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Monday, January 11, 2010

Memphis' Most Exciting Postcard - Wow!

Posted By on Mon, Jan 11, 2010 at 8:45 PM

Yes, its a telephone pole. Nice!
  • Yes, it's a telephone pole. Nice!
The Lauderdale Library contains hundreds and thousands of images of "Lost Memphis" in the form of photographs, drawings, architectural plans, 35mm slides, matchbook covers, Viewmaster wheels, stereopticon views, children's drawings, and stag movies.

And then, all by itself, we have a stunning full-color postcard of ... a telephone pole, standing at the corner of Perkins and Summer. Gaze at it in awe. Just think of purchasing cards like these by the dozen, and sending them to all your friends, with the clichéd postcard message, "Having a great time! Wish you were here."

This particular postcard was printed by the Dow Chemical Company (it says so on the back, you see), because they were so very proud of the coating they had applied to this particular pole. Maybe they had treated other poles in Memphis the same way, but this is the one they selected for their postcards.

And who can blame them? Just look at it! Nice-looking and quite tall, and fairly straight, with a stunning white base. It's carrying a pair of heavy cables AND a street light. Who among us, from day to day, can say we do as much?

The message printed on the back reads:
Memphis, Tennessee — Penta pressure-treated Southern pine pole located at the intersection of Perkins Avenue and Summer Street. Owned by Southern Bell Telephone and Telegraph Company and placed in service in 1954, the pole is jointly used by Southern Bell and Memphis Light, Gas & Water Division. Treated by Gulfport Creosoting Company, Gulfport, Mississippi.

Below, in smaller type, is: Kodachrome photo by Walter Curtis, reproduced for the Dow Chemical Company, manufacturers of pentachlorophenol, the modern, clean wood preservative.

Judging from the buildings in the background, the postcard shows this intersection sometime in the late 1950s. We are looking towards the Southeast. At the left is the Curtis Rexall Drugstore, at 4615 Summer, with lots of cool neon signs visible. And with just a corner showing, that's Day's Esso Service Center at the right, which stood at 4597 Summer. It's hard to make out here, but there's a vintage Coke machine by the garage-bay door.

Everything you see here has been replaced by a Walgreen's. You know, I've lost track of how many times I have written that when writing about anything labeled "Lost Memphis."

And I can't vouch for the effectiveness of Dow's preservative, since the pole is gone, too.

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