Friday, October 18, 2013

Photo Friday: Lake Wentworth Edition (1929-1933)

Good morning!

Boy, have I got a lovely Photo Friday for you today, kids. I was rummaging through this flickr account for photos of a very patrician looking family from the 30's and 40's when I came across a whole set which were labelled "Lake Wentworth". Now, someone had a good camera, and good-looking relatives, and took LOADS of photos summering on this lake in the state of New Hampshire, circa year of our Lord 1929-1933. And aren't I just the girl to take you on a tour of some of the best ones? It's know you want to go on a mini vicarious vacation!

Wolfeboro is located between Lake Wentworth and the larger Lake Winniepesaukee in inland New Hampshire. The Roome family built a "camp", as it's referred to in the captions, there in 1929. Through the succession of photos contemporary to that time, you can see the land being cleared and the main house, garage, and boat deck being built, along with two generations of Roome family members enjoying the grounds. The family member who digitized all these images has a coffeetable book you can preview online of the history of this camp, and another album on Flickr shows that it's still standing, much as it was in the early thirties', today. How cool is that?!

I was taken by these photos primarily for how grave and interesting the sepia tones of the late twenties' lens and development process makes everything and everyone look. One commenter mentioned that this kind of coloring looks almost 3D in its precision sharpness in real life, and scans can only get close to what the real-deal conveys in one's own hand. I tend to agree, but if these shots were any more vivid in real life, you can probably hear the lake lapping against the shore!

Some children showing you how to canoe:
And how not to canoe:
Grown ups doing the same on a smaller conveyance. Can you imagine how pristine a place like this must have been in 1929?

This shot of two grown men arm's deep into a brand new twenties' car is so unusual to a 21st century viewer! I wonder if by the 22nd century people will look back on these photos and add to my remarks of "Wow, look at them working under sideways-opening hood of an old Ford?" with "What is that car doing on the ground?" Note the younger man's saddle shoes and striped cardigan, and that neither man has removed even his hat to start down to business on the motor.

All the bathing suits in this group shot are fantastic, especially the striped maillot on the guy to the right, but I love the bob-headed girl in the center eschewing swimwear altogether for either a union suit of khaki or a shirt tucked neatly into shorts. Doesn't she look like a little junior miss camper, 1929? And those high tops! I wonder what this must have looked like in color! Side note: gentleman to the far left looks exactly like F Scott Fitz, I'malie if I say he don't. That Irish knit brow! That thin lipped mouth!
This shot is neat for how in media res it is. "Hey! Knock it off with the camera and come get in this boat I was kind enough to wade out for!" Is he raking the shore? Is he putting rocks or some kind of clams in that bucket? I am so landlocked in Tennessee and ignorant of Yankee maritime (or whatever the equivalent of lakes are to maritime) doings that I couldn't tell you.

HOW. ABOUT. THIS GUY. Whoooo! Giving Rudolph Valentino a run for his money in dreaminess. I love his full length fur coat, solemnly good looks, and the fact that he's standing in front of one of those old open carriage twenties' cars so I can see how they winterize them! I don't think I've ever seen one with the flaps down like this!! (PS: Call me, 1920's beau brummel)
One thing I really like to look for in old photos in groups like these are family resemblances, and this woman has the same deep set, dramatic brow'd eyes as some of the children, and later grown ups in these shots. A shade of Jackie Kennedy, Truman Capote, and my very own husband in these pictures! Side note: I once posted a photo from the book jacket of a super young Truman Capote's Other Voices, Other Roomand actually got more than four comments from friends initially thinking it was Matthew! True story. I really wonder how his prominent features will mix with mine in our children.
Here's a gaggle of the Buster Brown youths running around tan and adorable in a lot of the snapshots. See that three out of the four children feature those brow bones, especially the handsome little devil on the right? Later, as the photos continue on into the 60's (at which point the property was sold, waaah), you can see that boy grew into a movie-star looking young man! Photo progression in the form of old scrapbooks is even more exciting than those 365 days, 365 photos that were so popular on Youtube a few years ago to have the honest surprise, in looking at these stranger's photos, of realizing someone who was baby in one photo is a decorated Marine in another, and then a middle aged dad, and then a grandpa! Really gives you a perspective on the "ages of man", etc, etc. (I'm obviously a goon for being so fascinated by these I know, but bear with me)

You know they ate well that night! How about the American flag flapping patriotically in the back ground? I really love all these photos.
The one man obscured by the shadow of his own hat looks like something that would be a MacGuffin  or at least red herring in a current horror movie.
What a boat! Can you imagine eating a picnic lunch on this in the middle of Lake Wentworth? I wonder how easy/difficult that would be based on the rockiness of the water...
Last but not least, a shot of the house that looks like a picture postcard. Could it be more beautiful? I wish I had somewhere like this to "retreat" to in the summer!
How about you? What do you think about sepia versus black and white in old photographs? Which photo of antiquity is your favorite? Do you know anyone with a spare boathouse on a lake they could let me use? I come with my own bathing suit and swimming fins, honest! :)

That's all for this week. Have a FANTASTIC weekend and I'll see you back here on Monday. Wish me luck at the sales! Til then.


  1. Oh I love them all, and I really wonder if the house is still there... great photos.. great find..
    the one of the kids is fabulous, and so real, I hope they all lived a good life.
    you always make these images alive by what you write, thank you, and I bet they thank you too..

    1. As of 2012, it was still there, much unchanged! Thank you for your kind words! :)

  2. i love these! especially the one of the two guys fixing the car, and those bathing suits of course.
    i hope someday we will somehow have a little vacation house. just a little cabin on a tennessee lake or something. sounds like heaven to me!

    1. My friend Anna's folks had a little cabin out in Smithville, TN that I was invited to once or twice, up on the lake there? It was AWESOME. I kept thinking (conditioned by weekend trips past, in city settings) "What will we do once we get there? Won't we get bored?" Hello, there's a lake and God's own wilderness to soak up! We had such a nice time. How neat would it be to have one of your own! Here's hopin. :)

  3. Hi

    I was browsing through the Internet looking at some of the places my photos end up and I stumbled upon your blog. Turns out, they were taken by my grandfather and I scanned and posted them so that I could create some books for my father (second from the left in the picture of the Buster Brown gang). Usually my photos get a mention or two but never a full blog. I'm glad that you enjoyed these.

    1. Hi! Thanks for posting these photos; as you can tell from the blog, I had a ball looking through them! They're an amazing record of that place and time, I bet your dad loved getting to go back-in-time to his youth through the magic of Kodak (and your hard work scanning the originals!!).



Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...