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West Rock Historic Postcards

This page contains a series of historic postcards for West Rock, dating from the early 1900s to the 1950s. If available, a picture of the same location is shown in a modern picture.

In the caption under the postcard, I include the information listed on the postcard (when available) that may include the company that printed it, the date it was printed (or the photo was taken), and a description of the photo. I also include a postmark date if the postcard was sent. The postmark date may not be close to the date the photo was taken, since the same photo could have been used for a long period of time, or someone may have kept the postcard for a long period of time.
These two websites provided useful information for dating these post cards. The postcards with an undivided back were probably printed between Dec. 24, 1901, and Feb. 28, 1907. Postcards with a divided back were permitted starting March 1, 1907, with one half of the card for a message and one half for the address. Postcards that state they were printed in Germany were probably made between 1907 and 1914, and these postcards had no border. Postcards with a white border were most likely made between 1915 and 1930.
Website: https://www.fortlewis.edu/finding_aids/images/M194/PostcardDating.htm
This website gives post card mailing rates, which only partially narrows down the time period, since the postcard rate for many years was 1 cent for a postcard (1901-Nov. 1, 1917, July 1, 1919-April 24, 1925, July 1, 1928 to Dec. 31, 1951).
Website: http://www.metropostcard.com/guidepostage.html 
About half these postcards were blank and unused. I did not bother including any message written on the back because they were typically personal messages along the lines of "I'll see you when I get back home."
If you are looking to purchase your own postcards of West Rock, I recommend using eBay. The prices are lower than on websites dedicated to selling postcards. Most of these cards here cost $6 or less with shipping. There are other post cards that sold for $10 to $15 with shipping, but I am not THAT interested in these historic views. Search for "West Rock Park, New Haven" and "Judges Cave."


West Rock viewed from Westville (Amrhyn Field)

Souvenir Post Card Co., New York and Berlin
The undivided back on this postcard places it between 1901 and 1907. The same postcard for sale online had a postmark of July 6, 1907.
Photo, only, copyright 1905 by the Rotograph Co., N.Y. City. Card G 3170, West Rock, New Haven, Conn. Postmarked Aug. 31, 1910. This postcard has an undivided back, a feature of postcards from 1901 to 1907.

Printed by the Harold Hahn Co. New Haven, Conn. Labeled as a Genuine Curteich-Chicago “C.T. Art-Colortone” Post Card. Postmarked Aug. 20, 1917.
Rear caption: "West Rock, a trap rock cliff 400 feet high, flanks the city of New Haven on the northwest. The summit, accessible by a beautiful drive, affords an extensive view of the city, its many world-famous industries, and Long Island Sound. The famous Baldwin Parkway extends along West Rock Ridge for six miles."

There are women sitting in the field in the foreground.
The back simply reads, "Famous Superior Quality Throughout the World". The divided back possibly places this between 1907 and 1914.

The view of West Rock in fall 2014. As compared to the postcards, the trees are much taller and there is a building and fencing related to the field.

The rear of this postcard with a divided back simply reads, "Made in Germany", an indication it was printed between 1907 and 1914.
No. 606, Pub. By Danziger and Berman, New Haven, Conn.
The note on the back is dated Feb. 15, 1912.


West Rock viewed from the West River
A view of West Rock from the West River.
Published by The Hugh C. Leighton Co., Manufacturers, Portland, ME U.S.A.
Made in Germany.  
Based on the fact that this card has a divided back and was made in Germany, this card was probably printed between 1907 and 1917.

Publ. by the Edw. P. Judd Co., New Haven, Conn. No. 908. Made in Germany.
Postmarked June 20, 1913.

Pub. By the E.P. Judd Co., New Haven, Conn. No. 1490 Made in Germany. Based on the fact that this card has a divided back and was made in Germany, this card was probably printed between 1907 and 1917.


This postcard has a postmark of Jan. 26, 1914. These falls on the West River no longer exist. This view is from the Valley Street area near Amrhyn Field.


After walking through the trees, this is the view of the river. The falls are gone. I have not found any historic information regarding the falls and why they are no longer there.
The West River is screened by the trees in this view from Valley Street, Aug. 2017. The left side of the ridge mirrors the view from the postcard, but the center part appears to be eroded, as compared to the postcard.
This view from Valley Street with the faint caption "Valley Street, Westville, Conn." is similar to the modern view as seen in the photo above. Unfortunately, the postmark of Nov. 9, 1909 shows through the card and is visible as the black semi-circle above the cliffs. In addition to a personal message in German, the card simply states, "Made in Germany."
Published by The Rotograph Co., N.Y. City (Germany)  G 3167a, The Falls, West Rock Park, New Haven, Conn. This photos appears to be a close up or different perspective of the falls as seen in the above postcard. This has a nearly identical stock number to a photo of the stream below, which has a photo copyright of 1905. This postcard has an undivided back, a feature of postcards from 1901 to 1907.

West Rock Park

This postcard has the caption "Bridge and Brook, West Rock Park, New Haven, Conn. The back of the postcard has this information, "Publ. by the E.P.J. Co., No. 1144, Made in Germany." Based on the fact that this card has a divided back and was made in Germany, this card was probably printed between 1907 and 1917. I have no idea where this picture might have been taken, as I have never seen a stone culvert like this at the park.

G 3170a, Bridge & Brook at North West Entrance, West Rock Park, New Haven, Conn. Rotograph Co., N.Y. City. Based on the fact that this card has an undivided back and was made in Germany, this card was probably printed between 1901 and 1907, most likely 1905 as this is postcard G 3170a and the postcard below with a copyright date of 1905 is postcard G 3168. The location of this postcard is unknown to me.
G 3168, Scene in West Rock Park, New Haven, Conn. Copyright 1905, by The Rotograph Co., N.Y. City. As with similar postcard scenes, I do not know where this was taken.
These stone steps from West Rock Park are on the Red Trail near the sharp turn to head steeply uphill to the South Overlook. There is no information on the back of the postcard to indicate when this photo was taken. It has the features of a linen-era postcard (1930-1945) with its bright colors and linen appearance. The lines of the linen card are not visible in a scan. It has a postmark of Aug. 18, 1940. Published by the A.L. Schneider Co., New Haven, Conn.
A postcard I saw online from the New Haven Novelty Co. has the same photo, but with this caption on the back: "West Rock, rising to an elevation of 410 feet was aquired for a park in 1891. Its summit is reached by beautiful winding roads and graceful curves. At the top is Judges Cave where three judges, Whalley, Dixwell and Goffe took refuge after condemning Charles the First to death." Correction: Dixwell never went to the cave. This postcard has a postmark of March 17, 1944.
The steps are sadly and utterly collapsed in this picture from Oct. 2009.

This close-up view of the steps in Jan. 2016 shows that little has changed in the steps since the Oct. 2009 photo.

Wintergreen Falls at West Rock Park,

(now the West Rock Nature Center)

This undated postcard had no postmark to indicate the year in which it was sold. On the back it states, "Published by Howard B. Welch, New Haven, Conn. Printed in Saxony".  Based on the fact that this card has a divided back and was made in Germany, this card was probably printed between 1907 and 1917.
Published by the A.L. Schneider Company, New Haven, Conn. It has the features of a linen-era postcard (1930-1945) with its bright colors and linen appearance. The lines of the linen card are not visible in a scan.
Wintergreen Falls were mostly frozen in Feb. 2015.
Wintergreen Falls quickly thawed by March 2015.

Baldwin Drive (aka Baldwin Parkway)

Published By the Harold Hahn Co. Inc., New Haven, Conn.
This view shows two water company reservoirs, as viewed from Baldwin Drive, Glen Lake (top), on the west side of Route 69 to the north of Dillon Road, while the foreground shows Lake Dawson on the east side of Route 69. The caption is slightly incorrect since the view is from Hamden, not New Haven. The post mark is Sept. 8, 1943.
In this view from the paved overlook on the west side of Baldwin Drive in early May 2016, Glen Lake is visible as a narrow slit, while Lake Dawson is heavily screened by the trees.
By the end of May 2016, both Glen Lake and Lake Dawson are completed screened by trees, despite the fact that state workers cut the black birch trees adjacent to the overlook off Baldwin Drive in 2015.


South Overlook

This postcard has a postmark of Aug. 20, 1907 and on the back it says "Printed in Germany." This view is either from the South Overlook when the trees were much younger and smaller, or from the shoulder of the ridge on the Red Trail. This postcard has an undivided back, a feature of postcards from 1901 to 1907.
Sleeping Giant slumbers in this view from the steep climb along the Red Trail en route to the South Overlook where a shoulder of the ridge provides a good resting spot, May 2017.

A close up view of Sleeping Giant from the South Overlook, May 2017.

Trees frame the Sleeping Giant in this view from the South Overlook, June 2017.

Judges Cave
These postcards of Judges Cave are all taken from the right when standing in front of the current plaque on the cave. The current view is partially obscured by a cedar tree. The cave had a fence around it that was installed in 1903. When I learn when the fence was later removed, I will include that information.


The undivided back on this postcard and the words on the back "Printed in Germany." places it between 1901 and 1907. Note that this is the only postcard view of Judges Cave shown on this page where there is NO fence. The fence was installed in 1903 at a cost of $500, paid by local businessman Frederick D. Grave.


This postcard includes the printer name "SL and Co." on the divided back, which places it between 1907 and 1914. The cave shows a plaque on the right side of the cave. The plaque was stolen at some date unknown to me. The bolt holes are still visible in the rock.
Printed by A.D. Cozzolino, New Haven. Postmarked Nov. 1, 1953. Rear caption: "The Judges’ Cave: After signing the death warrant of Charles I of England, the regicides, Whalley and Goffe, took refuge here."


A view of Judges Cave in March 2015 with the view partially obscured by trees.

Published by The Union News Co.
Genuine Curteich-Chicago “C.T. Art-Colortone” Post Card
Rear caption:  Judges Cave, West Rock Park: Judges Cave on the summit of West Rock, accessible by the park drive, is a jumble of rocks split through glacial action, where Col. Edward Whalley and Col. William Goffe, two of the judges who had condemned Charles I, found refuge in 1661 from the King’s soldiers.
It has the features of a linen-era postcard (1930-1945) with its bright colors and linen appearance. The lines of the linen card are not visible in a scan.
Pub. By the Harold Hahn Co. Inc., New Haven, Conn. This card possibly dates from the "white border" era of 1915-1930.
Caption: "
According to local history the mass of rocks on West Rock was the hiding place of Dixwell, Goffe and Whalley, three judges who condemned Charles the First to death and fled to escape the wrath of his son Charles II. They sought refuge in what is now known as Judges’ Cave. After several narrow escapes from the King’s soldiers, they became leaders of the community."
Correction to the caption: Dixwell never stayed at the cave. All three stayed as hidden as they could for the rest of their lives, hardly becoming leaders of the community.
Published by Morris Berman, New Haven, Conn. Made in U.S.A.
This card pr dates from the "white border" era of 1915-1930.

The West Rock Tunnel (now Heroes Tunnel)
and the Wilbur Cross Pkwy.

Published by Natural Color Cards, Bridgeport, Conn.
Made by Dexter Press, Inc., West Nyack, N.Y. Ektachrome by Jack Taylor. Judging by the bare earth on top of the tunnel, this picture was probably taken in summer 1950, but that is a guess on my part.
Rear caption: "Connecticut’s West Rock Tunnel, the costliest of the 68 Wilbur Cross Parkway projects, is the state’s first vehicular tunnel. Consisting of twin bores 1200 feet in length, it carries divided traffic lane through West Rock, New Haven, about 200 feet below the summit of the ridge. Work on the $2,000,000 project was started in March 1948. The facility was opened to traffic on November 1, 1949."



The Wilbur Cross Parkway in March 2015 shows significant changes from the historic postcard. The trees are much taller, there is a center guardrail, the road is asphalt (not concrete), there is a sign for Exit 59, and the ridge has two antennas. Shopping centers (hidden by the trees) have replaced the farms. The factory (with smokestack to the right of the parkway in the postcard) has been demolished.

Ektachrome by Bill Furcht. Published By NATCO. Natural Color Cards Co, Ridgefield Park, N.J. Made by Dexter, West Nyack, N.Y. This postcard has the same caption on back as the first tunnel postcard in this section.

Dense growth of trees and shrubs surrounds the tunnel in July 2014, while an unsightly, but important guardrail divides the highway, and a green sign indicates the name "Heroes Tunnel".

The top part of the photo is taken from the Hartford Turnpike bridge looking north at the Exit 63 interchange and the bridge carrying Route 22 (Bishop Street) over the parkway. Note the lack of a center guardrail and the relative lack of trees. Lusterchrome. Made only by Tichnor Bros. Inc., Boston, Mass. This postcard has the same caption on back as the first tunnel postcard in this section. The postmark on the back is unclear, but the stamp was for 8 cents, which was the cost from March 2, 1974 to Sept. 13, 1975. Judging by the cars, this photo dates from the 1940s.
 
The view of the Wilbur Cross Parkway from the Hartford Turnpike bridge looking north at the Exit 63 interchange in June 2016. The angle is slightly different and the view is not as wide, but changes include the addition of a guardrail, the exit sign, and the trees are much taller.

For additional postcard views, check out these postcard sites. These were direct links to West Rock postcards. If the direct link does not work, use the main link and search from there. These sites are more expensive than what I typically saw on eBay, but you can look for free!
  • Whitlock's Book Barn, 20 Sperry Road, Bethany, also sells postcards and may have some West Rock postcards at reasonable prices. I purchased the third Judges Cave postcard displayed here for $3 in March 2015. At the time, the store only had four more West Rock postcards. The book barn sells used books and carries a variety of local history books. Of course, the stock will vary over time. Whitlock's is well worth a visit after a hike at West Rock. Check the website for hours, as the store is not open every weekday. Website: http://www.whitlocksbookbarn.com/shop/default.asp. Directions: Rt. 15 to Exit 59. Take Rt. 69 North for 4 miles. Left on Morris Road (look for the Whitlock's sign) and go 0.5 miles. Turn right on Sperry Road at the T-int. and turn IMMEDIATELY right by the white fence into Whitlocks. There are two barns on the property. The lower barn is the main location and where the cashier is located.

2 comments:

  1. Great postcards I will be sharing with Woodbridge friends.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Nice blog. Thanks for sharing that look awesome.
    Print Postcards

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