llamas and other animals.

A reader commented, "This park [the Durand-Eastman Park] in the Rochester, New York suburb of Irondequoit is named for its founders Dr. Henry Durand and George Eastman, the founder of the Eastman Kodak Company. The two men saw a need for a park that would allow the public to have access to the beach along the shore of Lake Ontario. The two men purchased farm land surrounding Dr. Durand's property and then donated the property to the city of Rochester in 1907 under the condition that property would always be maintained as a public park.

The park, located in Monroe County, was dedicated on May 22, 1909 in an event that included a marching band, a mock battle between Native American tribes, and a lacrosse game. Within a few years the park featured a bath house and a zoo containing a small assortment of animals; including bison, camels, llamas, and elk." A link to the location of the park is HERE.


This is the most recent picture; the houses are newer and the car in the driveway is a 1965 Chevrolet Impala

Do you know anyone, or any places in these pictures? If so, e-mail me at I will report my progress in tracking down these families, so check back regularly, and keep the tips and suggestions coming!

Here's what we know so far:

  • Most of the pictures were taken between 1949-1953
The location has been narrowed down to the Rochester, NY area due to the following factors:
  • The stone bridge crossing the river has been identified as Veterans Memorial Bridge, which crosses the Genessee River and is part of route 104
  • A bottle of Genessee Beer, which was not distributed nationally in the early 1950s, puts the location in upstate New York. Genessee was brewed in Rochester, since 1878 and to this day does not have national distribution.
  • The Trenton Cold Storage Building has been identified as the company that operates on Lake Ontario and is still in business today.
  • The place where the boats are tied up has been identified as Fraser Park Marina, in Trenton, Ontario, which is directly next to Trenton Cold Storage, meaning our family took a day trip across Lake Ontario 
  • A little boy wears a Sampson Air Force shirt; Sampson Air Force base is located southeast of Rochester,  on Seneca Lake
  • There are NY license plates on the cars
Here's are some potential leads or clues:
  • The "HUGHIE" license plates may be car dealer plates, or a reference to race car driver Hughie Tripp
  • Rochester is hilly, apparently (I've never been there), and the neighborhoods in the pictures are flat, indicating that they were in the suburbs of Rochester
  • One of the houses, which at some point in its history had new siding put on it, is #96
  • A baby wears a Shriner fez in one picture, meaning either the father was a Shriner, or the fez was purchased as a souvenir
  • There is a woman who's name is Carol in the pictures
  • The registration of the boat in the pictures is "8 B 500" The boat moored behind it has a partially visible name of "OVER-N-" The last word isn't "Out", it looks like a "D", which might make it "OVER-N-DONE"
  • The amusement park in the pictures could be one of several: Seabreeze, Roseland Amusement Park in Canandaigua, or Dentzel Carousel at Ontario Beach Park
  • There is a group picture of Brownie Troop #236
  • One picture is of a home made, or modified boat called the Sereph, with an as-yet unidentified bridge behind it
  • Carol may have gone to either Ben Franklin or Fairport high school, because of the red and white school jacket she is wearing. Mary Jane, from Fairport High School, responded to my inquiry by saying that Fairport did not incorporate into a central school district until 1951 and they have no information or reference material available from that period.

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