The Interstate Bridge spanning a grassy field?

This Month's Postcard Perspective of the Past


The postcards above were both made from the same photographic negative, so why is the bridge spanning water in the top card and grass in the bottom? Language barriers, likely. From 1905 to 1915, when the bottom card was made, nearly all postcards were manufactured in Germany, where the best lithographic presses were found. Often coloring instructions were poorly translated—or lost. In the latter case, the printer had to make some guesses, and in this case, he guessed wrong. The clouds depicted in the cards are different as well—photographs taken on cloudless days were often enhanced. The top card was manufactured in the U.S. between 1915 and 19125. After the start of World War I, postcards were no longer sent to Germany for manufacturer. The white border was used between 1915 and 1925 to save on ink.

You can read the history of the Interstate Bridge here and about the two times it was wrecked here.


*Early postcards were very much a marketing tool used to promote a community and attracted businesses and residents even more than they promoted local tourism. Promoters often enhanced images via clumsy pre-Photoshop techniques to make their subjects more attractive (e.g., adding a sunset to an image facing north or south), and before 1915 most cards were made in Germany, and sometimes coloring instructions were lost or misinterpreted, often with more colorful results.

This Month's Postcard Perspective of the Past

2 Responses to The Interstate Bridge spanning a grassy field?

  1. It likely did, but in the two images above, made from the same negative, the one with the “grass” was made 5 to 15 years before the card with no grass….

Leave a reply