Danish Home Christmas Seals

For more than 60 years the Danish Home in Croton has been issuing what most people would think of as Christmas seals—stamp-like labels placed on mail during the Christmas season to raise funds and awareness for charitable programs.1 The American Lung Association has become so well-known for its Christmas seals that they’ve trademarked the term, but that doesn’t prevent other organizations from creating these beautiful, poster-like images. Click the stamps to enlarge them.

You can see a larger selection of seals from the Danish Home on the organization’s website.

  1. Stamp collectors refer to Christmas seals as “Cinderellas” the term for anything resembling a postage stamp but not issued for postal purposes by a government postal administration. ↩︎

If You Follow the Road to Harmon, You Surely Can’t go Wrong

Nikko Inn Card front

Here’s a real treat—a double-fold promotional postcard for the Nikko Tea House, probably printed circa 1907 to 1910.1 An artist with the initials “W.K.” created the beautiful images and hand-lettered the map and poem on the centerfold.

The map has a wonderful depiction of the Nikko and helpfully provides the location of “police traps” on the roads in Westchester. The lines indicating the Hudson River along the left cleverly become strings for Japanese lanterns at the bottom.

Nikko Inn Card center

We can thank C.K. Nazu, who was manager of the Nikko at the time, for this wonderful ode to Harmon:

Nikko Card Detail
Of Harmon on the Hudson
You surely must have heard,
But if you’ll give attention
I should like a word,

About the Nikko Tea House,
One the wooded Croton’s brink,
The situation picturesque;
The food is fine we think;

So get a horse or motor car,
And bring your friends along;
If you follow the road to Harmon,
You surely can’t go wrong.

Here are a few previous posts about the Nikko Tea House:

  • C.K. Nazu is listed as the manager in this 1908 ad (though the last name is spelled “Nezu”).
  • Another clever bit of promotion from 1917, when the Nikko was called the “Nikko Inn.”
  • One of our favorite Nikko stories by a New York journalist who stopped for some “skiyaki” in 1931.

To see all the posts about the Nikko click the “Nikko Inn” tag in the right hand column.

If you have any vintage photographs or ephemera of the Nikko or the early days of Harmon please send an email.

  1. Local postcard expert Susan Hack-Lane, who helped date the card, pointed out the names written on the front, Nellie L. Beach and Billy Beach. Beach was a Peekskill family name (Beach Shopping Center) which may explain why this card was never mailed. ↩︎

Croton-on-Hudson Phone Directory, 1938

Pages from the 1938 Croton-on-Hudson phone directory. Courtesy of Carl Oechsner.

Pages from the 1938 Croton-on-Hudson phone directory. Courtesy of Carl Oechsner.

Thanks to our friend Carl Oechsner we were able to get our hands on a copy of the 1938 Croton-on-Hudson phone directory.1 The plan was to scan some of the ads like the ones for the Mikado Inn, Konco’s Garage, and Robbins Pharmacy shown below. But when we looked closer and saw listings for well-known Crotonites like Max Eastman, Margaret Mayo, and Miss Carrie E. Tompkins we decided to scan every page, run the images through an optical character recognition program, and post a searchable PDF on Google Docs. To see the PDF click here.

Do you have any early Croton phone directories or other Croton ephemera? We would love to scan other early directories, photographs of the village or similar material. If you have something you would like to share send us an email by clicking here.

Ad for the Mikado Inn from the 1938 Croton-on-Hudson phone directory.

Ad for the Mikado Inn from the 1938 Croton-on-Hudson phone directory.

Ad for Konco's Garage from the 1938 Croton-on-Hudson phone directory.

Ad for Konco’s Garage from the 1938 Croton-on-Hudson phone directory.

Ad for Robbins Pharmacy from the 1938 Croton-on-Hudson phone directory.

Ad for Robbins Pharmacy from the 1938 Croton-on-Hudson phone directory.

  1. Carl’s copy is missing the covers, which is why the first page is numbered 3.

Croton’s Waves in All Their Glory

Today is the 172nd anniversary of the Croton Water Celebration, when what we now call the Old Croton Aqueduct opened to public use on October 14, 1842. The day-long celebration included a massive seven-mile-long parade, songs written and performed for the occasion, and culminated in jets of pure, sparkling water rising fifty feet in the air from the Croton Fountain in City Hall Park.1

To celebrate the anniversary we’ve assembled a group of artifacts produced to commemorate that great day. Some have appeared in previous posts and others are featured here for the first time.

Click the first image to start the slideshow (and don’t miss the list of previous posts about the Croton Water Celebration at the bottom of the page).

Previous posts about the Croton Water Celebration:

If you’re interested in seeing the sheet music shown in the slideshow here are links:

  1. The title of this post is from the official song, written by George Pope Morris. It’s one of the few good lines from an otherwise unmemorable work.

Croton Aqueduct Puzzles

Puzzle Dam_150px

Click on the images to enlarge them.

Puzzle Bridge_150px

November 1877 ad

November 1877 ad

These two nineteenth century puzzles, showing the Old Croton Dam and High Bridge, were part of a set called Sliced Objects, published by E. G. Selchow & Co., circa 1867 to 1880. The puzzles came in a box (shown below) along with puzzles of other New York landmarks—the Bethesda Fountain, St. Paul’s Church, the statue of Washington in Union Square—and puzzles for coach, yacht, engine and other words.

Selchow was one of the major game and puzzle companies of the Victorian era and sold several “sliced” puzzle sets, including Sliced Animals and Sliced Birds. The series was popular enough that it was copied by another company, resulting in an 1883 trademark infringement lawsuit (Selchow v. Baker), which Selchow won.

In 1880 John Righter became a partner and the company name was changed to Selchow & Righter. The firm remained a top game and puzzle company into the twentieth century, remembered by aficionados for Parcheesi, Scrabble and Trivial Pursuit.

Many thanks to Etsy seller paintedpony99 for permission to use the box image.


New Croton Dam Cigarette Card


Card #33 in the Engineering Wonders series of cigarette cards, publishing in the United Kingdom by Will’s Cigarettes.